Let’s begin our discovery by listening to this first hand experience.

Not 2 for 1, not 3 for 2 but FOUR for the price of 1. When you learn Polish, polishing Czech, Slovak and Sorbian could be a matter of a day or two. Learning Polish will definitely help you learn quicker even more languages: Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, Slovene, Serbian and Ukrainian. They are all part of the same family of Slavonic languages.

Before we begin to discover the language, let’s see if we may already know how to pronounce some Polish names.

Joseph Conrad who had close relationship with Henry James and HG Wells always wanted us to see the lot through his work. His real name, however, is: Teodor Józef Konrad Nałęcz-Korzeniowski. This famous English writer who always spoke with a strong Polish accent mastered English in his early twenties.

Charles Edward Stuart who we learnt to know as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” had a Polish mother, princess Maria Klementyna Sobieska. He, too never lost his Polish accent.

Marie Curie whose real name was Maria Curie-Skłodowska named the first new chemical element she discovered “Polonium”.

Many of our lives would different be without laptops, music players, vitamins or the bob cut. But what do these have to do with a Polish language? Commodore 64 was invented by Jacek Trzmiel, also known as Jack Tramiel. The story of the father of our laptops and other devices, is remarkable.

But let’s come back to the to the language. “Trzmiel”, Tramiel’s real surname, translates as ‘bumblebee’. Bumblebee belongs to the same family as “Chrząszcz” (English: beetle) and ‘Chrząszcz’ features in the most famous Polish tongue-twister.

“W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie” 

You can learn how to pronounce it and find out more about the famous beetle monument here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrząszcz

We can recognise a Polish accent almost instantly. It is probably because Polish and English do not share a single vowel.

If you would like to learn how to introduce yourself in Polish in just 3 minutes, I recommend this short video:



Now, we know how to introduce ourselves in Polish. You can post your introduction in Polish below and perhaps even teach us how to introduce yourself in another language.

In English, we have some Polish derived words. Vitamin, vodka and gherkin all find their origin in the Polish language.

Anecdotal evidence takes us all the way back to Polish wood which was used as masts in English shipyards. We call this ‘Polish wood’ – ‘spruce’  and ‘z Prus’ means ‘from Prussia’.

My favourite summary of the history of the Polish language comes from Prof. Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski and it is available here: http://www.pogonowski.com/publications/A_Brief_History/A_Brief_History.php

Is there anything easy about Polish?

You will recall when I mentioned that that Polish and English do not share a single vowel. However, the consonants sound almost identical to the English ones. And there are only 3 tenses: Past, Present and Future. Plus, stress of a word is always on the penultimate syllable.

So let’s learn how to say hello in Polish in two different ways.

How do you say hello in your language? Post a comment below!

And maybe you would like to share some interesting facts about another language? Contact pawel.janicki@acciglobal.org