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English teachers in Poland - why are they so unhappy?


Lyzko 45 | 9,275
12 Jan 2023 #61
Europeans usually mistake, for example, "Are you swimming?" vs. "Are you GOING swimming?"
Verb usage is tricky in English, not to mention as you just noted, the differences between British and American!
jon357 74 | 21,808
12 Jan 2023 #62
Between standard English and American English.

The former reigns in Poland, in large part due to the textbooks used and the exams taken, plus of course the origin of the Teachers.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
12 Jan 2023 #63
This also readily explains why Poles, as with certain other European English speakers, tend to to have an "English accent" when they speak English, at the least the more educated:-)
mafketis 36 | 10,785
12 Jan 2023 #64
English and American English.....The former reigns in Poland

Except the pronunciation tends to be a bit more American (with r's pronounced all the time).
Novichok 5 | 7,712
12 Jan 2023 #65
Nobody under 25 I met in Poland even attempted to speak British. All spoke American.
jon357 74 | 21,808
12 Jan 2023 #66
the pronunciation

That's transference from the Polish "R".

"English accent"

In Poland, they speak English with a Polish accent. Traces of American English rather than standard English are rare.

All spoke American.

No they didn't. Interesting that you as a Pole with Polish as your first language are claiming to have analysed accents of Poles speaking English during your last brief visit years ago.
Novichok 5 | 7,712
12 Jan 2023 #67
youtu.be/4T1NkAf7rG0

Interesting that you as a Pole with Polish as your first language

My first language is American and has been that way since 1975. Nobody in my family speaks Polish, my Polish wife included.
I don't need to "analyze" accents anymore than I need to analyze women to tell which ones are pretty or ugly. It takes less than a second in both cases or one word with an "r" at the end of it.

Like "color". No, it's not cola. It's c o l o r. Or water...
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
12 Jan 2023 #68
Poles I met would actually claim they had no accent.
Novichok 5 | 7,712
12 Jan 2023 #69
Only dead people have no accents. Everybody has an accent.
jon357 74 | 21,808
12 Jan 2023 #70
Poles I met would actually claim they had no accent.

I've come across this too, as well as Poles who expect to learn to speak what they think is accentless English (this usually means what used to be called a BBC accent). In reality, they're confusing pronunciation with accent.

One issue for Polish speakers of English is pronouncing the / ɔ: / phoneme and to a lesser extent / ɜː / and / ə /. It's actually quite hard to teach and is probably harder to deal with in the class room than / θ and / ð /. Generally / ŋ / is easy since there's a near equivalent in Polish, though not an obvious one to non-specialists and I doubt whether most of the people in private language schools cotton on to this.

I don't need to "analyze" accents anymore

You just said that you had. perhaps you should make your mind up or better still, show restraint about posting low quality stuff for the sake of it.

And this topic is about teaching in Poland, not your bile about non-standard forms of English or your personal history.
jon357 74 | 21,808
12 Jan 2023 #71
Sausseur insisted that any child could learn another language provided they had non-stop aural exposure to that language from earliest childhood on

It's instinctive.

The 'Helen Doran Method' which is quite popular around Warsaw is based on that. Some of her Teachers are I think from ROI and some are non-natives. There's actually some very sound methodology about it, however the work must be crushingly boring.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
14 Jan 2023 #72
There's of course also the school of thinking, equally legitimate as a language teacher, I must say, which states that grammar as such doesn't exist! Human learners don't learn grammar, they learn (as you say) instinctively.

A colleague of mine insists that grammar is SOLELY for teachers, rather than learners, of language:-)
mafketis 36 | 10,785
14 Jan 2023 #73
grammar is SOLELY for teachers, rather than learners, of language:-)

I wouldn't put it that way, but it does seem that paradigms (either nominal or verbal) are primarily heuristic and mostly irrelevant for native speakers who don't think in terms of paradigms at all.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
15 Jan 2023 #74
No brainer, Maf!
Always found it so counterintuitive for ESL instructor colleagues of mine to actually "teach grammar rules" to their beginning and intermediate learners.

Unless visual diagrams, preferrably using colours, are presented to the learner in an organically child-like fashion, it'll go over them like a wave.
mafketis 36 | 10,785
15 Jan 2023 #75
counterintuitive for ESL instructor colleagues of mine to actually "teach grammar rules"

natives don't need them but rules and paradigms and charts can be tremendously useful for learners

I even make my own paradigms because I tend to find them more useful than those given in grammar books.... so if I'm thinking of how to decline a Polish noun I use the order nom. acc. gen. rather than the one used by Polish grammarians (where accusative is fourth... a very inconvenient location).

Learning in an organic child-like fashion is okay but very lengthy.... who has six or seven years to spend mostly soaking up language info?
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
16 Jan 2023 #76
Agreed with the latter comment
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
16 Jan 2023 #77
I use the order nom. acc. gen. rather than the one used by Polish grammarians (where accusative is fourth... a very inconvenient location).

Possibly a much better idea since the concept of the acc. is simpler in Polish than the concept of the gen. But the latter occurs more frequently in the language than the former.

The order of the Polish cases in grammar books is taken from Latin, I should think.
jon357 74 | 21,808
17 Jan 2023 #78
he concept of the acc. is simpler in Polish than the concept of the gen.

I've always found the reverse to be true for myself as a learner.

The order of the Polish cases in grammar books is taken from Latin

It is; the first written grammars (grammar as a noun here) were all written by Latinists, usually clergy. This affects the way second language learners are taught most European languages and is not always helpful.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
17 Jan 2023 #79
@Ziemowit,
The Latin case order Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. is identical in all European languages which require said declension:-)

Only US textbooks for certain languages disregard the original order.
mafketis 36 | 10,785
19 Jan 2023 #80
Only US textbooks for certain languages disregard the original order.

For actually learning Polish, nom. acc. gen. first makes the most sense.

thinking of the acc and gen together helps students keep track of animate and inanimate masc nouns

inanim - nom and acc are the same
anim - acc and gen. are the same

Thats one of the hardest things for learners to get and it helps heuristic sense to group them together,

dat. isn't that hard (and not as much used as in some other slavic languages) so keeping it apart helps too.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
19 Jan 2023 #81
Not sure though if teachers of Polish in primary schools in Poland teach cases as first, second, third, fourth...cases.
If so, then listing the cases in a different order might bugger up the original order!
pawian 222 | 23,657
19 Jan 2023 #82
teachers of Polish in primary schools teach cases as first, second, third, fourth...cases.

They did more than half the century ago. I still remember learning them by heart in the 4th grade.
mafketis 36 | 10,785
20 Jan 2023 #83
if teachers of Polish in primary schools in Poland teach cases as first, second, third, fourth

I'm not talking about Polish for Polish speaking children.
I'm talking about adults learning Polish as a foreign language.

The grammar that gets taught to learners of English as a foreign language is very different from traditional grammar taught to English speaking childen (and good thing, what English speaking children get taught is a combination of cr@p on a stick and nonsense).
jon357 74 | 21,808
20 Jan 2023 #84
traditional grammar taught to English speaking childen

I don't know about you, but i didn't have even one lesson in English grammar when I was at school.

No bad thing though.
mafketis 36 | 10,785
20 Jan 2023 #85
i didn't have even one lesson in English grammar

I had the usual dysfunctional mess taught to hapless American students... "don't begin a sentence with 'Hopefully', dont' say "it's me", dont' end sentences with prepositions etc....
jon357 74 | 21,808
20 Jan 2023 #86
dont' end sentences with prepositions

That one irritates me, as well as the myth about not splitting infinitives. It's mentioned in another thread, the one about Polish case endings.

They shouldn't teach that. Basically nineteenth century grammarians who believed that Latin was superior to Germanic languages and tried to force a living language like English into the grammar patterns of a dead one

I wouldn't teach that at all
GefreiterKania 36 | 1,412
20 Jan 2023 #87
dont' end sentences with prepositions

Of course! "Preposition is something you should never end a sentence with". :)
johnny reb 47 | 7,049
20 Jan 2023 #88
Past Present and Future walked into a bar.
It was Tense.
Lyzko 45 | 9,275
20 Jan 2023 #89
@Maf,
In the US, that mind-numbing "grammar-translation" method for teaching foreign languages was still in full force until at least the late '70's! By the time I arrived on the college scene during the early '80's, instructors had for the most part smartened up to the fact that if Americans are ever going to learn a foreign language with the superficial facility of their European counterparts, foreign language programs, starting in high school, are going to have to insist on TARGET language materials in the classroom.


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