Cup of Polish

How to Learn Polish

9

While teaching Polish I often meet two types of Polish learners.

 

On one hand, there are those who don’t like making mistakes and avoid do them at all costs.

They try to be very correct and accurate. They care about every single ending of Polish verbs, nouns and adjectives which is an extremally difficult challenge in Polish. Obviously, what we have to work on is their fluency.

On the other hand, there are those who are talkers and risk takers.

They are very communicative and quite fluent, they just don’t care about errors as long as they are understandable. What they surely need is rather error correction.

However – for both of them – especially at the beginning - not every form is important in the same way, neither should every error be corrected immediately.

 

At the beginning of your Polish learning you should be focused on correctness for two kinds of situation:

Firstly, work on your pronunciation in Polish language.

 

Sometimes phonetical mistakes lead to funny or serious misunderstandings.

Let’s think about the following pairs: CZEŚĆ (hi) and SZEŚĆ (six),

PŁACĘ (I pay) and PŁACZĘ (I cry),

POCZĄTEK (beginning) and PORZĄDEK (order)

or

CÓRKA (daughter) and KURKA (little hen/chicken).

And if we translate “Płaczę gotówką” or “Ile lat ma twoja kurka”?

we will have: I am crying with cash (like with tears) and something like: How old is your chicken?

 

Secondly, be careful with Polish verbs’ endings.

 

Here, grammar mistakes direct your interlocutor to miscomprehension.

Generally, we don’t use personal pronouns (JA, TY, ON, ONA, MY, WY, ONI),

so the sound at the end of each verb really matters! “MAM, MASZ, MA, MAMY, MACIE, MAJĄ” are not the same.

These endings show who is talking, when he/she is talking and who we are talking about or to.

These two things – phonetics and verbs – are more than enough to be correct about at your first attempt.

 

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