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Culture shock (my neighbours in the UK are Polish and Slovak)


Jars777 20 | 70
28 Sep 2011 #31
I've noticed too that proszę which has a wide range of usage is used in almost exactly the same way as bitte - i.e. as please or you're welcome or after you, etc etc would you agree?

Yes I agree... and a lot more straight forward I think. Why use too many different words/phrases. :-)

On topic, the funny thing is OP, that it's the Anglophones who are unusual - it's not a Polish or Slovak thing, as Jars777 has hinted.

Oh yes... After 7 years of living in the UK I have adapted quite a few of those. My mum always gets a bit annoyed if I ask if I can have hey car and she says yes and I then ask again "Are you sure?". She said yes and meant

it, why ask again?!
I hope I can adjust again quickly when moving to Poland. :-)
a.k.
28 Sep 2011 #32
I know what you're saying, but Poles do say miło mi (I'm only guessing the spelling)

Poles say it as a reply when someone has just introduced him/herself. Depending on situation they can answer for this reply with mi też (me too) or just start chatting without replying.

I've noticed too that proszę which has a wide range of usage is used in almost exactly the same way as bitte - i.e. as please or you're welcome or after you, etc etc would you agree?

Yes, it's also used when people pass objects from hands to hands. E.g. in a shop you give money to a teller with saying prosze. The reply should be dziękuję.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
28 Sep 2011 #33
Poles say it as a reply when someone has just introduced him/herself.

Ah OK - thanks. It's not really the same thing then I guess.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
28 Sep 2011 #34
Are Polish people generally Catholic? or other?

yes Poles are mostly catholic (95 per cent are registered as such) - but most are only superficially so - and even some of these 95 per cent Poles while being claimed by the Catholic church are actually atheists sometimes openly anti-church who just happen to be baptised in the Catholic church

the turnout for the Catholic Sunday mass in Poland is already lower than 40 per cent and steadily decreasing - younger generations don't find anything attractive in the present day Catholic church and only turn up for major fesivities (Christmass, Easter) - and plenty actually are completely indifferent to the church if not anti-church

so I if you meet Polish people in the UK they can equally be religious, somewhat relgious, indifferent, openly anti-church or atheist - among those religious (those who go to church in England) there are a lot of decent people (especially the younger generations) (in Poland going to church is still a very much a matter of keeping up appearances or just a habit) - but it is not to say you don't find decent (and friendly) people among other groups - quite contrary
hythorn 3 | 580
28 Sep 2011 #35
what might work would be getting your children to play with their children.
or offer to look after their children if they need to go out

as for your Slovakian neighbours, avoid them like the plague. they appear to be scum

don't worry about the Poles and the Slovakians ganging up on you as Poles generally think that Slovakians
are a bunch of village idiots whereas Slovakians dislike Poles

Czechs generally do not like Poles. Poles think Czechs are a bunch of cowards as they openly collaborated during the war

Poles like Hungarians, Hungarian like Poles
Hungarians hate Slovakians

a bit of a generalisation but not all Central Europeans are the same
a.k.
28 Sep 2011 #36
hythorn

Stop that nonsense.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
28 Sep 2011 #37
as for your Slovakian neighbours, avoid them like the plague. they appear to be scum

I don't think so - you're exaggerating - from what butterflywizzard has written I believe they are not Slovak Romas - (Romas have a very tanned complexion so it's pretty easy to tell them) - if they are not Romas their should not be a real nuissance
Ziemowit 13 | 4,397
28 Sep 2011 #38
Hythorn, stop that nonsense.

Hythorn has never been to Northern Ireland.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
28 Sep 2011 #40
Poles like Hungarians, Hungarian like Poles
Hungarians hate Slovakians

hmm and well, ok I met a couple of Hungarians in England - and well - the thing is even though there is some traditional historic friendship it does not relate that much to person to person relations on a daily basis - the key ingredient is the language barrier - you can have some communication with Czechs and Slovaks just with your Polish (and it's pretty easy to get a grasp of Czech and Slovak for Poles) - none if it is true with our friends Hungarians

I don't have that much experience with Slovaks and Czechs abroad but there was no visible animosity towards Poles from them that I noticed -
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
28 Sep 2011 #41
a bit of a generalisation

You said it.

Makes you wonder if Poles actually like anyone, doesn't it; if you believe the stuff you read on here, anyway.

I don't have that much experience with Slovaks and Czechs abroad but there was no visible animosity towards Poles from them that I noticed

Apart from the "cowards" dig at Czechs (generally only heard from people who are way over retirement age), the only negative comments I've come across have been towards Slovak Gypsies - in some parts of the UK, they form the majority of the "Slovak" community. Poles generally do NOT like gypsies of any kind, so this is hardly surprising.
Wroclaw Boy
28 Sep 2011 #42
Heres my advice: keep yourself to yourself. Neighbors are usually more bother than the opposite and i don't care if they are Poles, Brits, Slovaks or what ever. Its not that often you find genuinely decent people these days.

i would say he first offered help for free and then realised he would be able to charge and did so accordingly, you should have flat out refused.
PWEI 3 | 612
28 Sep 2011 #43
hythorn
However if you ask your average Polish man in the street, this is the reply you may receive.

History lessons at Polish schools do leave quite a bit to be desired. British schools aren't really that much better, but at least Brits have less experience with history changing!
OP butterflylizard 1 | 13
28 Sep 2011 #44
Our slovak neighbours are tanned as is the czech guy and yes my dad paid him initially so he come back next day and waited by gates, so perhaps a chancer? They are a family I am sure as she is a mum lots of children and they are tanned slovaks and he is czech mums partner, then they have a family living above them and then the next three houses are polish. So far they have all smiled but very few speak english so it kind of makes it awkward. I have as said been looking at polish websites.
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
28 Sep 2011 #45
When we moved in our neighbours, who do not speak English well, insisted on helping and I mean insisted and then charged us,

I hope you did not give them anything because HELP is a universal concept in any language and any culture and it is FREE of any charge.

As for the "OK" reply to your" nice to meet you" just take it as a deficit in language skills rather than a lack of good manners because their level of English must be really low .

In anycase regarding the guy who asked or rather demanded "give me a cigarette" : this is abrupt and impolite, He should have said please/ prosze, if he is Polish he is rude by Polish standards or by any standard.
Skrymcz - | 30
28 Sep 2011 #46
You're educated but you don't know that Polish people are Catholic?
There's something odd about this.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
28 Sep 2011 #47
The OP must be this american girl Allisson who wanted to write a fiction book about Poland in WW2.She doen't sound english and displays ignorance about Europe.

oh my, what do you want from the lady - it's as if other Europeans are better educated - are you sure majority of Poles know where Hungary is or where Wales is? many wouldn't even know where Walesa lives ;) - many older generations from rural areas in Poland could not even tell you where Slovakia is even though it is a neighbour of Poland - after all you don't need most of general knowledge to work and be professional in most vocations -
Teffle 22 | 1,321
28 Sep 2011 #48
She doen't sound english

Whatever about ignorance, I have to agree that she doesn't sound English.

Even making allowances for typos, I got the impression that English was not their first language. Apologies in advance if I'm wrong here.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
28 Sep 2011 #49
Thankyou and yes it does sound like constant arguing...even discussions seem loud lol

That's normal. In my experience the volume increases over the course of some conversations until it gets quite loud. What sounds like an argument may just be a discussion. And Hythorn is right - Poles can often seem abrupt, rude even, but that does not mean they are actually being rude. It is the nature of their language and society. This is especially true further down the socio-economic ladder.

As for charging for a favour - in Poland it's normal (again, among the less classy parts of society) to pay someone for helping you. It is not normal however to ask for the money or name a price! There are some pretty screwed-up individuals in Poland and it looks like whoever asked for the money is one of those. In case of doubt, be on your guard.

If your neighbour seems a bit cold, you should know that it isn't unusual (in Warsaw anyway) to completely ignore neighbours. In the posher bits of town people tend to be politer but this is the exception rather than the rule.

As for burglary, you shouldn't worry too much - Poles are generally fairly law abiding, however common sense, like having good locks and not leaving things where they can be stolen is a sensible precaution. In Poland there is an absolute absence of trust - people lock their doors far more securely than in the UK and never trust strangers. Your new neighbours would find it strange if you acted differently.
boletus 30 | 1,366
28 Sep 2011 #50
it does sound like constant arguing...even discussions seem loud

A Dutch elderly couple next door to us - somewhere in Ontario, Canada - argued a lot ... or at least such was our impression, because we did not know the language. We were neighbours for 12 years, but that impression have never gone away.
gumishu 11 | 5,692
28 Sep 2011 #51
butterflylizard

if the people are all black hair, quite swarthy for europeans they probably are Slovak Roma/Gypsies - and it is a completely different culture than the one of Poles or Slovaks (yes they do speak Slovak, but can speak Romani among themselves) - if you can take a couple of picture of these guys an post them here somehow we can tell you with some 98 per cent certainty if they are Slovak Gypsies -

in case they are Gypsies not all advices given here especially by me apply (but then again there may be decent, hardworking Gypsies around be they Slovak or Polish Gypsies but it's not that common)
southern 75 | 7,096
28 Sep 2011 #52
Gypsies do not live at homes.Anyway this is all pure phantasy.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
28 Sep 2011 #53
Gypsies do not live at homes

Many do.
KingAthelstan 9 | 142
28 Sep 2011 #54
most gypos from Eastern Europe Iv'e seen here in the UK are the Romanian kind, usually seen begging and selling the big issue outside Supermarkets.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
28 Sep 2011 #55
most gypos from Eastern Europe Iv'e seen here in the UK are the Romanian kind

that would make them 'Roma', would it not ?
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
28 Sep 2011 #56
All Gypsies are Roma. The Former term comes from the mistaken belief that they were originally from Egypt. Roma is what they call themselves and it is unrelated to the word "Rome" from which "Romania" derives. Romania, as Dacia, was under Roman rule for centuries and Rumanians speak a Latin based Romance language.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
28 Sep 2011 #57
the mistaken belief

In very large part propagated by the Roma/Romani themselves, some of whom believe that themselves even today, mistakenly or not.

But as far as I can see from the thread there's no suggestion that the lady's neighbours are Polish or Slovakian Roma - indeed their relations with her are consistent with them being just Polish.
PWEI 3 | 612
28 Sep 2011 #58
Des Essientes
All Gypsies are Roma.

The Kale, Sinti, Romanichal, Manush and Romanisael might just disagree with you there.
Sasha 2 | 1,083
28 Sep 2011 #59
He should have said please/ prosze, if he is Polish he is rude by Polish standards or by any standard.

Valuable input. Agree completely. And no it's not ok that they ask money for the help.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
28 Sep 2011 #60
Also I said 'nice to meet you' to one of the gents two doors up to which he replied 'OK.'

Pole thinks. OMG what she/he want again? Is she/he a nut/gay?

They do play music loudly and talk loudly, but in fairness all noise is stopped by 9pm

It is a habit from homeland. In my neighbourhood when 21:59 turns to 22:oo people start dialing police number ;)


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