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Learning Polish - Polish shops in England?


Sonorous 3 | 8
7 Sep 2013 #1
Hey everyone.

I'm currently learning Polish (I'm English and from England). I've only been learning for about three weeks, but I'm really loving it, it's an amazing language.

There are plenty of Polish shops (mostly with the name 'Polski sklep') around where I live. There's probably about five in my local city.

I was wondering, when I become a fair amount better at Polish, would it be a good idea to visit them and try out my Polish? (obviously I'd be buying things there).

Or would the Poles running the shop be a little bit reluctant to have an English person learning Polish in their shop?
Warwicktiger 2 | 19
8 Sep 2013 #2
I am in the same position, English, learning Polish. I am made welcome in the polish shops so go for it!
OP Sonorous 3 | 8
8 Sep 2013 #3
I'm glad you're welcomed.
It would be really great to talk to them in Polish.
jon357 63 | 14,254
8 Sep 2013 #5
Or would the Poles running the shop be a little bit reluctant to have an English person learning Polish in their shop?

It's the Parisian waiter syndrome - you may have learnt enough to order, but they are busy and not generally in the mood for it. Is there a Polish Club anywhere near you?
szczecinianin 4 | 345
8 Sep 2013 #6
some people on this forum ask ridiculous questions.

Don't see the question as being 'ridiculous', although I imagine I know the answer.

The reaction would be pretty similar to that of a Welsh speaking shop assistant to a stranger spaking Welsh 'yn y Fro Gymraeg'.
OP Sonorous 3 | 8
9 Sep 2013 #7
It's the Parisian waiter syndrome - you may have learnt enough to order, but they are busy and not generally in the mood for it. Is there a Polish Club anywhere near you?

I don't think there is, but I'll do my research.
I wouldn't go in until I was at least conversational enough to be able to understand them properly, I wouldn't go in if I was still just a beginner.

But thanks for the advice.

Also, welshguyinpola, how is this a ridiculous question? I imagine the best place to ask would be here, and it saves me from going in there and making myself look like an ass.
Nightglade 7 | 97
9 Sep 2013 #8
I have to agree with one of the above sentiments, that it's almost a little silly. Chances are they'll be busy and won't have time to chit chat (nor would the people behind you be happy about it). If the store was empty, then sure, but you might just find yourself awkwardly standing in the store waiting for people to go. Wouldn't it also be kind of awkward if it turned out that the seller wasn't Polish? I don't really chat with my shopkeepers here in Poland. The most dialogue I ever get is "Hello. Would you like a bag? That's XX zł. Do you have X change? Here you go. Thanks and good day". When I first moved here, we had a store below us that had some very nice and friendly clerks, who we used to talk about the weather or goings-on while waiting for card payments, etc. It's since been taken over by a Żabka and the staff are a bunch of tosspots. Most of the time, they never respond to hello, rarely say thanks, and never say goodbye.
welshguyinpola 23 | 463
9 Sep 2013 #9
Also, welshguyinpola, how is this a ridiculous question? I imagine the best place to ask would be here, and it saves me from going in there and making myself look like an ass.

You would look more like an ass if you go and strike up a conversation with the shopkeeper, the most ur gonna say is dziekuje. When Ive been in these shops before, the Poles themselves dont even strike up a converstaion with the assistant, they say very little actually, just hand over their overpriced snickers and pay.
mochadot18 14 | 241
9 Sep 2013 #10
yes well good luck guys!

HAHAHAHA I LOVED THIS!!!!!!

some people on this forum ask ridiculous questions.

Actually I wonder the same thing here in the U.S. As we have 2 Polish shops in the city. I am just learning, and while the one lady at the one store I always talk to not in polish yet as I dont want to embarass myself. But the lady at the other store acts so stuck up its really annoying and actually makes me not go there. She is the only one at the store that acts like this and when just asked simple questions such as Polish classes she acts like it is such a burden to tell us even though she has a flyer up on the wall. So yes I was also wondering about this in the U.S as I dont want to be a pain and i'm not looking for a class or anything just asking simple question and having a quick simple convo about like the weather or how their day is that day.

the most ur gonna say is dziekuje. When Ive been in these shops before, the Poles themselves dont even strike up a converstaion with the assistant, they say very little actually, just hand over their overpriced snickers and pay.

Actually the one place I go to with the nice lady she teaches me how to pronounce the different types of Kielbasa and also lets me know where their are Polish festivals going on in the city.
jon357 63 | 14,254
9 Sep 2013 #11
This is what the OP should look for in their town - there are probably several shops and some will be more friendly than others.
bluesfan - | 85
9 Sep 2013 #12
I was wondering, when I become a fair amount better at Polish, would it be a good idea to visit them and try out my Polish? (obviously I'd be buying things there).
Or would the Poles running the shop be a little bit reluctant to have an English person learning Polish in their shop?

I pretty much did the same thing. I knew that one shop sold Polish dvds so I used to buy them there.
I live in a different city now, so I went in a Polish shop just to practise my Polish a bit :D
Did they mind? No. The lovely young lady behind the counter couldn't work out if I was English or Polish :D
Happy days :)

Roz, that clip. tut tut tut. Very poor and inaccurate racial stereotyping :P
OP Sonorous 3 | 8
10 Sep 2013 #13
Thanks for the advice, everyone.

I think it'd be great to actually talk to them, it'd be quite strange if you just went up to a Pole on the bus and started a conversation with them. At least in a Polish shop, you won't look out of place.
ljw1992 - | 1
10 Sep 2013 #14
I've been considering doing this as well. Nice to see some reassuring answers!
enkidu 7 | 623
11 Sep 2013 #15
I am Polish. I lived in London for some time. Let me tell you that - If you would go to the Polski Sklep to polish your Polish ;), people there will be overwhelmed that some English guy is trying to speak their language. They will help you.

Just remember:
- Don't go there in times when they are really busy.
- Be kind. Remember that in Polish language, every woman is a lady. Address them properly. Word "you" is considered rude unless you are a close friend.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Sep 2013 #16
I only second enkidu's comments! Poles are oodles more sensitive to social register or code switching than we Anglos. Say "you" to a male stranger, he might knock your teeth out, thinking it a gay come on. Say "you" to a female, other than a close friend, relative or spouse, and she'l likely tell ya to f***k off, (...but fast), figuring you're tryiin' to get her in the sack!!!!LOL
Nightglade 7 | 97
11 Sep 2013 #17
I think that's a bit dramatic :P Maybe it's just my experience, but there's been quite a few times I've accidentally addressed people as 'ty' and conjugated verbs as such. e.g. when asking strangers for directions, I've said "przepraszam, czy wiesz ...". In fact, the majority of people, when stopping me on the street, address me as 'ty' and they are not necessarily older (though I've been called Pan by many old folks, which sounds odd)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
11 Sep 2013 #18
that's ridiculous "Wlodzimeirz" - I think you might be even older than the British man in the sketch!
also - why do you assume the speaker/learner will be male?...::)
grubas 12 | 1,391
11 Sep 2013 #19
I think that's a bit dramatic

Not only that but also untrue.It,s not like you address Pan/Pani everybody every time.

In fact, the majority of people, when stopping me on the street, address me as 'ty' and they are not necessarily older (though I've been called Pan by many old folks, which sounds odd)

You must be a young person.It may sound odd for someone not familiar with customs (I am saying customs because there is not any written rule regarding Pan/Pani,though as a rule you can't go wrong with pan/i).To give you an example lets say I am 23 years old,talking to another 23 y/o in some formal situation (like office,store, etc)I would address him per Pan.But talking to the same man in some informal situation I would address him per ty.Now lets say I am 40.I would address another 40 y/o (as well as 23 y/o) per Pan in both formal and informal situations.Women, I always address per Pani regardless their (and my) age.

Few days ago in Chicago I was approached by a Polish middle age women per ty and to me it sounded awkward (crude?).I immidiatelly thought she had bad manners.With that being said, as a foreigner you will be given some slack and nobody will assault you just for addressing him per ty.Though, it is possible that he may not like it. I don't feel like writing a lot,basically you would have spend some time among Poles to get a grasp on customs.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Sep 2013 #20
Naturally my scenario DOESN'T apply if the interlocutor senses/guesses or knows that the other person's a foreigner. True enough, like most Europeans, the average Pole will certainly cut the person enough slack:-) In larger university towns and urban areas, chances are that the foreign speaker will even be answered in some form of English, being that Polish people realize that their language often comes across as downright impenetrable to your run-of-the-mill outsiderLOL
citizen67 6 | 191
11 Sep 2013 #21
By the way, what does "sklep'" mean?
Polson 5 | 1,771
11 Sep 2013 #22
Sklep means shop.
citizen67 6 | 191
11 Sep 2013 #23
Really? not even "Grocer" or something. Poles don't seem to hav much imagination.
Polson 5 | 1,771
11 Sep 2013 #24
Talking about imagination, 'grocer' comes from French (Anglo-Norman to be more precise), it's not an English word. Very few really are anyway.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Sep 2013 #25
Citizen67, frequently Polish will employ one word for English two or several. Many speakers from other language language groups conversely find English no-end confusing with its multiplicity of lexical usage. Morever, English, being a pluracentric language, has numerous varieties (I dare say "standards") of speech and use, whereby for instance US uses "store", the UK prefers "shop", in the US "supermarket", in Britain "green grocer" etc.
pam
11 Sep 2013 #26
Really? not even "Grocer" or something. Poles don't seem to hav much imagination.

And how often have you seen a shop in England with the word grocer outside these days?
Besides, it doesn't exactly make economic sense for Poles to open shops selling only fruit and veg now does it?
Hence the term ' sklep ', a shop selling Polish products.
enkidu 7 | 623
11 Sep 2013 #27
SKLEP

Stój
Kliencie
Lub
Ewentualnie
Poczekaj
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Sep 2013 #28
Perchance equivalent to a "bodega" here in the States selling specifically (though not exclusively) Hispanic products, Spanish-language reading matter etc. Does Spanish have any more or less imagination than Polish because it has one word for several English words??

:-)
OP Sonorous 3 | 8
17 Sep 2013 #29
Haha, I actually went into a Polski sklep near my house, the Polish girls in there were incredibly friendly.

The moment I told them 'jestem z Anglii' and that I'm learning Polish, they were pretty much taken aback. Where I am, lots of ignorant people don't like the Poles (typical 'they took our jobs' scenario).

But they were incredibly helpful with everything and always had a smile on their faces, I go there everyday to say good morning now!
A Polish builder in there even brought me a Polish-English dictionary for free, from Poland.
They really make my day :)
Nightglade 7 | 97
17 Sep 2013 #30
I don't feel like writing a lot,basically you would have spend some time among Poles to get a grasp on customs.

You're a little mistaken. I'm entering my fourth year of living in Poland - I'm quite well aware of the customs. The "rule" as it goes - informal/younger/same age: ty, formal/older: pan(i). My experience is quite contradictory, as the older people almost always address me as 'pan', despite being in my mid 20s. Conversely, the younger generation and, in particular, those who are clearly younger than I am, address me as 'ty' far more than they address me as 'pan'. Deduce from that observation what you will. Comparing it to English is erroneous because the style of addressing someone simply doesn't exist in a similar manner in English. Of course, we have polite and formal titles (Sir, Madam and so forth) but their use is entirely different. "Excuse me Sir, do you have the time?" sounds rather peculiar, does it not? It's odd because the lack of such a system in English means it shouldn't really phase me in Polish in terms of how people address me. That said, I still find it rather rude when people say "co?" instead of "słucham?" or address me as 'ty' when younger, unfamiliar, or asking me for assistance. I was buying a latte in McDonalds before work this morning; the conversation went something like: (me): Dzień dobry, poproszę kawa latte. (the guy): "co?" (me): "co? nie słyszałeś, czy nie rozumiesz? Powiedziałem kawa latte". Address as you are addressed :)


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