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How hard is it to learn Polish?

blargh Threads: 1
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 12, 2011
  ♀   Feb 12, 2011, 07:42pm  #1

Hey!

I have pure Polish heritage and am currently enrolled at a top all women's college in the United States. I'm majoring in Russian Literature and am currently studying abroad at St. Petersburg State University. However, I don't know Polish and that's disheartening to my very Polish grandmother in particular, and my family in general. I also think that because I'll probably be going to graduate school for Slavic Literature (I'm a second semester junior) that I should learn Polish for the benefit of my academic career. So I want to learn Polish a lot!

However, my college in the U.S. does not offer Polish language, and I do not have room in my schedule at St. Petersburg to learn Polish.

So what I'm wondering is:
1. How hard was it for any native English speakers to learn Polish?
2. What did you use to learn Polish? (Assuming that you did not learn to speak Polish from your family)

I would very much like to learn Polish during this year, and become an advanced speaker by the end of this year. :)

Thank you so so so much for any help!


scottie1113 Threads: 9
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 13, 2007
  ♂   Feb 12, 2011, 09:28pm  #2

1. Damned difficult. I'm still learning.

2. Polish in 4 Weeks. Ha!!! Hurra Po Polsku. Help from friends.

I had 2 years of Latin in high school, majored in French at my university, studied Italian for a year at the same place, picked up some Spanish while living in San Diego, and learned decent Japanese (not the characters though, except for the phonetic alfabet) while there in high school. Polish is by far the most difficult language I've ever tried to learn.

I don't think you'll get from square one to advanced in a year, but any progress you make will make both you and your grandmother proud. Good luck!

jablko Threads: -
Posts: 135
Joined: Jul 13, 2010
  ♂   Feb 12, 2011, 09:37pm  #3

I've once met american girl in Poland that lived there for a year and already spoke decent polish. Maybe she had talent for learning languages, who knows!

Polish Tutor Threads: -
Posts: 94
Joined: Jun 22, 2009
  ♂   Edited by: Polish Tutor  Feb 12, 2011, 10:14pm  #4

It depends on:

Somebody’s Individual predispositions, talent,
and experience in learning foreign languages as an adult.

How good somebody’s Polish teacher is
or if a learner have a good learning method.
(Please notice that buying a course book or a CD cannot be considered as a method (-:)

Level of your superstition and prejudices in reference to the Polish Language.
Sometimes this factor makes learning Polish just impossible.

Learning any foreign language is hard work. You have to take it under consideration.
If somebody says that Polish is not to learn ask her or him
how many other foreign languages she or he had learnt as an adult.

Be realistic not pessimistic (-:

Good night and Good luck

Barcelona2011     Feb 12, 2011, 10:21pm  #5

takes about 6 to 10 years, depends on your motivation...

blargh Threads: 1
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 12, 2011
  ♀   Edited by: blargh  Feb 12, 2011, 10:29pm  #6

Barcelona2011:
takes about 6 to 10 years, depends on your motivation...

What! Do you really think that? I've never heard an estimation anywhere near that high for any other language in the world before. I mean it only took two years to become completely fluent in Russian, which has completely different alphabet and grammar rules from English...

Seriously 6 years? Whaaaaat.


Thank you everyone else for your answers! I find the variance very interesting and helpful. :)

peter_olsztyn Threads: 7
Posts: 1,016
Joined: Apr 18, 2007
  ♂   Feb 12, 2011, 10:54pm  #7

blargh:
I would very much like to learn Polish during this year, and become an advanced speaker by the end of this year. :)

Friend of mine who is Russian became fluent in 5 years ;)

Leopejo Threads: 4
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 16, 2009
  ♂   Feb 12, 2011, 10:57pm  #8

Nah, if you know Russian well you will learn it very fast, as both are quite similar both for grammar and lexicon. All those mysterious word changes (D -> DČ, T -> Ă, R -> RZ,...) will make sense in view of the palatalizing rules of Russian, as when adding -Е in the locative case.

I'd suggest to use resources in Russian for Russians, as they will probably bring out well the differences between the two languages.

southern Threads: 95
Posts: 9,049
Joined: May 17, 2007
  ♂   Feb 12, 2011, 11:31pm  #9

It is easier than russian in my opinion because of the more familiar latin alphabet.It is a bit more difficult than czech though I think because of the endings.

rybnik Threads: 33
Posts: 2,058
Joined: Jan 16, 2011
  ♂   Feb 13, 2011, 01:43am  #10

blargh:
What! Do you really think that? I've never heard an estimation anywhere near that high for any other language in the world before. I mean it only took two years to become completely fluent in Russian, which has completely different alphabet and grammar rules from English...

Seriously 6 years? Whaaaaat

Learn polish the classical way: get a polish boyfriend! Immerse yourself.

Polish Tutor Threads: -
Posts: 94
Joined: Jun 22, 2009
  ♂   Feb 13, 2011, 03:09am  #11

blargh

Let me repeat:

Level of your superstition and prejudices in reference to the Polish Language.
Sometimes this factor makes learning Polish just impossible.


read posts above and you will understand what I mean.
5/6 years?????????????????????????
What are you talking about?

Polish girl/boyfriend doesn't help much.
Read posts on this forum about it.

The truth is, if you want to learn Polish you have to learn it. There is no other way (-:

Losers are never good advisers for a winner.

5/6 years?????????????????????????
Poor guys
Why not 25 years (-:

southern Threads: 95
Posts: 9,049
Joined: May 17, 2007
  ♂   Feb 13, 2011, 12:04pm  #12

Polish Tutor:
Polish girl/boyfriend doesn't help much.


From polish girls you learn basic polish like kochanie,liczyc,pomuc,tak,kochany jestesz.

frdalloway Threads: 1
Posts: 19
Joined: Nov 12, 2010
  ♀   Feb 13, 2011, 02:02pm  #13

blargh:
1. How hard was it for any native English speakers to learn Polish?
2. What did you use to learn Polish? (Assuming that you did not learn to speak Polish from your family)



1. For me it has been quite hard to learn Polish, especially ortography, it's just too complicated! Why do they use two "u"s? :-) I've started to learn Polish about 5 years ago, but I'm not at a course all the time. I have had many breaks in my education, but last year's intensive course in Cracow and travelling around Poland helped me to improve my Polish.

2. At first, I used the Internet, but I wasn't motivated enough, and the tutoring via skype was hopeless - too many people pretended to be teachers of Polish, but in fact they were teenagers who wanted my money...
I participated in a Polish course in Glossa School in Cracow, you can check their offer here www.glossa.pl; we used a very good book, written by Glossa's teachers "Polski Krok Po Kroku", I still continue to learn from this book and I still have contact with many people from Cracow, including Glossa's teachers or interns.

Good luck with Polish! Try not to be discouraged by grammar or ortography :-)

Leopejo Threads: 4
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 16, 2009
  ♂   Feb 13, 2011, 05:24pm  #14

frdalloway:
especially ortography, it's just too complicated! Why do they use two "u"s?

I'd hate Polish to use only U or only » and dispense with Ë and RZ. Or even, more drastically, to write devoiced consonants as such: 'tesz' for te┐, 'pszepraszam', 'buk' for buk, Bˇg and Bug.

I do actually like the Polish ortography - I personally prefer it to Czech or Croat, for example. Not to talk about those ugly Cyrillizations of a language which doesn't suit (anymore) to Cyrillic.

LostChild Threads: 2
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 19, 2010
  ♀   Feb 13, 2011, 11:26pm  #15

I regret having never been exposed to my Polish family so that I could learn the customs and the language. I always thought it would be so good to be bi-lingual - but I guess at age 67 it's a bit much to take on - especially if I will never have the opportunity to use the language! My Polish family spoke Polish in the home, but English with an accent in public.

rybnik Threads: 33
Posts: 2,058
Joined: Jan 16, 2011
  ♂   Feb 14, 2011, 02:20am  #16

Polish Tutor:
Polish girl/boyfriend doesn't help much

Of course it helps. Especially if the boy(girl)friend do not speak english. It certainly helped me.

scottie1113 Threads: 9
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 13, 2007
  ♂   Feb 14, 2011, 02:24pm  #17

LostChild:
I guess at age 67 it's a bit much to take on


Why not give it a try? It'll keep your mind active, and else are you going to do with a couple of hours a day?

AdamKadmon Threads: 25
Posts: 965
Joined: Apr 23, 2010
  ♂   Edited by: AdamKadmon  Feb 14, 2011, 03:15pm  #18

scottie1113:
a couple of hours a day?


No way. Our language is 100 times more difficult to crack than enigma. It is our last resort, our home and castle and everyone who enters it may depart his life. It is frightfully, awfully hard. God forbid, you even think about it!

scottie1113 Threads: 9
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 13, 2007
  ♂   Feb 14, 2011, 03:37pm  #19

AdamKadmon:
No way. Our language is 100 times more difficult to crack than enigma. It is our last resort, our home and castle and everyone who enters it may depart his life. It is frightfully, awfully hard. God forbid, you even think about it!


I meant a couple of hours a day for the rest of his life! :) That's my plan!

AdamKadmon Threads: 25
Posts: 965
Joined: Apr 23, 2010
  ♂   Feb 14, 2011, 03:57pm  #20

scottie1113:
That's my plan!


More perilous than climbing Everest.

alexw68     Feb 14, 2011, 04:22pm  #21

AdamKadmon:

More perilous than climbing Everest.

However the rewards outweigh the risks. You might want to take a couple of Sherpas along with you.

Adamie: ale jaja robisz, WaŠpanie - daj kolesiowi spokˇj!

Albinoni Threads: -
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 22, 2011
  ♀   Feb 23, 2011, 11:50pm  #22

Hi blargh,
as a native Russian speaker i can only support
Leopejo's idea to try finding access to Polish through Russian,
if you speak it well.
BUT:
1) beware of false friends, there are not just a few of them!
2) beware of the differences in grammar and pronounciation, especially
stressing words correctly. Although not that tricky, they have to be kept
in mind all the time. Otherwise your Polish will just remain similar to
Russian or may resemble Ukrainian to a Pole.
4) our teacher said that some foreign students had come to
learning Polish and persisted in it through the Polish music,
so probably it could help you, too?
5) personally i enjoy reading the Polish literature, both translated
and in the original. It's difficult in the beginning, though; hence, you
could probably start by reading short news (like wiadomosci.pl)

I wish you luck whatever method you prefer!
Zycze cie sukcesu! Udachi!

Lyzko     Sep 25, 2011, 11:13pm  #23

As with learning any inflected language, Polish will present the learner with numerous bramble patches and thorny routes, none of which however are insurmountable, believe me-:) All that's needed is time, laser focus and dedication. I began learning at the ripe "old" age of 31 and some twenty years a marriage and family later, am still improving my skills. Sure, in the beginning, it DOES indeed seem like a Sysephusian labor of rolling the proverbial boulder up a steep hill, but to be sure, in time, even the irregularities of counting can be learned, perhaps not easily, but eventually!!

Don't though make tactical mistake I made of learning two Slavic languages, Polish and Russian, simultaneously. In the end, while my Polish prospered, my Russian suffered.

beckski Threads: 19
Posts: 1,907
Joined: May 15, 2007
  ♀   Sep 26, 2011, 01:23am  #24

How hard is it to learn Polish?


Freakin difficult for me. Made two grammatical errors at the Polish church today. My errors were pointed out & corrected. It's just a bit frustrating at times.

hague1cmaeron Threads: 20
Posts: 1,758
Joined: Mar 30, 2010
  ♂   Sep 26, 2011, 01:26am  #25

I have pure Polish heritage and am currently enrolled at a top all women's college in the United States. I'm majoring in Russian Literature and am currently studying abroad at St. Petersburg State University. However, I don't know Polish and that's disheartening to my very Polish grandmother

Yes, I am not surprised. I would be pretty damn disheartened to that you chose Russian over Polish. Have you ever been to Poland and Russia? If the answer is no on both counts, and you do get the chance to visit the aforementioned countries you will realise your mistake.

pam Threads: 24
Posts: 1,137
Joined: Oct 11, 2011
  ♀   Oct 11, 2011, 07:01pm  #26

it is very hard. have had no experiences with learning a language before. i taught myself the language because my polish boyfriend didnt want to learn english. consequently had to learn polish. he has now gone back to poland, but after he went i had polish neighbours move in next door. as i spend lots of time talking to them my polish has improved. have been speaking it for maybe 18 months now, but the grammar is horrendous! why why why do the endings of words constantly change? totally baffling but wont give up now. am very stubborn. for example....ja lubie polski jemzyk... ale nie lubie polskiego jemzyka. totally nuts but am addicted to learning more now. would be grateful for any advice

gumishu Threads: 17
Posts: 4,558
Joined: Apr 6, 2009
  ♂ Moderator   Oct 11, 2011, 09:10pm  #27

ja lubie polski jemzyk... ale nie lubie polskiego jemzyka. totally nuts but am addicted to learning more now. would be grateful for any advice


you are doing pretty well given the fact that you are learning on your own actually - many expats who live in Poland a couple years already are not at that level

scottie1113 Threads: 9
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 13, 2007
  ♂   Oct 11, 2011, 09:33pm  #28

why why why do the endings of words constantly change?


I'm glad I studied Latin in high school. I understand declensions of nouns. Now the hard part is learning to use them in Polish. Google one beer, two beers, five beers. And which preposition takes which case. Keep trying. It'll be as clear as mud in, oh, maybe 20 years. :)

pawian Threads: 158
Posts: 8,611
Joined: May 30, 2008
  ♂   Oct 11, 2011, 10:17pm  #29

=blargh]How hard is it to learn Polish?

Quite hard. It took me whole my life to learn it and I haven`t finished my education yet.

pam Threads: 24
Posts: 1,137
Joined: Oct 11, 2011
  ♀   Oct 13, 2011, 04:47pm  #30

20 years! my tongue will have fallen out by then by trying to pronounce totally unpronouceable words! and i thought przyjaciel was hard to pronounce when i started....



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