How to speak Polish
One of the most widely spoken Slavic languages that ranks 29th in the list of most spoken languages in the world is Polish, the official language of Poland. Spoken by over 50 million people across the world, Polish is part of the West-Slavic group of Indo-European languages. This language shares many similarities with most other languages of the group such as Kashubian or Slovak. Apart from Poland, it is also spoken as a second language in other countries such as Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and some parts of Russia. Post World War II in 1945, many migrants resettled in these countries through the Jalta agreement, which made this language popular in these countries.
Primary differences between English and Polish
Polish shares Latin vocabulary and grammar like other Indo-European languages. It contains 3 genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), 3 tenses (past, present and future) and 2 numbers (singular and plural). Unlike English, there are no articles in this language. With 7 distinct cases, it defines the usage of nouns in a sentence. These are perhaps the most difficult elements to learn, as each of the case determines a different ending for singular and plural separately. The forms of verbs in Polish depend on the person, gender and number being used in a sentence. To indicate whether an action is finished or not, prefixes and suffixes are added to a verb, which alters the meaning accordingly. Another point of difference between English and Polish is that Polish uses words to express punctuation marks. In fact, it is probably the only language in the world to write a comma as ‘kurwa’. Moreover, Polish has two nasal vowels; The six oral vowels and vowel diphthongs inherent to the English language do not exist in Polish. Polish features an increased use of special characters and is considered phonetically rich.
Other notable differences between the two languages include:
- The Polish ‘r’ is often rolled (depending on its placement), which sounds like a distortion of the English ‘r’.
- The English interdental fricatives of ‘th’ in ‘them’ and ‘think’ do not exist in Polish.
- There are many differences in pronunciation between the two languages too. This makes learning how to speak polish all the more complicated for English speaking people.
Methods to learn Polish
To learn Polish is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks. Given its level of difficulty, there are now many ways to learn to write and speak Polish, and one can master it with determination and a lot of hard work.
A few ways to learn to write and speak Polish are:
- Polish language course – You can find out about courses to speak Polish offered by local universities and colleges. Contacting the nearest Polish consulate or Polish heritage museum can help, as they can assist you in finding a place that offers a course in Polish.
- Study in Poland – Regular use is the best way to learn how to speak Polish and that is possible through studying in Poland. There are many Polish universities that have a division for learning this language.
- Language CDs and computer programmes – Computer programmes and language CDs are also helpful to learn to write as well as speak Polish. These programmes and CDs come with workbooks and other tools that can help in mastering this language.
- Hire a tutor – Hiring a polish tutor can help you learn the basics of this language more effectively. You can look through classifieds or online for one.
Learn how to speak Polish with Babbel
Babbel is another new and innovative way to learn this language. It is a fee-based online program that can help you learn Polish by way of audio-video lessons, fun and interesting exercises, and mobile apps. It gives you access to high quality content, along with combining visual learning with sound educational methodology and social networking interactivity. The aim is to provide you with a platform to learn Polish at your desired pace with interactive tools that also help you in learning how to speak Polish, making the learning process smooth and effective.