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Common pitfalls for Poles learning English


pam
15 Feb 2012 #121
even a native English speaker can not be sure how to pronaunce an English word they've never seen before...

are you having a laugh?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
15 Feb 2012 #122
I bet you that you couldn't pronounce many place names properly.
pam
15 Feb 2012 #123
oh yes i could ! my polish might not be that great, but my english is relatively ok lol! how much do you want to bet? please also stay on topic or my thread will be binned, and i want to hear from other posters!!
jasondmzk
15 Feb 2012 #124
My wife, who was born and raised in Poland, learned English in her teens. Her pronunciation is nigh impeccable. She does tend to over-pronounce, at times, however. She'll say thurmo-meeter for thermometer, for instance. This could have to do with her crash course in English during her time in Wales, since I'm not sure how the Welsh pronounce such things. She'll also extend the "u" in a word, or the "oo" in foot, so that it rhymes with "root". She doesn't have any problems with "sh" sounds, like many Poles have. If you'll notice, many English-speaking Poles will say "fank you", or "somefing". I think, as easy as that sound is for us, it doesn't exist in Polish, and as we know, certain sounds are very difficult to learn past a certain developmental age.
pip 10 | 1,659
15 Feb 2012 #125
it is quite simple why there is such problems. It is that the tongue is placed differently when pronouncing words. It is much easier for those in the Slavic languages to learn similar and the same with english- solely based on tongue placement. The TH sound for Poles is so difficult because they need to learn how to place their tongue properly. Of course I am talking about those who are learning a second language later on in life as opposed to learning from childhood. My kids and husband can switch back and forth from Polish to English with no noticeable difference where as I have a difficult time with the z sounds and people know I am foreign when I speak Polish.
grubas 12 | 1,384
15 Feb 2012 #126
oh yes i could ! my polish might not be that great, but my english is relatively ok lol! how much do you want to bet?

I want to bet (as long as you counting American names as English)!

If you'll notice, many English-speaking Poles will say "fank you", or "somefing".

If you will notice all non native speakers not only Poles have problems with th sound.How is "fank you" any worse than "senk you" or "somefing" any worse than "somesing" (I heard that from Dutch person)?

he speaks fluent russian and german, and also italian and portuguese

How can you even know that if you are not native speakers of any of mentioned languages?I seriously doubt he does.

do poles find learning english particularly difficult?

Don't know about poles but as a Pole I find English pretty easy.Don't know about English in UK but in the US accent is the key.Put accent on wrong sylabe and they won't have a clue what you are talking about.
Wulkan - | 3,212
15 Feb 2012 #127
Put accent on wrong sylabe and they won't have a clue what you are talking about.

In England when you don't say "the" before weekend they also have no clue what you mean, that always made me laugh
pam
15 Feb 2012 #128
How can you even know that if you are not native speakers of any of mentioned languages?I seriously doubt he does.

yes he does. my lodger is far from stupid. he learned russian and german in poland.he worked in italy and portugal and picked up both languages.dont know to what degree, but i cant see the point in him lying.this is why i cant understand how hard it is for him to pick up english.on a daily basis i give him new words to learn. sometimes he remembers,sometimes not. my opinion is that he has been put off by the grammar as well.its totally opposite to polish grammar.i think he is scared of learning and is worried he will make mistakes.however, i have explained that if he wants to stay in the uk, he needs to learn english.
grubas 12 | 1,384
15 Feb 2012 #129
my lodger is far from stupid.

I did not say he is,or did I?

he learned russian and german in poland.

And so have I but I am not claiming to be fluent in any of them because I am not yet I could easily convince you that I am as you have no clue.What I am saying is that there is no way for you to know wheter someone is fluent or not in the language you don't speak at at least intermediate level.

i cant understand how hard it is for him to pick up english.on a daily basis i give him new words to learn. sometimes he remembers,sometimes not. my opinion is that he has been put off by the grammar as well.its totally opposite to polish grammar.i think he is scared of learning and is worried he will make mistakes.however, i have explained that if he wants to stay in the uk, he needs to learn english.

See the point is that IF he's FLUENT in German he should have no problems with learning English as it's much easier to become FLUENT in English than it is in German.

he worked in italy and portugal and picked up both languages.dont know to what degree

And?I spent 2 months in Paris, picked up some French words and can even put together few sentences in French but does it make me fluent in French?Hell no!

Oh,and guess what, I am not even fluent in English even though I live among Americans (including my 2 American ex wifes) in the US for the last 7 years.
JonnyM 11 | 2,615
15 Feb 2012 #130
even a native English speaker can not be sure how to pronaunce an English word they've never seen before.

Yes they can!

.i think he is scared of learning and is worried he will make mistakes

This is quite common.
isthatu2 4 | 2,694
15 Feb 2012 #131
Yes they can!

No they can't! " Mr Sean St John -Mainwaring from Shrewsbury * " would probably agree with me... ;)
How is a Pole meant to know when,in one part of England no one will bat an eye if he says " Fink" or "Fanks" instead of "think" or "thanks"? Or when in one town no one bothers with "the",in the next town down the road people use "t' " and the next its clear "the's" all round? or dropped 'aitches?

Basically,tell Poles to just chill out,dont worry about speaking English with a strong accent,nobody cares,we are so used to hundreds of different accents it doesnt really matter :)

* Mister Shawn Sindzęn manner ing from shrowsbury. or somfink lahk that,innit ;)
Harry
15 Feb 2012 #132
he cannot understand why one vowel has 2 different sounds.

Because English takes words from more than one language.

Yes they can!

So you actually thought those people from the Melton district of Leicestershire really hunted Beavers, did you?
Lyzko
15 Feb 2012 #133
Pitfalls, among the commonest in my experience, are look-alike, sound-alike words, i,e homomyns/-phones, e.g. "whine" - "wine", "would" - "wood" etc.....

They exist in many languages, including Polish, yet with far less frequency.
kondzior 11 | 1,046
15 Feb 2012 #134
For the English spelling, I just had to accept that I have to lern both how to pronounce the word, and how to write it down, that these two cannot be figured out from each other. When I accepted that, my problems with spelling disappeared.

What I find really iritating, are the two past tenses. What person, in his right mind, needs two different past tenses? The past is the past. End of a disscusion. Yes, I know the theory. And I can, more or less, put it into use, when writing something. But while I talk, I can hardly stop mid-sentence, and ponder if that past happening, I just want to mention, has any influence on the presence, or maybe not.

Similarly, articles "the", "a"... I know the theory. But the very concept is alien to me, and I tend to play hit or miss with these.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,379
15 Feb 2012 #135
What I find really iritating, are the two past tenses

more than two. but it doesn't matter. treat the past as one time, but with different aspects. same for present.

i belong to the school that says there are only two tenses: present and past.

i find it odd that most Poles don't seem to have problems with English spelling.
kondzior 11 | 1,046
15 Feb 2012 #136
Wroclaw, while stating that my spelling troubles ended, I have meat relatively speaking :) Example: I do hear the difference between "man" and "men", but I'm unable to faithfully reproduce any of these sounds.
Lyzko
15 Feb 2012 #137
Tenses are to Polish English learners much as aspects are for foreigners, i.e. English speakers, learning Polish.
Gaucho 2 | 49
24 Aug 2015 #138
The difference between THirty and Forty seem to be as hard for Polish speakers as getting to hear what the hell sounds different between the Polish E and Y (for me).
Wulkan - | 3,212
24 Aug 2015 #139
I'm Polish and it's a piece of p1ss for me, some Poles might have a problem to say 'th' just like Spanish or speakers of any language where 'th' is absent.

as getting to hear what the hell sounds different between the Polish E and Y

Those are two completely different vowel sounds.
terri 1 | 1,663
24 Aug 2015 #140
Generally Poles learning English have problems with articles (a, an, the).
Any reproduction of sounds (vowels and consonants) depends on how anyone has learned the language and in which locality. English words are pronounced differently in all parts of England - but that is normal. So if a Pole or anyone else was taught by a native from Liverpool or Birmingham or Cornwall - (who had a pronounced accent) his pronunciation of certain words will be different. What matters is that the correct/appropriate word is used at the time.

I notice that Poles are not taught to say 'please' when asking for payment if they are serving in a shop/bar/airport. Its just 10zl - but no please and that really annoys me. They have not been taught this.
Wulkan - | 3,212
24 Aug 2015 #141
I prefer this that way, if I think about it "please" makes the feel that someone is demanding something from me, paying the money in this case, I prefer just to hear the amount of money that are the items I chose worth.

What I don't like in England is people not saying "smacznego" - "enjoy your meal" in the canteens in work places, how hard is it to say it just to be polite? cultural difference I guess.
terri 1 | 1,663
24 Aug 2015 #142
If an English person does not say 'please' after naming a price, we would think that he has no manners.
Wulkan - | 3,212
24 Aug 2015 #143
If a Polish person does not say 'smacznego' (bon appétit) when coming to the canteen where everybody is eating, we would think that he has no manners.
Roger5 1 | 1,449
24 Aug 2015 #144
how hard is it to say it just to be polite? cultural difference I guess.

Exactly, cultural difference. In the UK there is no tradition of saying something like that. When UK MacDonalds staff were ordered to utter the imperative "Enjoy your meal" they were reluctant to do so, and British customers also felt uncomfortable being told what to do. It is simply not impolite not to say smacznego or whatever for Brits.

"please" makes the feel that someone is demanding something from me

I think you're on your own there.
Wulkan - | 3,212
24 Aug 2015 #145
I think you're on your own there.

There is actually 38 million of us in Poland who don't mind lack of "please"
InPolska 10 | 1,818
24 Aug 2015 #146
Absolutely! Culture differences matter a lot when speaking any foreign language. Sometimes grammar and vocabulary are correct but natives do not express themselves the same way in a same situation.

Speaking foreign languages is NOT just learning grammar and vocabulary but it is also to understand cultural context, target language speakers' mentality.

That's why (one example among so many) our "ProfessionalTeacher" claiming to be so great at English shall never have priority over qualified native English speaking teachers. Students need and want the "real' thing...

Of course, this goes for ALL languages.
Roger5 1 | 1,449
24 Aug 2015 #147
There is actually 38 million of us in Poland who don't mind lack of "please"

I thought you were in the UK.
Wulkan - | 3,212
24 Aug 2015 #148
I'm in Poland on a regular basis.
Roger5 1 | 1,449
24 Aug 2015 #149
Then I guess the old saying 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' is a good one.


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