Archive | September, 2014

Few interesting facts about Polish language

22 Sep

Did you know…?
1. The first sentence ever written in Polish comes from the Book of Henrykow, dated 1270, found in the abbey of Cistercian monks chronicle written down in Latin. henrykow

Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai.
Daj, ać ja pobruszę, a ty poczywaj.
It means:
Let me grind, and you rest.

This sentence was said by Czech Boguchwal to his Polish wife.

2. Around 50 million people in the world speak Polish language (native and secondary), mostly in Poland, but also within different communities in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

3. The name of the country comes from the tribe of Polans (Polanie). Around 9th century several parts of Poland were united. The term itself means “field” or “plain,” which tells a bit of the country’s landscape.

4. The most similar languages to Polish are Czech, Slovak, Kashubian (spoken in the north of Poland, in Pomerania) and Serbian. Less related are the languages of the Southern and Eastern Slavic groups, such as Russian, Ukrainian and Croatian.

5. The Polish alphabet, is based on Latin and contains 32 letters. Q, X, V occur in borrowed words or in commercial names of brands only.

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 “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 imperfective). 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.