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How to insult a Pole without swearing?

9 Sep
  • …It can be done in many ways, however, one of the common (unintended) insults is to think that Poles speak Russian! Polish and Russian might sound similar to some English speakers, but make no mistake. They are very different. kloce sie z polakiem
  • If you say that somebody is ‘głupi jak but‘, which means ‘stupid like a shoe’, it means you don’t  think highly of their intelligence.
  • Calling a Polish person ‘wieśniak‘ (which means ‘a village person’) would be the way of saying they have no manners. The other way would be to call them ‘burak‘ – ‘a beetroot’, more of an oaf with a red face, or ‘baran‘ – ‘a ram’.
  • Interestingly, Polish people are polite even when they argue, especially if they don’t know each other. You might hear the odd “Pan jest idiotą.” (Sir, you’re an idiot).
  • Poles like to think about themselves as very generous people (have you noticed that they always give you something to eat or drink when you pop in?). Saying that somebody is ‘skąpy jak Szkot‘ – ‘stingy like a Scotsman’ wouldn’t go down well.
  • If you say that somebody is ‘a snowman’ – ‘bałwan’, you don’t think they make much use of their brain (what brain?)
  • Some women are called ‘głupia gęś‘ – ‘a silly goose’ rather than ‘a silly cow’. That’s very offensive!

Of course, you would have to use these expressions in vocative case, but this is a subject for another post ;).

Why is Polish easy?

8 Sep

You might have heard that the Polish language is one of the most difficult languages to learn.  That’s a bit unfair and these people couldn’t be more wrong. polish flag

Here is why:

1. There are only three tenses in Polish: past, present and future (and two aspects – perfective and imprerfective). Some of you might not be aware that there are… 16 tenses in English (just to name a few: Present simple, Present continuous, Present perfect, Present perfect continuous, Future perfect continuous, Past simple, Past continuous etc.). Complicated, isn’t it?

2. Once you have learnt the alphabet, that’s it, you’ve got it – you know how to pronounce almost every word in Polish as the Polish alphabet is phonetic.

3. You will find a lot of words in Polish that you recognise in your own language because some words have Latin roots, a few examples are komputer, idiota, radio, motywacja, kalkulator and… many more!

4. There are plenty of opportunities for you to experience Polish if you are living in the North East of England. The internet is full of Polish TV programmes, news, etc. as well as free lessons, applications and other learning tools. There are local organisations that arrange Polish events, trips, and other sessions. Just keep your eyes open.


Polish makes the top five!

8 Feb

The Telegraph published a list of 10 best languages to study. Polish is at the fifth position! Here is what they say why learning Polish is useful:

fot. Mark Savage

fot. Mark Savage

“Polish makes the top five, with 19 per cent of UK managers rating it as useful for their organisations. Large-scale Polish migration to the UK after the country’s admission to the European Union made the headlines, but as the largest consumer market of the new EU member states and the only EU country to avoid recession since the downturn began, business ties with Poland extend considerably further.”

Click for the link to the article: here

Five ways of learning Polish more effectively

26 Jan

I have been teaching Polish in Newcastle since 2007 and one thing I have noticed is that people give up way too easily on Polish. They either think that they are not making any progress, assuming that learning a new langauge will take only a few weeks, OR they simply don’t have time. Sound familiar? Image

Here are a few tips of how to make your learning more effective. It’s based on the idea that you need to immerse yourself in a language.

1. Go on internet forums, Facebook, Twitter or other social media and… use the language! You can read what others have to say and comment on issues that interest you. It’s fun and it gives you a purpose to use Polish.

2. Listen to Polish music and try to figure out the lyrics. Most of them are easy to find on-line, so you can check if your guesses are right. Learn the words and … sing along! It will be much easier to do than trying to memorize lists of words. Lots of Polish music can be found on YouTube.

3. Read and watch the news in Polish. If you follow British news anyway, in most cases you will know about current events, so it will help to understand the content. Your understanding will be supported by pictures or images and you would tune into language easier that you think.

4. Skype people! I know this is not for everybody, but on Skype you can talk to strangers for free. Not everybody will be up for a conversation, but some would love to meet others and talk to them. Why not try doing it in Polish or exchange your English (or any other language) for Polish? Tandem learning can be a fun way of making progress.

5. Surround yourself with Polish – make a note when you hear a new word or when you find out an interesting fact related to Polish language or culture, cut out newspaper articles, go to the local library and search for Polish books. Share what you found out with others. Their appreciation will bring you a lot of satisfaction. I love hearing new stuff about Poland and its affairs.

It’s not that difficult. Can you do at least one of these to support your learning in class or with a tutor? Try! I dare you.

Discounts for Polish Language Courses

19 Jan

I would like to invite you to the Polish Language courses at The Language Centre in Newcastle. The  Level 1 course for beginners starts on Thursday 30th January at 5.45pm and the intermediate Level 2 course begins on Saturday 1st February at 10am. It’s one week later than initially advertised which should give us more time to find students who are interested in learning Polish.

2 days left to get a discount! To be eligible for the Earlybird Discount please enter 'LOYALTY5' when enrolling

2 days left to get a discount! To be eligible for the Earlybird Discount please enter ‘LOYALTY5′ when enrolling

More information about courses and the language centre itself can be found at

Anyone interested in learning Polish who enrols for the course before 20th January will receive a discount. All you have to do is enter LOYALTY5 when signing up online.

The 10 week courses will take place in Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, NE1 6QE (opposite Tyneside Cinema). If you have any questions about the courses, please contact or call  07582 817243 (Monday – Thursday from 10am to 2pm).

Please share this information with anybody interested in learning Polish or any other foreign language.

Polish films at the click of your mouse!

25 Nov

One of the best ways of learning a foreign language is by watching films from that country. It’s not only fun, but a great way to learn vocabulary you might not otherwise come across during your Polish language lesson.

YouTube provides you with a wide choice of clips, but it’s not always easy to find a full length film. The website has a good variety of films, plays, documentaries and music.

The website has a good collection of old Polish classics from the 70s, 80s and 90s. There are also selections for children and populat television series.  Have a look for yourself and I would suggest you also prepare by reading something on-line in English before you start watching the film.


Here’s a good idea

25 Nov

spis tresci zeszytyOne of my best students uses these notebooks which have pictures with a Polish translation in the margin. They are handy little reminder to hav while you’re making notes.  They have a variety of different topics which I have listed below. Here is the website if you’re interested in these:



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