11 April 2005

Linguistic Frustrations

Just a little rant about Polish, possibly the most confusing language on the planet. You just have to wonder about a language where singular is plural (The door are closed.) and plural is singular (There is six students in our group.). I'm not making this up, these are direct translations!

Remind me again why I wanted to live here?? ;)

29 comments:

Juli said...

My mother was 1/2 Polish and the only word I learned from her was dupa. Now I need to learn how to say "kiss my". :)

露露 said...

It's interesting. The singular and plural of my own language, Mandarin Chinese, are also very confusing. Mind you, I can barely catch the spirit of those in English even after 40 years since I came across the "global language". Keep up.

Martin said...

lol
"kiss my" dupa (arse) is:
"pocaluj mnie w dupe"
literally kiss me in the arse.
I dont find polish that difficult but thats probably 'coz ive been speaking it all my life :)

GhettoFly said...

Well, you've got to go by the nouns:

Drzwi (correct my spelling) is plural ... uncountable nouns like sheep or waters (these waters are trecherous ... why plural?) in English cause similar problems.

Szesc = six, the 'is' refers to the six rather than to the students as in English. So it means 'There is (a group of) six students in the class'

Just to ease your mind, English is just as hard in the opposite direction. I'm still struggling with getting the difference between 'sad' and 'said' after 20 yrs, and have to go to a 'speech pathologist' as I wish to teach ESL in Taiwan and all my vowels are still 'in between' the English contrast. Talk about a pain in the a...

Sylwia said...

Haha, did you know that Polish is the 3rd most difficult language to learn for the English (Americans too ;-)) The two more difficult are: Chinese and the Whistling Language of Africa (or sth like that...).
Anyway, GOOD LUCK ;-)

The Wendy Lady said...

I already know how to whistle, maybe I should try that one instead! :)

Chelsea said...

I just left you a comment, but I decided to leave you another. My friend majored in linguistics and is now teaching in Germany.

My Polish roommate has tried to explain the Polish language to me, but it never really works.

Basicus said...

How strange.. I have just set up a domain called http://polandpoint.com and when I was setting up a blog today I saw yours :-)

Polandpoint is going to be a meetingplace for english speaking people living in Poland.

I am currently setting up the systme, and it will be ready for use in a few days.

Maybe you would be interested in helping out if you have time for it?

Leave a comment in my blog if you are interested..

Anna said...

Hey. I'm Polish (100%!) I speak it and everything and live in the US but I never realized the thing about the singular-plural thing. Maybe it's because I never learned the grammar?

wanotwa said...

well... i think that is easier than Portuguese for a lot of things... but Polish have a cool structure, i really didn't know...=)

your blog rlz!
kisses

Marta said...

Hi Wendy,

I'm polish but I'm living in Austria since some years and first here I ralized how difficult is or might be my mother thongue:)
My friends were trying to repeat some words , but the pronouciation is too difficult.
My boyfriend started with polish an he went for a language tandem at the university. Since he is Belgian and very structure targeted person, he didn't catch up with the grammar and he gave up, as it was too unstructured and too fluffy for him.
Believe me I understand you very good, when you're complaining. Even I cannot explain why thing are like they are .
Well, good luck and don't give up:)

Marta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to vent but it just boggles my mind how Americans find their language superior to any other, or the "standard." Hey, maybe it's the other way around? Why the heck is the word "door" singular in English? How strange!

DTFT said...

no yes we all the world,
spoken babilon, going to the McDonald

that was, more of wwww.mountain.ru ;)

Anonymous said...

I guess all Slavic languages comparing to English are quite difficult. I am Slovakian and i understand Polish okey (as long as it is spoken very slowly..) and we have similar grammar (the door "are" closed -dvere su zatvorene, there "is" six students in ...je tam sest studentov..). I never really thought about that until my boyfriend who is English started to learn Slovakian . It's driving him nuts...

Todd said...

I have to disagree. I lived in Poland for 9 years and now I live in Hungary. No contest, Hungarian is much harder. My wife is taking lessons, and I can't make heads or tails of it.

Lisaopolis said...

Hungarian's no harder, just different, no???

And Wendles, did you not get the memo that Polish is not actually a human language??

Syntax drives the bus, hehehe;)

Chris said...

My girlfriend is Polish and I decided that I would learn the language. I found that the Pimsleur Method had me speaking Polish after the first time learning it. It is a very basic introductory course where you actually listen to a conversation between to Polish individuals. It is absolutely amazing that I was able to not only was I able to correctly pronounce difficult words but also understand what I was saying. Trying to memorize takes longer, this method is great. I just wish they had more intermediate levels.

Genome said...

Hey.
I'm a Polish. I have to admit that my language is very difficult for the foreigners, hihi. Try to say: "W Strzebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie", hihi.

Scott MacLeod said...

Well, Czech & Polish are similar & I found Polish much easier. Czech is a bit like a car crash, as in trying to pronounce a "trzh" sound, all the hard consonants right next to each other. The Polish consonants are softer. The most important clue for me was when I found out that in Polish the accent is usually on the 2nd to last syllable, so after awhile you at least know where the words end & begin. Took a lot longer to figure that out with Czech. So it's the musical rythmn of Polish that is a big help.

Yagoolar said...

Wendy,

I have found your blog incidentally... Just because I wanted to see another blogs on tube amps and decided to start my own one, but ... I find it very, uhmm, funny and interesting to read comments on how foreigners perceive my country, people and most of all - my native language. And all those remarks let me look at things from different view or angle.

DO NOT STOP!

Yagoolar said...

Wendy,

I have found your blog incidentally... Just because I wanted to see another blogs on tube amps and decided to start my own one, but ... I find it very, uhmm, funny and interesting to read comments on how foreigners perceive my country, people and most of all - my native language. And all those remarks let me look at things from different view or angle.

DO NOT STOP!

cranberry said...

i'm finishing up a week in krakow and I can agree that is it quite difficult.
best of luck!

Jinge@jinge.se said...

Very interesting blog! Thanks a lot.
jinge@jinge.se.

Pardubitz said...

To Scott MacLeod.
I think the accent in Czech is as easy in Polish - the only difference is that in Czech the accent on the first syllable.

Comparing Czech and Polish (I am Czech and I can speak Polish very well): Czech can be a bit more difficult eventhough the grammar is almost the same.

And one comment to the plural/singular topic: believe me or not when I first heard these words in English I was surprised too. The same strange feeling.


Well, Czech & Polish are similar & I found Polish much easier. Czech is a bit like a car crash, as in trying to pronounce a "trzh" sound, all the hard consonants right next to each other. The Polish consonants are softer. The most important clue for me was when I found out that in Polish the accent is usually on the 2nd to last syllable, so after awhile you at least know where the words end & begin. Took a lot longer to figure that out with Czech. So it's the musical rythmn of Polish that is a big help.

Andy Beard said...

Polish will always frustrate me.

I have been living in Poland almost 12 years now. Stephan Muller and Kevin amaze me sometimes with the complex grammar they have managed to master.
I understand most of what is said to me, and my vocab is extensive, but my grammar isn't much beyond what a 5 year old can muster.

My neighbour at my new house speaks with a heavy "local yokel" accent, and half of what he says is unrecognisable

Folquie said...

Just to answer Sylwia, I think the most difficult language in the world, even before Mandarin, must be Basque... They have the most declinations (I don't now if that's the correct word, but it's simple, it's what doesn't exist in English!)
And if you think of it, French is as much tricky with "Il y a six élèves dans la classe" where "a" is the singular form of the verb to have/to be. And as an English student, can affirm that English is no better: a couple is or a couple are?

jak_deth said...

Sounds a bit like Ebonics.

jak_deth said...

Sounds a bit like Ebonics.