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German v.s. Russian, language usefulness in Poland?


1a2a2
29 Mar 2010  #31
German or Russian - whatever, both are pretty useless in Poland.
king polkagamon
29 Mar 2010  #32
I also noticed that when you speak czech,Poles laugh but when you speak Russian they don't laugh.
NewMind
22 Mar 2014  #33
I do not like German and Russian the same way because of they both in wars with Poland killed many Polish people for 1000 years. Now I am using English and Polish. English I can use every where, is World language, I love it. You must remember most Polish people speaking with any foreigners will use only English!
Luk100 - | 1
15 May 2015  #34
Apart from the geographical proximity, Poland is economically by far more closely interrelated to Germany than Russia, they have a bigger German minority and many Poles emigrated or have family in Germany. I think we could ask, do Americans learn Chinese rather than Spanish?, after all, China is bigger and has more citizens, but Mexico is a close neighbor and therefore Spanish is far more popular in America
Marsupial - | 888
15 May 2015  #35
I don't know how many times we have to explain that russian politics and anti democratic traits have ensured that the vast majority in poland want nothing to do with them. That's about the opposite of germany. Russia is seen as stale and backward. Germany is seen as progressive and advanced. The reason for this is because it is true. Under putin russia has become more backward more stale and regressive. The gap is getting wider. Once putin is gone it will take ages to repair the damage this simpleton has done, If indeed he isn't replaced by another incompetent. It's actually very simple.
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
16 May 2015  #36
Probably Russian is easier for Poles, and yet, German for outsiders is likely more widespread (although not as much as English):-)

Many Poles learn German and most in my experience speak/write it light years better than English!
gumishu 11 | 5,015
16 May 2015  #37
Probably Russian is easier for Poles

well judge for yourself:

dziękuję = spasibo
proszę = pożałujsta
lekarz = wriacz
samochód = maszyna
spotkać = wstrietit'
and tons of other exotic words

for Polish people who never learned Russian the language is hardly comprehensible
still I think it is easier for Poles to learn Russian than Germanic languages
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 May 2015  #38
samochód = maszyna

The word for car in Russian is avtomobil not maszyna. Maszyna is more like a slang word everyone uses to refer to a car but the correct word would be avtomobil.

for Polish people who never learned Russian the language is hardly comprehensible

I disagree, while the Polish language is not as close to Russian as most people might think, if you speak Russian you can understand the general context of a conversation between two Poles speaking Polish. I would assume it is the same the other way around.

That said, Ukrainian would be a lot closer to Polish than Russian is.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 May 2015  #39
I would assume it is the same the other way around.

You assume wrong then. I'm a native Polish speaker and I hardly get any gist of spoken Russian.

That said, Ukrainian would be a lot closer to Polish than Russian is.

A bit closer
JollyRomek 7 | 481
16 May 2015  #40
You assume wrong then.

Of course I assume wrong Wulkan. While most Poles would probably agree that they would understand at least the context of a Russian conversation, there is always a few who have to make a big deal out of it and claim that they don't understand anything.

Ok, you have the stage. Dance on it!
jon357 63 | 14,134
16 May 2015  #41
While most Poles would probably agree that they would understand at least the context of a Russian conversation, there is always a few who have to make a big deal out of it and claim that they don't understand anything.

All who aren't a. kids who grew up post-PRL and b. who paid attention at school understand at least some. My social circle is fairly representative of urban educated people between 35 and 49 and I do sometimes feel left out if there's a Russian present and I can only follow the gist of what's being said.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 May 2015  #42
All who aren't a. kids who grew up post-PRL and b. who paid attention at school understand at least some.

Yep, the older generation had it compulsory in schools, at the moment it would be people older than 35 yo, I'm lucky to be young enough and I didn't have it.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
16 May 2015  #43
The average Pole cannot understand much of what Russians are saying to each other in rapid colloquial speech. But when a Pole and Russian are trying to communicate, they speak slowly, look for common wors that are mutually intelligible, throw in some sign language and usually get the gist of what they want to communicate. That is the case of all kindred language groups -- Spanish and Italian, for instance, or German and Dutch, although in the latter case both would probably switch to accented English.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 May 2015  #44
I switch to English when I deal with Russians unless the Russian individual has a good command of Polish.
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
16 May 2015  #45
Probably the only logical choice, Wulkan. It's really almost like German vs. Dutch. Netherlanders (except for the French-speaking, non-Flemish minority in Belgium) invariably switch, or at least, prefer to switch to English when addressing Germans, unless the German has a solid knowledge of Dutch, which is pretty unlikely:-))

Typically enough, the language with the greater speaker percentage, e.g. Russian, won't understand much of the neighboring language with the lesser speaker percentage, e.g. Polish. Same with Dutch and German!
TheOther 5 | 3,801
17 May 2015  #46
Netherlanders ... invariably switch, or at least, prefer to switch to English when addressing Germans

True only in Amsterdam.

Dutch and German are so closely related that both people can understand each other when they speak slowly. The German dialect "Plattdütsch" is a mixture between German, Dutch and English.
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
17 May 2015  #47
Apropos my most recent visit to the Netherlands, with my less than fluent Dutch I asked a fellow along the highway from my car window whether he knew where the nearest "uitvaart" is, as I'd missed the exit prior. Thinking "uitvaart" means the identical "Ausfahrt" (wyjazd) in German, the fellow looked at us as though we had two heads and walked on.

Instead of asking for the nearest exit, I was asking for the nearest "FUNERAL"!!!!
LOL

Same difference between Russian and Polish. If I "pukać" at the door in Poland, it's quite different from "pukat" at the door in Russia.

Only the nose knows best:-)))
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 May 2015  #48
Same with szukać in Poland and the Czech Republic!
TheOther 5 | 3,801
17 May 2015  #49
"uitvaart"

"Uitvaart" in low German is "Utfahrt". Pronunciation is almost identical; different meaning though as you've found out.
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
17 May 2015  #50
Indeed, and to potential embarrassmentLOL

@Polonius, or Pol. "stały" vs. Czech "staly"...
Many Russian words though are not false friends in Polish, as they no longer have an equivalent in that language (if they ever had), e.g. "vremya" (Pol. "czas" > Old Polish "wręmie", and not extant!).

"Tjas" in Russian, of course, means "hour" (cf. Pol. "godzina" with "god" meaning "year in Russian) etc...

I heard from a Polish acquaintance that English has widely been gaining popularity, surpassing even German, among university students ( also for those planning on working in Germany)!!

When last in the Federal Republic, I sadly observed many a frustrated European foreigner, often young Poles, desparately trying to make themselves understood in German, finally throwing in the towel, as it were, and attempting English with their German interlocutor:-)

The results frequently left much to be desired.
Wulkan - | 3,251
19 May 2015  #51
It is almost like you teaching Polish when the learners used to come here with some questions :-)
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
19 May 2015  #52
Or vice versa with you teaching English if learners came here with some (similar) questions:-)

I also have Polish acquaintances who claim to speak fluent Russian:-) A Polish tourguide once told me that most Poles understand at least some Russian, though nobody speaks it (..on purposeLOL)!
Wulkan - | 3,251
19 May 2015  #53
Or vice versa with you teaching English if learners came here with some (similar) questions:-)

Which is something that never happened :-)

I also have Polish acquaintances who claim to speak fluent Russian

It's common thing when people claim they speak some language fluently
Lyzko 23 | 6,665
19 May 2015  #54
..and quite another, to actually speak it fluently:-)


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