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A Brief Overview of Polish Culture

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There are many components that go into learning a language. Knowing the culture surrounding that language is one of them! 

This brief Polish culture overview will provide you with all the information you need to get a head start, from traditional values to the country’s art and cuisine. These interesting Polish culture facts will help you better understand the country and its people, thus helping you acquire the Polish language more quickly.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Religion in Poland
  3. Family and Work
  4. Polish Art
  5. Polish Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Values and Beliefs

A Polish Flag

Many people in Poland adhere to traditional values and family is very important to them. In general, people living in small villages are more traditional than those living in big cities. In fact, the big-city lifestyle in Poland doesn’t differ much from the lifestyle of people living in other European cities.

The Polish culture values collectivism over individualism, though this is changing these days. Community is very important to Polish people, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. 

One of the more notable features of Polish culture is its straightforwardness. Unlike people in many Western European cultures, Polish people prefer to get straight to the point. This is why asking “How are you?” (Co u ciebie?) is more than just a mere nicety. People really want to know how you are, so feel free to answer at length. 

2. Religion in Poland

A Sculpture of John Paul II

Polish culture and religion are intertwined. Poland is a predominantly Catholic country, with around 90% of Polish people identifying as Roman Catholics. This means that Catholic values and the Catholic Church influence social, artistic, and political life.   

Close to 1% of the Polish population is Eastern Orthodox. Representatives of other religions are less numerous. That said, these statistics are likely to change as Poland is becoming a more attractive destination for immigrants from (and outside of) Europe.

3. Family and Work 

Because religion heavily impacts Polish culture and traditions, many people in Poland have conservative family values. In many families, the man is still considered to be the head of the household. Polish legislation doesn’t recognize long-term cohabitation, nor has it legalized same-sex marriages. 

Despite these conservative values, the Polish family landscape has been changing in favor of assisting Polish women professionally. Poland gives women a generous allowance of up to a year to give birth and take care of their child. Today, women can share that allowance with the father of the child. 

Work culture is another factor that needs to be taken into account. Polish culture values laboriousness, punctuality, and respect for deadlines. The Polish are known to be hard-working and they generally adhere to strong work ethics.

4. Polish Art

Art is often intertwined with history, making it difficult to understand one without the other. Polish art is one of the things you’ll have more access to once you have a better understanding of the language. 

A- Polish Architecture

A Picture of Warsaw

Architecture in Polish cities is a mixture of modern buildings, Soviet-style aesthetics, and older constructions that survived the Second World War. There are many cities you can visit to appreciate the architectural features of Polish culture: Warsaw (Warszawa), Cracow (Kraków), Wrocław, Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot, among others.

A typical Polish city has an historical part called ‘old town’ in the middle of it. Some old cities have buildings that are centuries old while others, notably the Old City in Warsaw (Warszawska Starówka), were largely destroyed during the Second World War and had to be reconstructed. Other parts of a city are usually full of modern buildings with older ones mixed into the landscape. 

After the Second World War, Poland was under the influence of the Soviet Union. The particular style of the period added to the Polish architecture. Famous buildings such as the Palace of Culture (Pałac Kultury) in Warsaw and the multipurpose arena in Katowice (Katowicki Spodek) are good examples of such architecture.

B- Polish Literature

Some Polish books and poems will only be accessible to you once you’ve developed your Polish language skills. However, many books have been translated into other languages. 

Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of The Witcher saga, is perhaps the most famous Polish author at the moment. However, other notable Polish writers whose works have been translated into other languages are the Nobel Prize winners: Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905), Czesław Miłosz (1980), Wisława Szymborska (1996), and Olga Tokarczuk (2019).

C- Polish Music

Mazurka Dancers

Like people in countries around the world, Polish people like music. 

Poles listen to both international music and homegrown Polish music. There’s Polish pop, rock, metal, and all other genres that come to mind. One genre that has been gaining popularity over the years is folk music. The modern spin on musical tradition was popularized in the 90s by bands such as Brathanki and Golec Ouerkiestra. Their work also incorporates another element of traditional Polish culture: clothing.

Here’s a selective list of Polish bands and musicians who have become internationally famous:

  • Joanna Kulig is a well-known Polish actress and singer who became an international star after her performance in the 2019 Oscar-nominated movie Cold War.

  • Poland hasn’t been particularly successful in the Eurovision Contest, but Edyta Górniak came in second place in 1994.  

  • If you’re a fan of metal, you may already know the two famous Polish metal bands: Mgła and Behemoth.

  • Krzysztof Komeda is a famous film composer who worked with Roman Polański on movies such as Rosemary’s Baby.

  • Wojciech Kilar is another famous film composer who worked with Polański. He’s known for his work on The Pianist as well as other blockbusters such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Truman Show.

These are just some highlights to get you started in your exploration of Polish music. If you want to learn more, we have a series of lessons on the top 10 Polish musicians, including Frederic Chopin and Krzysztof Kieslowski.

5. Polish Food

Polish Easter Food

Polish culture and food go hand in hand. Of course, modernity has brought changes to our traditional eating habits, but eating remains a very important part of Polish holidays.

Polish food is quite typical for the region, with many dishes having close equivalents in the Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Polish cuisine also has many Jewish influences.

Polish food is quite filling and contains a lot of meat, with pork and beef being particularly popular. Still, there are many health benefits associated with eating certain Polish dishes such as pickled vegetables. Kapusta kiszona (“sauerkraut”) and ogórki kiszone (“pickled gherkins”) are great examples.

Let’s not forget about drinks! Polish drinking culture is social. For instance, vodka (wódka) is an important presence during Polish wedding toasts. Polish people also like to drink beer (piwo) in a bottle (z butelki) or draught (z nalewaka). As for non-alcoholic beverages traditionally present on Polish tables, there is the sweet kompot made of different kinds of fruit. 

Would you like to learn more about the food culture in Poland? Have a look at our lessons: 


6. Traditional Holidays

A Family Celebrating Christmas

Polish people celebrate many holidays on the Christian calendar such as Christmas (Święta Bożego Narodzenia) and Easter (Wielkanoc). They’re both a big deal in Poland, and some days around that period are public holidays so that people can enjoy time with their families. There are also Polish traditions that aren’t related to Christianity, such as Children’s Day and Labor Day

There’s also a number of cherished traditions and holidays in Poland, which are either exclusively Polish or are only known in a handful of other countries. Among them you can find:

  • Drowning of Marzanna. This is a tradition where we drown a doll called Marzanna to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring.

  • Śmigus-dyngus. This day is also known as Wet Monday or Easter Monday. People all around Poland throw water at one another on this day!

  • Tłusty Czwartek. This is a day meant for pre-Lent indulgence, and we celebrate by eating sweets such as pączki (donuts with jam).

Would you like to get more information about Poland? Culture-related events are discussed in our lesson on the Top 5 Important Dates During the Polish Calendar Year

7. Final Thoughts

Today, you’ve learned some key Polish culture facts that should help you better understand the country. We hope that our overview has answered some of your questions. Remember to explore our website to find even more information about Poland and the Polish language.

Culture isn’t everything! If you want to know the language, you need to do some work.

Fortunately, thanks to PolishPod101.com, your work can be much more fun! Here, you can find countless lessons, recordings, and videos featuring native speakers. You can learn tons of new vocabulary with our vocabulary lists and dictionary, both of which have recorded pronunciations. 

Are you ready to up your game? Start your free trial today!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Polish culture compares to that in your country! We look forward to hearing from you.

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The Best Polish Foods to Develop Your Palate

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Did you know that learning Polish can help you order delicious food? 

Polish food (polskie jedzenie) is really diverse and tasty, so you should definitely give it a try next time you’re in Poland. If a trip to this beautiful country isn’t an option right now, you can also visit a Polish restaurant in your area or try out the simple recipes we’ve included at the end of this article. 

Discovering the tastiest Polish dishes (polskie potrawy) and experiencing them for yourself will take your language learning to a whole new level!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes
  2. Unique Polish Food
  3. Talking About Food in Polish
  4. Easy Polish Food Recipes
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Must-Try Dishes

A Polish Christmas Table

There are many different Polish dishes, and this doesn’t always make your choice at a Polish restaurant easy. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve prepared a list of must-try traditional Polish foods. 

A- Have You Tried Pierogi?

Pierogi are among the most popular Polish dishes. Put simply, they’re Polish dumplings with fillings. They take quite a bit of time and effort to prepare, which is why it’s easiest to just order them in a restaurant. 

Pierogi exist, sometimes under different names, in many countries of Eastern and Central Europe. In Poland, they can contain sweet or savory fillings. The most popular ones are pierogi with meat, but there’s a whole range of pierogi suitable for vegetarians: 

  • with cabbage and mushroom (z kapustą i grzybami)
  • with Polish blueberries (z jagodami)
  • with cheese (z serem)
  • with cottage cheese, potato, and onion (so-called Russian pierogi, or pierogi ruskie)

Polish food is quite meaty in general, so vegan Polish food isn’t easy to find. However, some places do prepare vegan versions of traditionally non-vegan meals.    

B- Bigos for Meat-Lovers

Bigos is often translated as Hunter’s Stew. It’s a rich Polish dish made with meats, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and fresh cabbage. Traditionally, bigos is prepared over the course of a few days with repeated refrigeration and cooking to enhance the flavor. 

C-
Polish Soups  

You can’t talk about traditional Polish food without mentioning Polish soups. 

The middle meal (obiad) in Poland used to consist of two dishes: pierwsze danie and drugie danie. Soup was served first, followed by the main meal. Polish people today follow more Western eating traditions, but the traditional way of eating resulted in numerous soup recipes. 

Here are some that you should definitely try when you have a chance: 

  • Barszcz (“Borscht”) – a beetroot soup often served with small dumplings called uszka

  • Zupa pomidorowa (“Tomato soup”) – a soup made from tomatoes, often served with cream and rice

  • Zupa ogórkowa (“Cucumber soup”) – considered by some to be the best Polish food, made from sour cucumbers and served with potatoes

  • Rosół (“Polish chicken soup”) – a soup traditionally made with chicken broth and served with pasta (makaron) or small dumplings (uszka)

  • Żurek (“Polish barley soup”) – a soup made from fermented rye, often served with egg (jajko) and kiełbasa (Polish sausage)

[The Polish Soup Żurek

Are you keen to try any of these? You can ask around or search online for Polish cuisine restaurants in your area. If you’re unable to find any, you can try similar cuisines instead. Due to similarities between certain dishes, you can still get a close approximation of Polish food by eating in Russian or Ukrainian restaurants. 

I don’t have a Polish food store near me, but I still manage to find many ingredients in German shops (sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers) and many prepared dishes in Jewish shops (herring, gefilte fish, poppy seed roll). 

2. Unique Polish Food

There are certain dishes that feel uniquely Polish to a Pole, due to the traditions associated with them.

One such tradition is Fat Thursday. The last Thursday before Lent is a day when you can allow yourself to indulge in food. Many Polish people believe that eating a lot on this day will bring good luck for the whole year. The two most popular Fat Thursday delicacies are Polish donuts (pączki) and angel wings (faworki).

Pączki

Have a sweet tooth already? Here are some Polish cakes you should try: 

  • Sękacz – a layered cake with icing sugar; also known as spit cake because it’s made using a rotating spit
  • Szarlotka – a Polish apple pie, notable for its crust and cinnamon
  • Ciasto rabarbarowe – rhubarb cake

Another Polish dish worth mentioning is sałatka jarzynowa (vegetable salad). This is a popular Polish food for Easter or Christmas. The ingredients may vary depending on the region, but you can usually expect pickles, peas, carrots, apples, and loads of mayo in the mix.

3. Talking About Food in Polish

Our job at PolishPod101 is, first and foremost, to help you speak Polish. So now that you’re good and hungry for some authentic Polish cuisine, it’s time to learn some relevant Polish vocabulary. 

A- Describing Food 

Let’s start with some Polish words for describing flavor.

  • słodki (“sweet”)
  • gorzki (“bitter”)
  • kwaśny (“sour”)
  • słony (“salty”)
  • ostry (“spicy”)

You can also express your opinion about flavors by adding the word za (“too”). For example: za słodki (“too sweet”).

A Happy Person Eating

Here’s some vocabulary to express what you think about your meal: 

  • Pycha! (“Delicious!”)
  • Smaczne! (“Tasty!”)
  • Niebo w gębie! (“Delicious!” but literally, “Heaven in mouth!”)
  • niedogotowany (“undercooked”)
  • rozgotowany (“overcooked”)
  • niedobry (“not good”)

You can learn more useful food vocabulary on our list “What’s Your Favorite Polish Food?

B- Ordering Food

Already booking a table at your nearest Polish food restaurant? Below you’ll find some vocabulary to help you order food in Polish like a pro.

A Waiter Taking an Order

Here are some things that a waiter may say to you:

  • Co [mogę] podać? (“What would you like to order?”)
  • Co do picia? (“What would you like to drink?”)
  • A na deser? (“And for dessert?”)
  • Płatność [będzie] kartą, czy gotówką? (“Cash or card?”)
  • Płacicie państwo razem czy osobno? (“Are you paying separately or together?”)

Here are some words and expressions you can use for choosing your meal at a Polish restaurant:

  • Poproszę kotlet schabowy? (“Can I have a pork cutlet, please?”)

Poproszę is always followed by the accusative case, biernik

  • Czy macie Państwo piwo z nalewaka? (“Do you have draft beer?”)
  • Czy mogę zamówić to danie, ale bez cebuli? (“Can I order this dish but with no onion?”)
  • Co Pan/Pani poleca? (“What do you recommend, Sir/Ma’am?”)
  • Nie, dziękuję. (“No, thank you.”)
  • Tak, poproszę. (“Yes, thank you.”)

Visit our vocabulary list of Useful Phrases for Ordering Food to learn even more. 

C- Cooking Vocabulary

A Tomato being Chopped

Do you want to try all of the Polish food favorites we mentioned but are low on options? Don’t despair! Brush up on your Polish cooking vocabulary and find some easy Polish recipes online to recreate the experience yourself. Here’s a handful of expressions you’ll need: 

  • gotować (“to cook”)
  • piec (“to bake”)
  • smażyć (“to fry”)
  • mieszać (“to mix”)
  • kroić (“to cut”)
  • przyprawiać (“to spice”)
  • solić (“to salt”)
  • przypalić (“to burn”)
  • nalać (“to pour”)
  • probować (“to taste”)

Learn more vocabulary related to cooking with these lessons:

  1. Cooking
  2. Cooking in the Kitchen
  3. Home Cooking
  4. Cooking Related Actions

4. Easy Polish Food Recipes

We’ve prepared a few easy Polish food recipes for you to enjoy at home as soon as you finish reading this article.

 

A- Mizeria (Cucumber Salad)

A Sliced Cucumber

This Polish dish is super-easy to make. It’s often served in Polish households as a side dish.

You’ll need:

  • 2 long cucumbers (ogórki)
  • Pinch of salt (sól)
  • Pinch of sugar (cukier)
  • Lemon juice (sok z cytryny)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (śmietana)

1. Slice cucumbers thinly. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 5-10 minutes. Get rid of excess liquid. 

2. Mix salt and sugar with a splash of lemon juice and the sour cream in a different bowl. Pour it over the cucumbers. Chill before serving.

Note: Some people add dill and/or pepper to mizeria. You may want to experiment to find what works best for you. 

B- Zapiekanka (Polish Pizza Bread)

The Polish street food zapiekanki is probably the most popular. They’re cheap and delicious, and most importantly, you can make them at home.

You’ll need:

  • 1 baguette (bagietka) or different long white bread
  • 300g of cheese (ser), like cheddar or gouda 
  • Ketchup
  • Optional: mushrooms (grzyby

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Slice the baguette open. Depending on the length, you may want to divide the long pieces in two. 

2. Grate the cheese. Place the cheese on the bread. 

3. Place in the oven. Wait until the cheese melts and the bread gets crusty (approx. 5-10 minutes). 

4. Apply ketchup generously. You can also add fried mushrooms to cover the cheese before adding ketchup. 

C- Śledzik (Polish Herring)

This is the simplest recipe of the three. Look for roll-mops (or pickled herring in cream) in a store. Serve on a plate with pickled cucumbers as an appetizer.

Don’t forget to check out our video lesson Polish Recipes for Fluency!

5. Final Thoughts

A Polish Dish - Kotlet Schabowy

I hope that you’ve enjoyed our article about traditional Polish food. We’ve not only introduced you to the best Polish cuisine items, but we’ve also shown you that you can prepare authentic Polish food in your own home using easily available ingredients—even if there are no Polish stores or restaurants nearby. 

Have you ever tried Polish cuisine? Which Polish dishes have you tried already? Let us know in the comments!

Polish food can be an amazing incentive to learn the Polish language. Here’s a fun idea: You can give yourself a pączek (Polish donut) every week that you study Polish every day! 

Nevertheless, no matter how many Polish dishes you try, they won’t teach you the language. Fortunately, PolishPod101 is here to help you. Start your free trial today and get access to countless resources such as audio and video lessons featuring native speakers, themed vocabulary lists, and a word bank. 

Don’t drag your heels—join us today!

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A Brief Overview of Polish Grammar

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Studying grammar is an essential part of language learning. An overview of Polish grammar basics will certainly help you understand this complicated Slavic language better. After all, it’s much easier to memorize something when you understand it. 

Today, we’re going to help you familiarize yourself with the most important concepts of Polish grammar. You’ll discover special features of the Polish language that may not be present in your native language or other languages you know. If you were looking for a stepping stone to help you learn Polish grammar, you’ve found the place to be! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Verb Conjugation
  3. Declension
  4. Some Things Don’t Change
  5. Aspect: Perfective and Imperfective
  6. Final Thoughts

1. General Rules

Before we dive in, let’s go over a few basic Polish language grammar rules you should know as a beginner.

Notes

Word Order

The basic word order you’ll see in Polish is SVO. The subject comes first, followed by the verb and, if needed, an object. 

However, the word order in Polish is not fixed. The language allows for some flexibility, so don’t be surprised if you hear or see sentences that don’t follow this pattern. 

We have an entire article on the Polish word order if you want to learn more.

Parts of Speech

In Polish, the different parts of speech are categorized based on whether they undergo changes or remain fixed:

  • Verbs conjugate
  • Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, etc. decline and have number and gender
  • Adverbs are fixed

Students tend to struggle with those parts of speech that undergo changes, so pay special attention to this aspect of Polish language grammar!

Aspect and Tense

Another feature of the Polish language, which is also present in some other Slavic languages, is that verbs have perfective and imperfective aspects. Sounds weird? Don’t worry too much—English has grammatical aspects too, such as the progressive and perfect aspects. 

The good news about the Polish language is that it has only three tenses: the past, the present, and the future. What’s more, personal pronouns often get dropped in Polish. This is because the verb’s conjugation already shows this information.

2. Verb Conjugation   

Many languages have verb conjugations. What does this mean? 

Conjugation refers to how verb forms differ depending on the person and number. Have a look at some different forms of the Polish verb “to be” (być) in the examples below: 

  • Jestem w domu. (“I’m at home.”)
  • On jest z Polski. (“He’s from Poland.”)
  • Jesteście spontaniczni. (“You [plural] are spontaneous.”)

Yes, there are many verb conjugations in Polish. But they can be divided into four main groups to make learning them easier. 

To find out more about them, go to our article about verb conjugations. You can also use a tool, such as Cooljugator or a Polish grammar checker, to accelerate your progress. 

Another tip: Once you know the most popular conjugation patterns, always learn the first two forms of any new verb you pick up. In this manner, you’ll be able to predict the rest of the forms. 

Here are some of our verb lists that you can use to start studying:


3. Declension

A Studious Child

In Polish grammar, declension affects several parts of speech. This is an important topic to cover early on, as it’s one of the most challenging aspects of Polish grammar for foreigners. It requires learners to keep a few different things in mind at the same time. 

First of all, Polish has seven cases: 

1. Nominative (Mianownik)
2. Genitive (Dopełniacz)
3. Dative (Celownik)
4. Accusative (Biernik)
5. Instrumental (Narzędnik)
6. Locative (Miejscownik)
7. Vocative (Wołacz)

Each of these cases has its own set of declension rules that determine how a word changes within a sentence. These changes vary based on a word’s part of speech. In addition, changeable parts of speech have gender and number, adding another layer to the rules.

For now, have a look at the forms below to understand this concept better: 

  • moja mama (“my mother) – a feminine singular noun with the appropriate form of the pronoun mój / “my”
  • moje dzieci (“my children”) – a nonmasculine plural noun with the appropriate form of the pronoun mój / “my”

Now, have a look at the sentence below, where both the adjective and the noun are in the nominative case:

  • To jest pyszna herbata. (“This is a delicious tea.”)

If we make a sentence with the verb pić (“to drink”), it’ll require the accusative case:

  • Piję pyszną herbatę. (“I’m drinking a delicious tea.”)

The genitive case is required to make the sentence negative:

  • Nie piję pysznej herbaty. (“I’m not drinking a delicious tea.”)

The same set of sentences with the neuter noun piwo (“beer”) would look like this:

  • To jest pyszne piwo. (“This is a delicious beer.”)
  • Piję pyszne piwo. (“I’m drinking a delicious beer.”)
  • Nie piję pysznego piwa. (“I’m not drinking a delicious beer.”)

This looks complicated, but it can definitely be mastered. 

The key to understanding Polish grammar is to learn when each case is used and which endings are applied for each case. Learning concepts like these is best done through a mixture of grammar study and lots of exposure to the language. Have a look at our Painless Polish Grammar lesson for a head start!

4. Some Things Don’t Change

Some parts of speech in Polish (most notably, adverbs) remain unchanged. This makes your job as a language learner a tad easier. 

But how can you tell which part of speech a word is? There are many ways to tell.

For example, you can look at the endings: 

Adverbs

  • szybko (“quickly”)
  • wolno (“slowly”)
  • zdrowo (“healthily”)

Adjectives

  • nudny/nudna/nudne (“boring”)
  • czerwony/czerwona/czerwone (“red”)
  • kolorowy/kolorowa/kolorowe (“colorful”)

Nouns

  • człowiek (“human”)
  • pies (“dog”)
  • kobieta (“woman”)

Verbs

  • czyt (“to read”)
  • pis (“to write”)
  • bieg (“to run”)

As you can see, different parts of speech look different. There are always exceptions, but how a word looks is a good indicator of what it is.

A Smiling Student

Another way to tell is by looking at the sentence structure. As we mentioned earlier, Polish has a relatively flexible sentence structure. However, there are some rules: 

  • The verb usually precedes the object.
    • Anna je kolacje. (“Anna’s eating dinner.”)

  • The adjective comes before the noun.
    • Czytam ciekawą książkę. (“I’m reading an interesting book.”)
  • Pronouns go before adjectives and nouns.
    • Moja inteligentna córka uczy się świetnie. (“My intelligent daughter does great at school.”)

Of course, the best way to learn the parts of speech is to memorize enough vocabulary. Speaking of, have you had a look at our vocabulary lists yet?

A Stack of Books

5. Aspect: Perfective and Imperfective 

As we mentioned earlier, Polish has only three tenses. But in Polish grammar, verbs also conjugate based on an additional component: aspect. It focuses on the completion of an action, which is why we have two kinds of verbs: perfective (dokonany) and imperfective (niedokonany). 

Perfective verbs mark the completion of an action. Here are a few examples of such verbs in sentences: 

  • Zjem obiad. (“I’ll eat lunch.”)
  • Zrobiłam zakupy. (“I’ve done shopping.”)
  • Adam do mnie zadzwonił. (“Adam has called me.”)

Compare them with their imperfective counterparts:

  • Jem obiad. (“I’m eating lunch.”)
  • Robiłam zakupy. (“I was shopping.”)
  • Adam do mnie dzwonił. (“Adam has been calling me.”)

The Word Verb on the Blue Screen

To make sure you know Polish verbs well, it’s good to learn perfective and imperfective verbs together. That way, you’ll be sure that you can express yourself regardless of what you’re trying to say.

6. Final Thoughts

We hope that this Polish grammar overview has deepened your understanding of the basic Polish grammar concepts. You can now start building on this basic knowledge to accelerate your Polish learning.

Are any features of Polish grammar similar to those of your native language? What’s different? Let us know in the comments section. We love hearing from you!

While understanding Polish grammar is certainly important, there are more steps you need to take to improve your language skills. To truly learn the language, you need a well-designed action plan. Fortunately, you can get exactly that with PolishPod101. 

On our platform, you’ll find lesson recordings by native speakers, flashcards, vocabulary lists, a Polish dictionary, and much more. All of our materials are designed to help you speak Polish with confidence and understand the language better. 

Start your free trial today and find out for yourself how amazing our website is!

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Polish Quotes for Every Occasion

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When you’re seeking life advice, where better to turn than to the words of those you respect and admire? 

In today’s world, quoting famous people is more popular than ever. From the musings of our favorite celebrities and authors to the life advice from some of the world’s greatest thinkers and visionaries, there’s no shortage of wise words to reflect upon and apply to our lives.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the most popular Polish quotes. We’ve included quotes that are native to Polish, as well as several quotes from other languages that have been translated into Polish. 

In learning these quotes in the Polish language, you’ll gain more cultural insight into how Poles view the world, pick up on certain elements of the language, and ultimately gain access to more wisdom than would normally be available to you. 

Ready to learn Polish quotes for every occasion? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Uplifting Quotes
  2. Quotes About Love
  3. Quotes About Family
  4. Quotes About Success
  5. Quotes About Language Learning
  6. The Best Polish Quotes
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Uplifting Quotes

A Blue Butterfly

We all need a pep talk sometimes, and that’s where uplifting quotes come into play. Below, you’ll find a number of Polish quotes about life and other quotes that translate well into Polish.


Co nas nie zabije, to nas wzmocni. 

In English: “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

This is a phrase you’ve certainly heard many times before. But you may not know that the author of this saying is Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher. This quote is so popular that the Polish version has made its way into everyday life in Poland. 

Proście, a będzie wam dane, szukajcie, a znajdziecie.

In English: “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find.”

The Polish language also makes use of many quotes from the Bible, with this one being quite common. In Polish, we often use only the second half of the saying: Szukajcie, a znajdziecie.

Ważne, że żyjesz w zgodzie ze sobą, nikogo nie udajesz i przed niczym nie uciekasz. Kiedy jesteś świadomie sobą i kochasz ten stan – jesteś szczęśliwy.

In English: “It’s important to live according to what you feel is right, without pretending you’re somebody else and running away from something. When you live like this and you enjoy it, that’s when you’re happy.”

Many popular Polish quotes about life are from famous Polish people and celebrities. This quote is from the well-known Polish traveler, Beata Pawlikowska. 

Przyszłość zaczyna się dzisiaj, nie jutro.

In English: “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

Many Poles are Catholic and they hold the late Polish pope, John Paul II, in high esteem. As such, many of his quotes and sayings are commonly used in the country. 

Bądź zmianą, którą chcesz ujrzeć w świecie.

In English: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Of course, Polish people also know and use famous quotes from globally recognized moral authorities, such as Gandhi.

2. Quotes About Love

A Man Carrying His Girlfriend Near a Waterfall

Polish love quotes can be both beautiful and practical. Who hasn’t been madly in love with someone, suffered from a breakup, or had a disagreement with a loved one? It’s amazing what the right words at the right time can do to heal your heart or bring you back down to earth!

We hope that the following quotes in Polish about love give you hope and bring a smile back to your face. 


Kto nie ma szczęścia w kartach, ten ma szczęście w miłości. 

In English: “Who is not lucky at cards is lucky in love.” / “Lucky at cards, unlucky in love.”

This is one of the most popular sayings about love in Polish.

Pierwsze westchnienie miłości to ostatnie westchnienie rozumu!

In English: “The first breath of love is the last breath of reason.”

Here’s another light quote on love. It’s from the famous Polish children’s book author, Kornel Makuszyński.

Lepiej być samemu, niż z niewłaściwą osobą.

In English: “It’s better to be single than with the wrong person.”

This quote is often used in response to someone complaining about their single status! 

3. Quotes About Family

A Happy Family

Family is a cornerstone of any society, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of family quotes in Polish! Here, we’ll outline just a few of them for you.


Rodzina to nie krew. To ludzie, którzy cię kochają. Ludzie, którzy cię wspierają.

In English: “Family isn’t blood. It’s the people who love you. The people who have your back.”

Just because someone is related to you by blood doesn’t mean they’ll always be there for you. Rather, family consists of those people you can always count on and who truly care for you.

Wszystkie szczęśliwe rodziny są do siebie podobne. Każda nieszczęśliwa rodzina jest nieszczęśliwa na swój sposób.

In English: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This quote from Leo Tolstoy means that a happy family is one in which every aspect of the relationship is fulfilled. On the other hand, a family could be unhappy for any number of reasons.

4. Quotes About Success

People Who Have Completed a Hike

Quotes about success can be helpful in finding motivation and pushing your life in a good direction. Famous people understandably know a lot about how to get where you want to be. Here are some motivational quotes in Polish to give you a nudge in the right direction.

Chodzi o to, żeby strzelić jedną bramkę więcej od przeciwnika.

In English: “What it’s all about is scoring one more goal than your opponent.”

Well-known Polish poet Roman Gorzelski thought that succeeding shouldn’t become an obsession; rather, one should take a more practical approach to getting ahead.

Sukces: coś, czego przyjaciele nigdy ci nie wybaczą.

In English: “Success is something that your friends will never forgive you for.”

Another famous Polish poet, Julian Tuwin, warns us to be careful when wishing for success.

Kogo szczęście wyniesie, niech się upaść boi.

In English: “Who’s elevated by luck, should be scared of falling down.”

Polish writer and poet Mikołaj Rej gives us yet another warning about striving for success. Never get too comfortable with your status, because you could lose it in a moment if you’re not diligent!

Zwyciężają ci, co najwięcej mają odwagi dla siebie i od siebie żądać.

In English: “Winners are those who have the courage to have expectations towards themselves.”

Now that we have the warnings out of the way, let’s look at a couple of inspirational Polish quotes, starting with these words from the Polish philosopher and writer Stanisław Leopold Brzozowski.

Człowiek sukcesu to taki, który jest w stanie stworzyć solidne fundamenty z cegieł, które inni rzucili w niego.

In English: “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

Let’s end this section with an uplifting quote by David Brinkley. This one happens to translate quite well into Polish. 

5. Quotes About Language Learning

PolishPod101 Logo

There are many quotes about learning languages that can encourage you to continue your language studies. In this section, we’ll look at some beautiful quotes in Polish that focus on the impact of language learning on one’s life. 


Nowy język, nowe życie.

In English: “A new language is a new life.”

This motivational quote is derived from a Persian proverb. When you learn another language, it opens up so many new doors and lets you see things from a new perspective.

Nie zrozumiesz jednego języka, dopóki nie zrozumiesz co najmniej dwóch.

In English: “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”

This quote means that understanding a second language allows you to better understand your own language. Learning your native tongue is something you’re forced to do, and once you’ve learned it, you never really have to think much about it. But when you study a second language, it makes you think hard about the different elements of language itself.

Granice mojego języka oznaczają granice mojego świata.

In English: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

We can experience the world in a completely different way when we know another language. Just imagine visiting Warsaw or Krakow and being able to speak with the locals in their native language. It’d completely change your travel experience and the way people react to you. 

Jeśli rozmawiasz z człowiekiem w języku, który rozumie, trafia to do jego głowy. Jeśli rozmawiasz z nim w jego ojczystym języku, trafia to do jego serca.

In English: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

Here, Nelson Mandela is saying that while it’s possible to communicate effectively in a common language, speaking with someone in their own language will leave a great impression on them. 

Dobrym lekarstwem na ignorancję…jest znajomość języków. 

In English: “The great remedy for ignorance…is a knowledge of languages.”

If someone ever questions your motivation or reasons for learning Polish, you can always reply with this quote from Saint Augustine. Learning a language can give you a broader perspective of the world, thus eliminating your ignorance of other cultures or topics.

6. The Best Polish Quotes

A Polish Flag

Now you know what benefits to expect from learning another language. But what can learning Polish offer you that other languages can’t? Full access to Polish culture! 

Here are some of the greatest Polish quotes to give you just a sample of what I’m talking about.

Lepiej zaliczać się do niektórych, niż do wszystkich. 

In English: “It’s better to be among some than everyone.”

This quote comes from the first part of the famous fantasy saga about Geralt of Rivia called The Witcher (Wiedźmin). Created by Andrzej Sapkowski in the nineties, the saga was turned into a series of extremely popular computer games and a Netflix series.  

Miej serce i patrzaj w serce

In English: “Have a heart and consult your heart.”

This is a quote from one of the most famous (and probably most disliked by Polish school children) writer Adam Mickiewicz, who was prominent in the Romantic Era.

Mickiewicz wasn’t around long enough to qualify for a Nobel Prize in literature, but there have been a number of Polish authors who’ve obtained it. In fact, the next quote comes from the recent Nobel Prize winner, Olga Tokarczuk.

Najlepiej rozmawia się samemu ze sobą. Przynajmniej nie dochodzi do nieporozumień. 

In English: “It’s best to talk to oneself, that way you can avoid misunderstandings.”

Żadna legenda nie bierze się z próżni.

In English: “No legend emerges from a vacuum.”

Here’s a quote from Jakub Żulczyk, a member of the new generation of Polish writers.

    → Remember to brush up on your vocabulary before heading to a Polish bookstore. Start with easy Polish books and continue with more challenging reads as your language skills progress.

Jak kochać to księcia, jak kraść to miliony. 

In English: “If you fall in love, fall in love with a prince. If you steal, steal millions.”

Here’s a universal quote from the Polish romantic comedy Nigdy w życiu (“Never Ever”).

Learning Polish opens up the world of Polish cinema to you. Polish movies are full of quotes like this one, which are commonly used in the Polish language and often referenced in conversations. To understand many of them, you need to watch certain movies, and to watch these movies…you need to speak Polish. 

7. Final Thoughts

Today, you’ve learned some inspirational Polish quotes that can help you find some motivation or a solution to your problems. Which quote is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. 

Becoming fluent in Polish would, of course, give you access to much more than just these famous Polish quotes and quotes translated into Polish. 

Start your free trial with PolishPod101 today to begin your journey toward Polish fluency. With us, you’ll get access to countless recordings by native speakers, hundreds of lessons, and numerous vocabulary lists. 

Happy learning, and stay safe out there!

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Essential Business Phrases in Polish

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Many people start learning Polish because they want to live and work in Poland. However, even if this is not your goal, knowing essential business phrases in Polish can help you impress your international clients and broaden your career horizons.

The Polish business phrases included in this article will help you nail a job interview in Polish, interact with coworkers, and find your feet in many other business situations. Let’s boost your business Polish skills together!

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  1. Nailing a Job Interview
  2. Interacting with Coworkers
  3. Sounding Smart in Meetings
  4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Going on a Business Trip
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

Are you preparing for a job interview in Poland or with a company that requires you to speak Polish? No problem! With these key business phrases in Polish, you’ll nail your job interview and impress your potential employer.

A- First Things First – Introductions

Introducing yourself is the most important part of your job interview, because first impressions last. You can win the hearts of your interviewers from the very beginning with a confident self-introduction. 

  • Nazywam się ___. (“My name is ___.”)

Here, you can simply state your name and surname. There are many other ways of introducing yourself in Polish, which you can read about in our article on Polish introductions.

Seeing that it’s a job interview, your interviewers would also like to hear about your education and work experience. Tell them about it with the following phrases. Note that for the first two phrases, the first one is for a male speaker and the second one is for a female speaker. 

  • Ukończyłem [faculty] na [name of the educational institution]. (“I’ve graduated from [faculty] at [name of the educational institution].”)
  • Ukończyłam [faculty] na [name of the educational institution]. (“I’ve graduated from [faculty] at [name of the educational institution].”)
  • Mam ___ lat/a doświadczenia. (“I have ___ years of experience.”) 

B- Talking About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

A Man with a Giant Behind Him

Your interviewers want to know you better, so, when prompted, tell them about your strengths and weaknesses. 

  • Moje największe zalety to ___. (“My biggest advantages are ___.”)
  • Umiem współpracować w zespole. (“I’m a good team player.”)
  • Jestem niezależny. (“I’m an independent worker.”) – male speaker
  • Jestem niezależna. (“I’m an independent worker.”) – female speaker
  • Moje największe osiągnięcie to ___. (“My biggest achievement is ___.”)
  • Moje największe wady to ___. (“My biggest disadvantages are ___.”)

Remember to be strategic when talking about your weaknesses. If you’re not sure how to do so, check out this article from Forbes on how to discuss your weaknesses during an interview.

C- Other Useful Phrases

There’s also a handful of other professional Polish phrases you can use throughout the interview. 

  • Chciałbym pracować dla Państwa firmy, ponieważ ___. (“I’d like to work for your company because ___.”) – male speaker
  • Chciałabym pracować dla Państwa firmy, ponieważ ___. (“I’d like to work for your company because ___.”) – female speaker
  • Przepraszam, czy może Pan/Pani powtórzyć pytanie? (“Excuse me, could you repeat the question Sir/Madam?”)
  • Dziękuję za zaproszenie na tę rozmowę. (“Thank you for inviting me for this interview.”)

If you still feel like you need more help for your Polish job interview, remember to check out our lesson “A Polish Job Interview” for even more tips. For general advice, The Guardian has a great article on how to shine during your interview.

2. Interacting with Coworkers

A Team in An Office

So, you’ve managed to land a job in a Polish company or a Polish speaking environment? Well done! We hope our interview tips helped you land your dream job.

Now it’s time for the real test: interacting with your coworkers. Don’t worry, though! With these key business phrases in Polish, you’ll be able to form connections with no problems at all. 

A- Introduce Yourself…Again

Introducing yourself to new coworkers is slightly different from doing so for a job interview. Here’s how to give a self-introduction in a neat and professional manner: 

  • Cześć! Jestem ___ i będę tu pracować jako ___! (“Hi! My name is ___ and I’m going to work here as ___.”)

Polish workplaces differ in terms of formality, so remember to pay attention to how people address one another. Keep in mind the “better safe than sorry” rule. 

B- When You Need Help 

Here are some useful expressions for when you need some help in your new workplace or when you need to apologize for something.

  • Przepraszam, jestem tu nowy. Możesz mi powiedzieć, gdzie jest [place]? (“I’m new here. Could you tell me where to find [place]?”) – male speaker
  • Przepraszam, jestem tu nowa. Możesz mi powiedzieć, gdzie jest [place]? (“I’m new here. Could you tell me where to find [place]?”) – female speaker
  • Przepraszam, czy możesz mi z tym pomóc? (“Excuse me, can you help me with this?”)
  • Dzięki za pomoc! (“Thanks for helping me!”)

A more formal alternative to the phrase above would be: Dziękuje za pomoc!

  • Przepraszam za spóźnienie. (“I’m sorry for being late.”)
  • Przepraszam, nie rozumiem. (“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”)

For more-specific phrases to use when asking for help in a difficult business situation, visit our lesson on this topic. 

C- Making Friends

It’s always easier to work in a place where you get along well with people, which is why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of making friends. When doing business in Poland, an easy way to make someone look at you more kindly is to give them a compliment. For example, this is something you could say to someone whose hairstyle you like: 

  • Super fryzura! (“Cool haircut!”)

To learn Polish compliments for every occasion, go to our article on giving compliments in Polish. If you’re not convinced that giving compliments can be a successful technique for making friends, Express has some more insight for you

You can also initiate interactions with someone outside of work by asking:

  • Może wyskoczymy na kawę? (“Should we grab a coffee?”)
  • Chcesz zjeść razem lunch? (“Do you want to eat lunch together?”)
  • Wyskoczymy na piwo po pracy? (“How about a beer after work?”)
Business Phrases

3. Sounding Smart in Meetings

In order to stand out in a workplace, you need to sound smart. Check out the Polish business phrases below to learn how to do that. 

A- Taking Initiative and Expressing Opinions

Here are some handy expressions for when you want to share your thoughts on something that’s been said: 

  • Chciałbym zaprezentować wam mój nowy pomysł. (“I’d like to tell you about my new idea.”) – male speaker
  • Chciałabym zaprezentować wam mój nowy pomysł. (“I’d like to tell you about my new idea.”) – female speaker
  • Jeśli mogę dodać coś od siebie? (“Could I make a suggestion?”)

Need more? You can find more vocabulary for making a suggestion in Polish on our website.  

If you disagree with someone, you could also use one of these Polish business phrases to soften the blow of your criticism. 

  • Nie uważasz, że lepiej byłoby ___? (“Don’t you think that it would be better to ___?”)
  • Wiem, co masz na myśli, ale nie do końca się z Tobą zgadzam. (“I know what you mean, but I don’t fully agree with you.”)

When you agree with someone, simply say: 

  • Zgadzam się Tobą w pełni. (“I fully agree with you.”)

B- Reporting on Progress

When you’re given a specific task, you may be asked by your manager or coworkers to report on your progress. Here’s how you can do this: 

  • Wszystko idzie zgodnie z planem. (“Everything is going according to plan.”)
  • Na pewno skończę przed deadlinem. (“I’ll be finished before the deadline, for sure.”)
  • Powinienem mieć wszystko gotowe na [day of the week]. (“I should have everything ready on [day of the week].”) – male speaker
  • Powinnam mieć wszystko gotowe na [day of the week]. (“I should have everything ready on [day of the week].”) – female speaker

Sometimes, unforeseeable situations happen and you can’t complete a task as planned. Here’s how to let others know that you’ve encountered a problem or need more time:

  • Mamy problem. (“We have a problem.”)
  • Nie zdążę na czas. (“I won’t make it on time.”)
  • Potrzebuję więcej czasu. (“I need more time.”)

Are you feeling nervous about requesting a deadline extension at work? Indeed has some practical tricks and strategies!

4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails 

Answering phone calls and responding to emails are important skills in any business. In this section, we’ll provide you with some useful Polish for business phone calls and emails.

A- Answering Business Calls in Polish  

A Woman on the Phone in the Office

Here are some useful business Polish phrases that you can use during a business call.

  • Dzień dobry, mówi ___. W czym mogę pomóc? (“Hello, it’s ___ speaking. How may I help you?”)

Instead of dzień dobry, you can also say Halo? (“Hello?”) or Słucham? (literally: “I’m listening,” but translates to “Hello?”)

  • Niestety nie ma jej/go. Czy mogę coś przekazać? (“Unfortunately, she/he isn’t in. Can I take a message?”)

The phrase above is perfect for when someone is trying to reach your colleague who’s currently not in.

To say goodbye, simply repeat these words:

  • [Dziękuję,] do usłyszenia! (“[Thank you,] I’ll chat with you soon!”)

B- Sending Business Emails 

Depending on the required formality, there are various Polish business phrases you can use for work emails. It’s up to you to figure out what kind of relationship your company prefers. 

Below, you can find common ways to start a business email in Polish. We’ll list them from the least formal to the most formal: 

  • Cześć! (“Hi!”) 
  • Cześć + [name]! (“Hi + [name]!”)

These first two phrases are only acceptable if this is how you address that person in real life, too. 

  • Witam (“Hello”) 
  • Witam + [name] (“Hello + [name]”)
  • Dzień Dobry (“Good morning”)
  • Dzień Dobry + [name] (“Good morning + [name]”)
  • Szanowny Panie / Szanowna Pani (“Dear Sir” / “Dear Madam”)
  • Szanowny Panie / Szanowna Pani + [name] (“Dear Sir + [name]” / “Dear Madam + [name]”)

Note that all of the phrases above are followed by a comma. 

A business email should also be concluded professionally with one of the phrases below: 

  • Serdecznie pozdrawiam, (“Warm Regards,”)
  • Pozdrawiam, (“Regards,”)
  • Z poważaniem, (literally: “With respect,” but translated to “Yours Faithfully,”)

We hope these Polish business phrases will be useful in your correspondence! 

5. Going on a Business Trip

People in Suits Traveling

Going on a business trip in Poland for the first time can be very exciting. You’ll need a number of business phrases in Polish to get around, though!

A- Reservations

Some people are lucky enough to have someone who organizes booking for them. Others need to do this themselves. To book a hotel or purchase a ticket, you should say: 

Chciałbym/Chciałabym zarezerwować pokój… (“I’d like to book a room…”)

                                                            …dla jednej osoby (“for one person”)

                                                            …na dwa tygodnie (“for two weeks”)

                                                            …z wyżywieniem (“with food”)

Chciałbym/Chciałabym zarezerwować bilet… (“I’d like to buy a ticket…”)

                                                            …na jutro (“…for tomorrow”)

                                                            …w klasie biznesowej (“…in a business class”)

                                                            …tam i z powrotem (“…return”)

B- Greetings and Wrapping Up 

When meeting people at the airport or in a hotel lobby during a business trip, the phrase to use is: 

  • Przepraszam, czy to Pan/Pani [name]? (“Excuse me, are you [name]?”)

When you present your Polish company to clients, this lesson from PolishPod101 may come in handy. You should also let people know that there’s no need to rush to a decision by saying: 

  • Nie ma pośpiechu. (“There’s no rush.”)
  • Proszę spokojnie przemyśleć tę decyzję. (“Take your time to arrive at a decision.”)

Remember to remain polite during your business dealings on the trip. Thank your clients or business partners with Polish business phrases like these: 

  • Dziękuję za zaproszenie. (“Thank you for the invitation.”)
  • Dziękuję za spotkanie. (“Thank you for the meeting.”)
  • Dziękuję za uwagę. (“Thank you for your attention.”)

The last expression can be used after a presentation or speech. For more tips on delivering a Polish business presentation, check out our relevant lesson.

A Man Giving a Presentation at Work

6. Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide to the key business phrases in Polish has helped you understand how to communicate in your new work environment. You’ve learned many skills today: how to nail a job interview, how to interact with coworkers, and how to sound smart during a meeting in Poland. Let us know in the comments which business Polish phrases are the most useful in your situation. 

We’ve tried to include the best Polish business phrases in this article, but our website has much more to offer. Would you like to learn how to make small talk in Poland or ask for time off? Start your free trial with PolishPod101 today to fully benefit from all of our resources (not only the business Polish vocabulary!). You can learn Polish for every occasion with us! 

Happy learning, and good luck with your business endeavors.

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Ostatki in Poland: Do-Nut Miss These Carnival Festivities!

A couple of years ago, we wrote about the famous Fat Thursday in Poland. But really, Fat Thursday only makes up a fraction of a larger holiday season: Ostatki. In this article, we’ll give you a more detailed look at the end-of-Carnival festivities in Poland, from Fat Thursday to the following Fat Tuesday. 

And yes, there are even more donuts involved. 😉

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1. What is Ostatki?

Three People Dressed Up in Carnival Masquerade Attire

The Polish celebration of Ostatki takes place during the final few days leading up to Środa Popielcowa (Ash Wednesday), which is the beginning of Lent. Because Lent is a forty-day post (fast) for practicing Catholics, the days of Ostatki are taken advantage of as a time to overeat, indulge, and just bawić się (have fun). That said, there is no official religion in Poland and the country is known for its secularism, despite having a large Catholic population. Even those not affiliated with the religion can—and do—participate whole-heartedly. 

Let’s clear the air on a topic of some confusion before diving in…

Fat Thursday vs. Fat Tuesday

Because these two holidays have such similar names, many people who are unfamiliar with the celebrations get the two confused. Both days are a part of Ostatki, and the traditions associated with them are very similar. 

Fat Thursday (often called Donut Day) marks the first day of Ostatki. The following week, Fat Tuesday (also called Shrove Tuesday or Śledzik) marks its final day. As you might imagine, these are the two most widely celebrated days of the Ostatki season. 

2. When is Ostatki This Year?

A Man with an Ash Cross on His Forehead Reading the Bible for Ash Wednesday

The dates of Ostatki change each year according to the dates of Lent and Easter. Here’s an overview of its start and end dates for the next ten years. 

  • 2021: February 11 – February 16
  • 2022: February 24 – March 1 
  • 2023: February 16 – February 21
  • 2024: February 8 – February 13
  • 2025: February 27 – March 4
  • 2026: February 12 – February 17
  • 2027: February 4 – February 9
  • 2028: February 24 – February 29
  • 2029: February 8 – February 13
  • 2030: February 28 – March 5

3. Ostatki: A Food-Lover’s Paradise

Several People Dressed in Masquerade Costumes

As mentioned, Ostatki begins on Fat Thursday and ends a few days later on Fat Tuesday. These two days have the most festive celebrations, though there are plenty of activities and much fun to be had in-between as well! 

Fat Thursday in Poland means one thing: donuts, and plenty of them! This is the first day of indulgence before the long period of Lenten wstrzemięźliwość (abstinence), so Poles make a point of enjoying their delightful pączki donuts while they still can. According to tradition, the donuts are not only a decadent treat to be savored, but also a way of warding off bad luck or ill fortune in the coming year. 

Starting from Fat Thursday, people all over Poland take advantage of the several days before Lent to really enjoy themselves. While most Poles still need to work or go to school on these days, it’s not uncommon for bosses, colleagues, teachers, or fellow students to bring pączki with them for others to enjoy. In addition to donuts, people tend to indulge in other fatty or sugary foods as well as alcohol. Another popular sweet on this day is angel wings

On Fat Tuesday, the celebrations reach their climax as this is the final day before Lent begins. Polish Shrove Tuesday traditions are similar to those of Fat Thursday, but in addition to gorging on donuts, many families enjoy a nice dinner together and celebrations outside the home are more lively. 

Throughout Ostatki, many Poles enjoy events such as maskarady (masquerades) and may even attend a bal (ball). Events like these are popular even outside of Poland, in regions that have large Polish communities. Those attending will be dressed up in costumes, usually masquerade-style, and will have the opportunity to eat lots of good traditional foods and alcoholic beverages. 

4. A Brief Pączki History 

Unsurprisingly, one of the most iconic Polish foods is also one that’s been around for quite a while. The Polish began making and consuming pączki in the Middle Ages as a way of using up any remaining perishables (such as butter and eggs) before the Lent fast. In fact, Ostatki translates to “leftovers,” referring to the use of leftover food items. 

Do you know the origin of your favorite sweet treat? 

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ostatki in Poland

Traditional Polish Floral Pattern

Here are a few words and phrases you should know before your first Ostatki celebration! 

  • Karnawał (Carnival) – noun, masculine
  • Środa Popielcowa (Ash Wednesday) – proper noun, feminine
  • Wstrzemięźliwość (Abstinence) – noun, feminine
  • Bawić się (Have fun) – verb
  • Śledzik (Shrove Tuesday) – proper noun, masculine
  • Huczny (Rollicking) – adjective
  • Radość (Joy) – noun, feminine
  • Post (Fast) – noun, maculine
  • Maskarada (Masquerade) – noun, feminine
  • Kultura ludowa (Folk culture) – proper noun, feminine
  • Bal (Ball) – noun, masculine

If you want to practice your pronunciation, you can also visit our Ostatki vocabulary list which has audio recordings of each word’s pronunciation for you to practice along with. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a wicked sweet tooth, a penchant for alcohol consumption, or are simply enthralled with Polish culture, Ostatki is a can’t-miss event. We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new to motivate your further studies! 

If you would like to visit Poland in the near future or dive deeper into the culture for the sake of your language studies, you can visit the following pages on PolishPod101.com:

If you’re serious about your Polish studies and would like a fun yet effective approach to maximize your efforts, create your free lifetime account on PolishPod101.com today. We provide numerous audio and video lessons on a range of topics for learners at every level, in addition to free vocabulary lists, a Polish-English dictionary, and spaced repetition flashcards. Better still, you’ll always have the support of our native Polish-speaking teachers and your fellow students. 

Happy learning from the PolishPod101 team! Enjoy a donut for us. 😉

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Learn Polish: YouTube Channels to Improve Your Skills

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Studying a second language can be a rewarding experience, but we know that the learning process can be downright boring at times! 

Textbooks, audio lessons, and flashcards are all excellent methods for studying a language. But did you know that as you learn Polish, YouTube can be a great supplementary resource?

The only problem is that if you search for Polish YouTube channels, you’re going to find a wide variety of them, each one promising to help you learn Polish in no time. But not all of them are valuable, and no one YouTube channel can replace a structured course of study.

On PolishPod101.com, you can go through a tailor-made study path that will help you make fast progress by covering the most important topics. In addition to the countless lessons available on the platform, we also run a YouTube channel to give you even more opportunities to improve your Polish skills. 

The PolishPod101 YouTube channel offers you specific advice on topics that many learners struggle with. Because our hosts are native Polish speakers, watching our videos will give you even more exposure to how the language is spoken in real life. Simply put, it’s the perfect complement to our platform. 

We know that our resources are amazing, but if you want to speed up your progress even more, you can add additional channels to your learning curriculum. 

Before you start with our list of the top Polish YouTube channels for learners, remember to check out our Polish word list “Talking About YouTube.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polski z Anią
  2. Smerfy • Po Polsku
  3. Foreigners in Poland
  4. Chido-Fajny
  5. Audycje Radiowe
  6. Arlena Witt
  7. Mówiąc Inaczej
  8. Koreanka
  9. The PolishPod101 YouTube Channel
  10. Final Thoughts

1. Polski z Anią

A Teacher with a Whiteboard

Polski z Anią is one of the best YouTube channels for learning Polish. It’s run by Ania, an assistant professor at the Polonicum Centre of Polish Language and Culture for Foreigners. She explains Polish grammar in plain language that’s easy to understand, and her explanation of cases is spot-on. She has already helped many YouTube users.

Ania speaks Polish clearly and there are English subtitles for people who don’t speak Polish very well yet. There are two seasons available so far, with insightful explanations that cover many different levels while remaining relevant for learners at any level.


2. Smerfy • Po Polsku


A Comic/cartoon Related Image

Category: Cartoon
Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Children from all around the world adore the Smurfs. Like in many cartoons, the stories presented are easy to follow, which makes them a great tool for language learning. In the Polish version of this beloved cartoon, the Smurfs speak slowly and their elocution leaves nothing to be desired. 

There’s not much talking in most episodes and the focus is on the action. This means that learners can enjoy a lot of the story from the context, and then easily rewind to listen to particular phrases. The Smurfs also use everyday vocabulary, which is great for emerging Polish speakers. Are you ready to be a kid again? Smerfastycznie! (“Smurftastic!”)

By the way, did you know that children in Poland have their own special holiday? Click on the link to find out all you need to know about Children’s Day.


3. Foreigners in Poland


A Polish Flag in a Speech Bubble

Category: Language Learning
Level: Any

Unfortunately, this channel is no longer active. It has a small collection of videos with Polish vocabulary for everyday situations. You can learn Polish food vocabulary, expressions for ordering in a restaurant, how to ask for directions, and other useful things. 

This channel is appropriate for learners at any level, as the hosts mainly speak in English; when Polish is spoken, there are subtitles in both Polish and English.


4. Chido-Fajny


Polish Food

Category: A Foreigner Living in Poland
Level: Any

Chido-Fajny’s channel includes many videos to help learners with the Polish language, some of which cover more specific topics such as the differences between Spanish or Polish and specific language learning tools. You can find these videos on his playlists entitled “Learn Polish” and “Aprende Polaco.”

This Polish language YouTube channel is more than just another language learning resource. There are also many funny videos with foreigners trying to pronounce challenging Polish words, as well as videos about places in Poland and Polish traditions. Most videos are available in English, but there are also some recorded in Spanish. If you’re interested in Polish food in particular, remember to check out our lesson 10 Polish Foods.


5. Audycje Radiowe


Radio

Category: Polish History and Culture
Level: Intermediate – Advanced

If you’re looking to learn Polish on YouTube, but none of the other channels on this list seem challenging enough, such gems as Audycje Radiowe (“Radio Auditions”) will be invaluable to you. 

This channel features many great recordings from the Polish radio, and is great for language learners as they can play and stop the videos as needed (which one can’t do when an audition is being broadcast on the radio). 

Learners can not only work on their Polish skills, but also improve their understanding of Polish history and culture. The playlist “Sensacje XX wieku” is particularly good for language learning, as it has links to transcripts. Reading along with the material you’re listening to can greatly improve your comprehension, and it makes working with the recorded material much easier. 

Are you a history buff? You can learn even more about Polish history in our lesson Learn Your Polish History

6. Arlena Witt


A Person Writing English Sentences on the Blackboard

Category: Language Learning
Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Arlena Witt teaches Polish people English…but we still consider this one of the top channels for learning Polish on YouTube. Each video is recorded in Polish and has Polish subtitles, so intermediate level learners should be able to follow what she’s saying. She speaks relatively fast, but clearly. 

How can this channel help you learn Polish? By exposing you to the Polish language and giving you Polish equivalents of English terms. Additionally, she gives general language learning tips that are useful regardless of the language you’re trying to learn.


7. Mówiąc Inaczej


YouTube Button

Category: Language Learning
Level: Intermediate – Advanced

This is one of the most common YouTube channels to learn Polish, used by…Polish people! Even native speakers have things left to learn in their own language. Just think how many native English speakers don’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”!

Paulina helps people improve their Polish when it comes to common problems in this language. The issues that native speakers encounter are common among language learners, too. In other words, there’s plenty for you to learn from this channel.

These are some of the more challenging Polish lessons YouTube has to offer, since they’re designed for native speakers. The channel is almost entirely in Polish and there are no subtitles. If you’re at the intermediate level and like challenges, it’s worth giving it a go.


8. Koreanka


A Woman Smiling with a Korean Flag in Her Hand

Category: A Foreigner Living in Poland
Level: Intermediate

Do you want to learn real Polish with YouTube, from a foreigner’s perspective? Koreanka (“Korean woman”) lives in Poland, her channel is recorded in Polish, and she often invites other foreigners as guests. She records videos about her life in Poland, everything Polish, and her Korean roots. There are subtitles for those who need them.

This isn’t your typical Polish language YouTube channel, but it can serve as great encouragement for you. What could be more inspirational than hearing a foreigner speak fluent Polish?


9. The PolishPod101 YouTube Channel


PolishPod101 Logo

Category: Language Learning
Level: Any

Learn Polish with PolishPod101.com

YouTube offers countless opportunities for Polish learners, as you’ve seen. But there’s nothing better for truly learning a language than a well-structured course like the ones offered by PolishPod101. Our YouTube channel goes hand in hand with our website.

If you’re enjoying our audio content, you’re going to love the PolishPod101 YouTube channel. There, you’ll find even more useful tips on learning Polish and lots of handy vocabulary. What’s more? You can count on extended listening comprehension practice and informative videos about Polish culture. Check it out!


10. Final Thoughts

We hope that our guide to the top Polish YouTube channels for learners has been useful to you, and that you’ve found the best resources to take your Polish to the next level. Let us know in the comments which channel is your favorite! Or, tell us why the PolishPod101 YouTube channel is your favorite. 

Learning a language is an amazing journey that’s much easier with someone to help you. By joining a platform like PolishPod101, you get exactly that. Start your free trial today to enjoy hundreds of recordings from native speakers, vocabulary lists, and more. 

We hope to see you around!

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How to Say Goodbye in Polish in Every Situation

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Like saying hello, saying goodbye is an important part of being polite. These are the most basic skills you need to have a conversation in any language, so it’s crucial that you acquire them early on. 

In this article, we’ll tell you how to say goodbye in Polish in a variety of situations. For example, you’ll learn the best parting words for formal versus informal environments, how to see someone off at the airport, and how to end a phone conversation. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have the perfect Polish goodbye for any situation you find yourself in. Are you ready to get your Polish up to scratch? Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways of Saying Goodbye
  2. Specific Ways of Saying Goodbye in Polish
  3. Final Thoughts

1. The Most Common Ways of Saying Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

Before we look into the more specific ways of saying goodbye in Polish, let’s discuss the simplest ways to do so. Remember that you should address people differently depending on whether the situation is formal or informal. 

Formal verb forms use the third person singular and the words Pan (“Mister”) and Pani (“Ma’am”). For example, to ask “What’s your name?” in a formal manner, you would say: Jak ma Pan/Pani na imię? 

The informal verb forms use the second person singular. To ask “What’s your name?” in an informal manner, you would say: Jak masz na imię? 

So how do these rules apply to Polish goodbye phrases? Let’s find out!

A- Goodbye in Polish (Informal)

A Person Waving Goodbye

The most common informal way of saying bye in Polish is: Cześć! Note that this word is also used for saying hello. (If you want to learn more about this topic, you can check out our lesson “Saying Hello No Matter the Time of Day in Polish.”)

Cześć is very versatile, and you can use it to say goodbye when you’re leaving any informal situation. We also use a variation: No to cześć!

Both Cześć! and No to cześć! are used with either the nominative case (mianownik) or the vocative case (wołacz):

  • Cześć, Ania! – “Bye, Ania!” (nominative, mianownik)
  • Cześć, Aniu! – “Bye, Ania!” (vocative, wołacz)

B- Goodbye in Polish (Formal)

The most common formal goodbye in Polish is: Do widzenia! This phrase is used in all kinds of formal situations, such as when you’re leaving a corner shop, post office, or doctor’s office. It’s often accompanied by Dziękuję! (“Thank you!“) if a service was provided:

  • Oto Pani/Pańska reszta. – “Here’s your change.” (to a man and a woman, respectively)
  • Dziękuję, do widzenia. – “Thank you. Goodbye!”

We can also say Dobranoc Panu/Pani to wish someone a good night’s rest. 

Practice your pronunciation of Do widzenia! whenever you can. Try to use this phrase in real life, even if the rest of your conversation is in English. Practice makes perfect!

2. Specific Ways of Saying Goodbye in Polish

There are many Polish language goodbyes that you can use in more specific situations. 

When you’re formal with someone, you simply don’t have certain conversations with them. This is why Do widzenia! is your go-to goodbye in formal contexts. 

Keep reading to find out how to say goodbye in Polish when the situation is informal! 

A- Alternative Ways to Say Bye in Polish

Apart from simply saying Cześć! when you’re leaving a group of friends, you can also say: 

  • Na razie!
  • Nara! 
  • Narka!

Each of the phrases above is equivalent to “Bye for now” in Polish. Here are a few more ways to say bye in Polish:

  • Pa pa!
  • Pa
  • No to pa!

Two People Air Kissing

Make sure to memorize these expressions, as they’re very often used when speaking informally. 

B- See You Later!

There are a couple of ways to say “See you” in Polish:

  • Do zobaczenia! 
  • Do zo! 

“See you later!” is Do zobaczenia później! You should only use this phrase, though, when you’re going to actually see that person later (for instance, later that day). In certain English-speaking countries, people say “See you later!” as a general farewell expression. But this is not a convention in Poland, and it’d confuse the person you say it to.

If you know when you’ll see that person next, you can say: 

  • Do zobaczenia jutro! (“See you tomorrow!”)
  • Do zobaczenia w/we [day of the week]! (“See you on [day of the week]!”) 
  • Do zobaczenia w poniedziałek! (“See you on Monday!”)
  • Do zobaczenia we wtorek! (“See you on Tuesday!”)

You can also use this sentence pattern with different times of day:

  • Do zobaczenia wieczorem! (“See you in the evening!”)
  • Do zobaczenia rano! (“See you in the morning!”)

As you can see, there are many ways to say goodbye in Polish. The more you study them, the more comfortable you’ll be having a conversation in Polish. 

C- Seeing Someone Off

How do you say goodbye in Polish when you’re taking someone to the airport or a train station, where they’re about to start a long journey? Of course, you say Do zobaczenia! But there are other things that you can add, such as:

  • Trzymaj się! (“Take care!”)
  • Uważaj na siebie! (“Be careful!”)
  • Szerokiej drogi! (“Have a good/safe trip!”) (Literally: “Have a wide road!”)
  • Napisz wiadomość jak dojedziesz! (“Text me a message when you arrive!”)
  • Zadzwoń jak dojedziesz! (“Call me when you arrive!”)
A Person with a Suitcase

Parents who are seeing their children off may say something like: 

  • Nie szalej! / Tylko bez szaleństw! (“Don’t go crazy!”)

D- When You Need to Excuse Yourself

Sometimes you need to leave the party before everyone else. Here are some phrases you can use to let your hosts know you have to get going

  • [Naprawdę] muszę lecieć! (“I [really] need to go!”)
  • Będę się zbierać. (“I’ll be off!”)
  • Niestety nie mogę dłużej zostać. (“Unfortunately, I can’t stay any longer.”)
  • Pora na mnie! (“It’s time for me to go.”) [Literally: “It’s time for me.”]

If you’ve bumped into someone you know on the street, but don’t have time for a conversation, you can say: 

  • Miło się gada, ale muszę lecieć! (“It’s nice chatting with you, but I have to go!”)
  • Miło się gada, ale jestem już spóźniony/spóźniona! (“It’s nice chatting with you, but I’m already late!”) [for a male and female, respectively]

E- Polish Goodbye Phrases for Phone Conversations

Politely ending a phone call in Polish is easy: 

  • Do usłyszenia! (“Chat soon!”) [Literally: “Until we hear one another again!”]
  • No to do usłyszenia! (“Chat soon, then!”) [Literally: “Until we hear one another again, then!”]

A Person Talking on the Phone, Looking at Her Watch

You can also add a specific time reference to let the other person know when you’ll talk with them again:

  • Do usłyszenia jutro! (“I’ll speak to you tomorrow!”)
  • Do usłyszenia w przyszłym tygodniu! (“I’ll speak to you next week!”)

Do you have a cell phone? Learn all you need to know about Polish manners on the phone with PolishPod101.com. 

F- Saying Goodbye in a Text Message

When you’re texting with someone and you’ve set an appointment to meet with them, you can use one of the expressions we’ve already covered in this article:

  • Do zobaczenia!
  • Do zobaczenia niedługo!
  • Do zo!

You’d probably agree that knowing how to text is an important skill in the modern world. Boost your Polish technology vocab with our lesson. 

G- Saying Goodbye to Someone Who’s Sick

When you bid farewell to someone who’s sick at home or at a hospital, it’s good manners to wish them good health. Here’s how you can do this in Polish: 

  • Wracaj do zdrowia! (“Get better soon!”) 
  • Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia! (“I’m wishing you a speedy recovery!”)
  • Mam nadzieję, że szybko wydobrzejesz. (“I hope you’ll get better soon.”)

To say goodbye, simply add one of the other phrases you’ve already learned, such as: Do zobaczenia!

Speaking of health, do you know how to talk about health concerns and explain your allergies in Polish? Also, if you’re moving to Poland, you may want to learn more about the Polish healthcare system.

Doctors with a Patient

H- Wishing Someone Good Luck

We all need a little luck sometimes, but there are life situations that call for it more than others. Such situations include taking an exam, going to a job interview, or performing in front of an audience. If you’re parting ways with someone who’s about to do something major, you can say:

  • Powodzenia! (“Good luck!”)
  • Połamania nóg! (“Break a leg!”)
  • Trzymam kciuki! (“Fingers crossed!”)

You’re likely to hear these phrases if you study or work in Poland. Some Polish people are superstitious, though, so not everyone is going to thank you for wishing them luck. It’s believed that doing so may actually bring bad luck. In this case, you may hear the reply: 

  • Nie dziękuję! (“I’m not thanking you.”)


A Person Who Got an A+

3. Final Thoughts

By now, you definitely have a better idea of how to say goodbye in Polish in a variety of contexts. 

Remember to use these expressions whenever you can. Even if it’s the only thing you’ll say in Polish during a conversation, it’s still better than speaking only in English! 

Which way of saying goodbye do you like the most? Let us know in the comments before you go. 

Saying goodbye is an important skill, but on its own, it’s not enough for a smooth conversation. To boost your Polish speaking and comprehension skills, get your free account with PolishPod101 today. 

Our website gives you access to countless language lessons and resources. Our recordings by native speakers will help you get the hang of Polish pronunciation in no time. You can also access your account whenever and wherever you want, thanks to our mobile apps. 

Would you like to know more about our teaching methods? Check out our lessons and methodology page to find out more. 

Happy Polish learning!

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Is Polish Hard to Learn? Find Out Now!

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If you’re thinking about learning Polish but haven’t started yet, it’s probably because you have a few questions: Why should you learn Polish in the first place? Is Polish hard to learn, and if so, is it really worth it? 

Well, there are many reasons you may want to learn Polish: traveling to Poland, a Polish partner, a Polish heritage, personal development, and the list goes on. You surely have your own reason for wanting to learn the language. The most important thing is to not let other people scare you with their negativity and the myths they share about the Polish language.  

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth review of what makes Polish hard to learn for some students, how to overcome those challenges, and what things about Polish are actually pretty easy. Let’s get started!

A Student Thinking Hard about Something

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Polish Table of Contents
  1. Is Polish Hard to Learn?
  2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of Polish
  3. How to Start Learning Polish
  4. Things to Keep in Mind When Learning Polish
  5. Why is PolishPod101 Great for Learning Polish?
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Is Polish Hard to Learn?

The short answer to this question is “No!” But we don’t blame you for asking.

Many people, before they start learning a language, try to find out whether that language is hard to learn. There are also many myths about languages—such as Polish—being particularly hard to learn. These myths, however, often come from people who failed to put enough effort into learning that language. 

We can tell you that statements such as “Polish is so difficult” (Polski jest taki trudny!) are just excuses not to learn the language. 

Other people simply study hard and manage to successfully learn Polish, whether they live in Poland or not. Of course, like any language, Polish has certain concepts that are rather challenging. But rest assured, it has plenty of simpler concepts as well! 

2. The Hardest and Easiest Aspects of Polish 

How difficult is it to learn Polish, then? It’s as difficult to learn as any other language; if you put your heart in it and keep studying, fluency in Polish is definitely accessible!

Let’s have a look at the hardest aspects (najtrudniejsze zagadnienia) of learning Polish, and then the easiest ones (najłatwiejsze zagadnienia). 

A- The Hardest Aspects of Polish

There’s a number of concepts that Polish-learners find particularly hard to master (materiał wyjątkowo trudny do opanowania). In no particular order, here are the things that make Polish hard to learn: 

  • Pronunciation

Polish pronunciation can be quite challenging in the beginning. There are many Polish letters that are written similarly to each other but are pronounced differently: 

    dz in dzwon (“bell”)
    in dżdżownica (“earthworm”)
    in wig (“crane”)
    s in sosna (“pine”)
    ś in śnieg (“snow”)
    sz in szlak (“trail”)
    c in ciocia (“aunt”)
    ć in ćma (“moth”)
    cz in cześć (“hi”)

There are also letters that are spelled differently but are pronounced the same way: 

    ch in choinka (“Christmas tree”)
    h in herbata (“tea”)
    rz in rzeka (“river”)
    ż in żaba (“frog”)
    u in uroda (“beauty”)
    ó in próba (“attempt”)

Last but not least, we have the famous consonant clusters in words such as szczęście (“happiness”), czkawka (“hiccups”), or grzmot (“thunder”).

A Pronunciation Teacher

Even if Polish pronunciation is challenging, there are a few ways you can make the learning process easier. For example, both listening to Polish and repeating Polish words out loud are helpful in this regard. Check out our lesson Polish Pronunciation Made Easy for more tips. 

  • Noun Gender and Agreement

Polish nouns have grammatical gender. There are three genders in the singular (żeński – “feminine” / męski – “masculine” / nijaki – “neuter”) and two genders in the plural (męskoosobowy – “masculine personal” and niemęskoosobowy – “non-masculine personal”). 

    kobieta (“woman”) – rodzaj żeński (feminine) 
    facet (“guy”) – rodzaj męski (masculine) 
    okno (“window”) – rodzaj nijaki (neuter)

    kobiety (“women”) – rodzaj niemęskoosobowy (“non-masculine personal”)
    faceci (“guys”) – rodzaj męskoosobowy (“masculine personal”)

Other parts of speech, such as adjectives, also undergo agreement with nouns in terms of gender, number, and case: 

    Inteligentna kobieta (“a smart woman”) – rodzaj żeński (feminine), singular
    Przystojni faceci (“good-looking guys”) – rodzaj męskoosobowy (masculine), plural
  • Noun Cases and Agreement

Nouns are governed by more than just gender; they also have cases. Grammatical case refers to a noun having different forms depending on the context in which it’s used. There are seven cases in Polish:

  • To jest inteligentna kobieta. (“She’s a clever woman.” Or literally: “It’s a clever woman.”) 
    • the nominative case mianownik 
  • Nie znam tej inteligentnej kobiety. (“I don’t know this clever woman.”) 
    • the genitive case dopełniacz
  • Opowiem ci o tej inteligentnej kobiecie. (“I’ll tell you about this clever woman.”) 
    • the dative case celownik
  • Często widzę tę inteligentną kobietę. (“I often see this clever woman.”) 
    • the accusative case biernik 
  • Poszłam na spacer z tą inteligentną kobietą, o której ci mówiłam. (“I went for a walk with this clever woman I told you about.”) 
    • the instrumental case narzędnik 
  • Mówiłam ci o tej inteligentnej kobiecie w moim biurze. (“I told you about this clever woman from my office.”) 
    • the locative case miejscownik
  • Hej, inteligentna kobieto! (“Hey, clever woman!”)
    • the vocative case wołacz

B- The Easiest Aspects of Polish

Uff! We’re done with the hardest aspects of learning Polish. Now, we’ll go over the easier aspects of learning Polish! 

  • Tenses

So how easy is Polish to learn? Quite easy when you compare its tenses to those in English (which has as many as sixteen tenses!). Polish, on the other hand, has only three tenses: the past, the present, and the future. Have a look at the following examples: 

A Man Reading a Newspaper
    Czytam gazetę. (“I’m reading a newspaper.”)
    Czytam gazetę codziennie. (“I read a newspaper every day.”)
    Czytałem/Czytałam gazetę i słuchałem muzyki. (“I was reading a newspaper and listening to music.”)

The past tense in Polish has, respectively, masculine and feminine forms of verbs.

    Nie czytałem/czytałam tej powieści. (“I haven’t read this novel.”)
    Nie wiem czy będę im czytać dziś wieczorem. (“I don’t know whether I’ll read to them tonight.”)
  • Polish is a phonetic language

Do you remember when we said that Polish pronunciation can be challenging because of certain letters? Some sounds are indeed challenging, but Polish is a phonetic language which means that it’s read as it’s written. To see why this is so significant, just read the following English words to yourself: 

    ➢ bone – done – gone
    ➢ wall – wax – want
    ➢ loud – should – mould

Even though the bolded letter combinations are spelled the same way, they’re pronounced differently. 

Many people ask things like “How hard is Polish to learn for English-speakers?” And to me, it seems that it’s much easier than their native language at times! Let’s have a look at some words in Polish that contain the same letters: 

You can click on the words to go to recordings of their pronunciation. You see? The letters are read just like they’re written.

  • Lack of articles 

Articles are an important part of English. So you may be surprised to hear that when native Polish-speakers start learning English, they often forget to use them because their native language has no articles. Yes, you’ve heard us right: there are no articles in Polish. 

  • Kot siedzi i czeka. (“A/the cat is sitting and waiting.”)
  • Pies szczeka. (“A/the dog is barking.”)
  • Krowa muczy. (“A/the cow is mooing.”)

How hard is Polish to learn for English-speakers if they don’t have to learn certain grammar concepts, but forget them? It seems like a sweet deal to us. 😉

3. How to Start Learning Polish

Learning a language is a much easier process if it’s well-structured. As such, there are a few things you should focus on at the beginning of your language journey to make the entire process that much smoother.

A- Learn Pronunciation and Reading Rules

Polish pronunciation is a major reason that new learners tend to find the language difficult. That said, Polish pronunciation only seems challenging. When you put proper effort into learning it, you’re going to see that it’s really not that difficult. 

Start by focusing only on how to pronounce individual sounds, then clusters of consonants, then whole words, and then the last stage, which is sentences. You can learn Polish pronunciation rules on our Polish pronunciation page

While you practice your pronunciation, it’s important that you don’t forget to work on your reading skills. Reading rules in Polish are predictable, so learning to read is an easy way to see progress more quickly. Once you know how to read, it’ll also be easier to pronounce words and sentences in Polish.     

B- Learn Basic Vocabulary

A Child with Flashcards

You’d be surprised how much easier Polish communication is once you master the basic vocabulary. Expressing yourself will make you feel more comfortable with the language. You’ll also have a great foundation to build upon as you advance to intermediate and advanced levels. 

To learn what’s considered to be a “basic vocabulary,” check out the European Union (Unia Europejska) resource about what’s expected from lower levels according to the CEFR global scale. You can also opt to let PolishPod101 guide you through this process with our curated pathways for each level.

C- Work on Your Listening Comprehension Skills 

Learning vocabulary allows you to not only express yourself, but also to understand what’s being said to you. 

Listening to a new language can be an extremely fun activity. When you start understanding what’s being said, you’ll find it very rewarding! 

Listening to Polish is particularly important if you want to really understand things like cases and gender agreement. Instead of sitting and studying grammar rules for hours and hours, you can spend this time more productively by listening to the language and training yourself to understand what sounds right and what doesn’t. 

You can work on your listening comprehension skills by watching Polish movies (polskie filmy), listening to recordings (nagrania), and exploring the PolishPod101 lesson library. 

4. Things to Keep in Mind When Learning Polish

Instead of asking yourself “Is Polish hard to learn?” keep the following things in mind: 

1. You Should Practice Every Day

You don’t need to spend hours a day learning Polish. In fact, if you overcommit early on, you’re likely to experience burnout. Instead, focus on spending a bit of time with Polish every single day. Set a goal for yourself. Can you do ten minutes of Polish seven times a week? I’m sure you can. 

2. Don’t Listen to People Trying to Discourage You

Many people, when they hear about your plan to learn Polish, will ask you if it’s worth it. They’re just trying to put you in a negative frame of mind; they want you to focus only on the negative or difficult aspects of the language, and not on the easier aspects.

Any language is difficult to learn if you take the wrong approach. Remember that learning Polish will be as easy for you as you make it for yourself. 

3. Surround Yourself with the Language

People Surrounding a Round Table that Looks Like a Globe

Surround yourself with Polish as much as you can. There are Polish series and movies on platforms such as Netflix and Showmax that you can opt to watch in lieu of your regular English-language shows. In addition, you can find Polish music that you like or sneak some Polish in by changing the language of your phone and/or social media to Polish.

4. Find a Language Partner or Tutor

A language can’t be learned in a vacuum. Find someone with whom you can practice what you’re learning. You can find a language partner, but an even better option is to find a qualified language teacher or a tutor. You can upgrade your PolishPod101 account to get one-on-one access to a personal teacher. 

5. Why is PolishPod101 Great for Learning Polish?

PolishPod101 knows exactly how difficult learning Polish can be, and we provide resources specifically for people who speak English as their native language. We offer a number of functionalities that will make your language-learning experience much easier, such as: 

1. Lesson Recordings with Native Speakers

PolishPod101 has a massive library of lessons recorded by native speakers to help you learn Polish. By listening to Polish that you could hear on the street, you’ll be prepared for the real-life experience.  

2. Unique Learning Modes

As a premium member, you can benefit from many unique learning modes. You could access in-depth lesson notes, exclusive custom word lists, interactive lessons and quizzes, voice recording tools, a Polish audio library, and much more. 

3. Vocabulary Learning

PolishPod101 allows you to learn vocabulary through many different lessons, the word bank functionality, a Word of the Day email, a vocabulary slideshow, and a list of Polish core words and phrases. That’s a great opportunity to acquire all the useful vocabulary you need to get started. 

4. Blog Articles

To learn more about the Polish language and culture, you can access our blog. You’ll find useful, real-life Polish expressions there, and so much more. 

5. Learning On-the-Go

Electronics

With PolishPod101, you can easily learn on-the-go on your devices. Download your InnovativeLanguage101 app for Android, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle Fire, and save time learning when you’d otherwise be idle. 

6. Final Thoughts

I hope we’ve answered the question “Is Polish difficult to learn?” and have shown you that with the right attitude and tools, it’s not so hard at all. Like in any other language, there are easier and harder aspects to the language to consider.

By now, you should also know that learning with a well-designed tool is very helpful. An easy way to learn Polish is with PolishPod101, which offers our students an organized system to master the Polish language with little trouble. Don’t take our word for it, though. Start your account today and enjoy the platform for seven days. It’s on us!

Before you go, we’re curious: Is Polish a hard language for you so far? Which things do you struggle with the most? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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The 10+ Most Common Polish Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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It’s natural for a beginner to make mistakes in a new language. But fortunately, there are ways in which you can minimize them. To help you do exactly that, in this article, we’re going to discuss the ten plus most common Polish mistakes. 

By understanding what kind of mistakes other students make, you can prevent yourself from falling into those same linguistic traps. For your convenience, we’ve put the most common Polish mistakes by English-speakers into groups. 

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation and Spelling Mistakes
  2. Vocabulary Mistakes
  3. Polish Grammar Mistakes
  4. Level of Formality
  5. Other Polish Mistakes
  6. The Biggest Mistake
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Pronunciation and Spelling Mistakes 

The most common Polish mistakes that learners of different language backgrounds tend to make have to do with pronunciation and spelling.

A Man with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth

A- Similar Spelling, Different Pronunciation

Certain consonants in Polish are particularly difficult for language-learners due to the fact that they’re written similarly to each other. Some students also feel that their pronunciation is relatively similar. The following letters and sounds are a source of common pronunciation and spelling mistakes for Polish-learners: 

  • s, ś, and sz
  • c, ć, and cz
  • dz, , and

Pay particular attention to how words with these letters are written when you’re reading something out loud. When writing down vocabulary, you need to be very careful as well, especially when you’re making notes of what you hear. In this case, check a given word in a dictionary to make sure you’re learning the correct form of it. Last but not least, listen to how native speakers pronounce words with these letters to train your ear. 

B. Different Spelling, Same Pronunciation

The good news here is that people learning Polish as a foreign language are not the only ones with this problem. It’s quite common for native speakers to make this spelling mistake in Polish, too! This is because the letters in question are pronounced the same way, but spelled differently. However, a mistake that hits foreigners particularly hard is trying to pronounce double letter sounds as if they were separate letters.

Here’s another source of common Polish pronunciation mistakes: 

  • ch and h
  • rz and ż
  • u and ó

A good way to fight this problem is to learn vocabulary words along with their spelling and pronunciation. Reading plenty of articles and books can also minimize your chances of making these common pronunciation mistakes for Polish-learners. 


2. Vocabulary Mistakes

A Child Studying with Flashcards

There are many vocabulary items that are confusing for learners because certain ideas don’t exist in their native language. In the following sections, we’ll outline frequent errors in Polish that foreign learners tend to make. 

A- Verbs of Motion

Polish verbs of motion are definitely among the top Polish-English mistakes. Have a look at the following verbs: 

chodzić vs. iść

Both verbs can mean “to go” in English, which certainly doesn’t make your task any easier. However, what you should remember is the context in which we use them. Iść is used for activities that happen in a given moment, while chodzić is used for repetitive actions.

  • Idę do pracy. (“I’m going to work.”) 
  • Chodzę do pracy pięć razy w tygodniu. (“I go to work five times a week.”)

Because chodzić refers to something that’s done frequently, it’s often accompanied by a plural form of the noun when talking about habits. Compare: 

  • Idziesz na spacer? (“Are you going for a walk [now]?”)
  • Chodzisz na spacery? (“Is it your habit to take walks?”)

You’d also use chodzić to speak about “walking” as a general activity and iść to refer to “walking” in a given moment. For example: 

  • On nie może chodzić. (“He can’t walk.”)
  • Czemu tak wolno idziesz? (“Why are you walking so slowly?”)

jeździć vs. jechać

Jeździć and jechać have a similar relationship as the previous pair of verbs. Both mean to go somewhere with a mode of transport. Jeździć is used for repetitive situations, and jechać for a description of something that’s happening in a given moment:

  • Co roku jeździm nad morze. (“Every year, we go to the seaside.”)
  • Dzisiaj jedziemy nad morze. (“Today, we’re going to the seaside.”)

How often do you go to the seaside? Learn how to talk about it with our lesson on how to express frequency.

A Seaside Resort

Both verbs can also mean “to drive”:

  • Ile lat jeździsz tym samochodem? (“How long have you been driving this car?”)
  • Jadę samochodem, nie mogę rozmawiać. (“I’m driving, I can’t talk.”)

B- Imperfective and Perfective Verbs

Polish verbs have an aspect and are divided into perfective aspect and imperfective aspect verbs. 

Perfective verbs focus on completion of an action, so they’re associated with the past and the future. Imperfective verbs, on the other hand, focus on the fact that the action is being performed. 

The difference isn’t obvious to many foreigners, which makes it a common source of Polish grammar mistakes. Have a look at the following pairs with examples to see the difference:

kupować (imperfective) vs. kupić (perfective) – “to buy”

  • Kupowałam pierogi, kiedy zadzwoniła mi komórka. (“I was buying pierogi, when my phone rang.”) 
  • Kupiłam pierogi. (“I’ve bought pierogi.”)

Go to our lesson “10 Polish Foods” to learn what else you can eat in Poland. 

śpiewać (imperfective) vs. zaśpiewać (perfective) – “to sing”

  • Śpiewam w chórze. (“I sing in a choir.”)
  • Zaśpiewam ci piosenkę. (“I will sing a song for you.”)

jeść (imperfective) vs. zjeść (perfective) – “to eat”

  • Jem obiad. (“I’m eating lunch.”)
  • Zjesz obiad? (“Will you eat lunch?”)

C- Talking About Age

A Birthday Cake with a Question Mark-shaped Candle

In Polish, you should use the verb “to have” (mieć) to speak about your age. This is different from English, where you use the verb “to be,” making this one of the most common mistakes in Polish made by English-speakers. Compare: 

  • Mam 32 lata. (“I’m 32 years old.”)
  • Ile masz lat? (“How old are you?”)

Are you still not sure how to talk about your age? Go to our “Polish in three minutes lesson about this topic.

D- Knowledge Verbs in Polish

There are three different verbs that refer to knowledge in Polish: umieć, wiedzieć, and znać. As luck would have it, they all translate to the English verb “to know,” and therefore, they’re among the most typical Polish mistakes made by foreigners.

umieć 

We use this verb to talk about skills, such as:

  • umieć liczyć (“to know how to count”)
  • umieć śpiewać (“to know how to sing”)
  • umieć czytać (“to know how to read”)

wiedzieć

We use this verb to talk about knowledge in more specific situations:

  • Nie wiem, co masz na myśli. (“I don’t know what you mean.”)
  • Nie wiem, czy to prawda. (“I don’t know whether it’s true.”)
  • Nie wiem, ile ma lat. (“I don’t know how old he is.”)

znać 

We use this verb to talk about people we know, languages we speak, and when a noun follows the verb directly:

  • Nie znam jej męża. (“I don’t know her husband.”)
  • Nie znam angielskiego. (“I don’t know/speak English.”)
  • Nie znam prawdy. (“I don’t know the truth.”)

3. Polish Grammar Mistakes

A Grammar-related Table

Many of the top Polish-English mistakes have to do with grammar elements that are confusing for English-speakers. Following is a list of Polish mistakes you should always try to avoid! 

A- Expressing “Going to” in Polish

Some English-speakers try to express the idea of “going to” with verbs of movement. The confusion has to do with the fact that you can say:

  • Idziemy na basen. (“We’re going to a swimming pool.”)

What’s important to remember is that the meaning of this sentence has to do with the verb iść (“to go”).

  • Planujemy pójść na basen. (“We’re going to go to a swimming pool.”)

To refer to planned actions and express “going to” for future events, you should use other verbs, such as planować (“to plan”) as in the example above. 

B- Gender Agreement

Lack of gender agreement is among the most common Polish grammar mistakes. In English, nouns do not have gender, so the mere concept is alien to English-speakers. In Polish, though, each noun has gender and it always has to be in agreement with the adjective used to describe it:

  • mądra kobieta (noun, feminine) – “a smart woman”
  • mądry człowiek (noun, masculine) – “a smart human being”
  • mądre dziecko (noun, neuter) – “a smart child”

The agreement also takes place with other parts of speech that are modified, such as pronouns: 

  • taka mądra kobieta (noun, feminine) – “such a smart woman”
  • taki mądry człowiek (noun, masculine) – “such a smart human being”
  • takie mądre dziecko (noun, neuter) – “such a smart child”

The gender agreement is also affected by number. Compare singular and plural: 

  • mądra kobieta (singular) / mądre kobiety (plural)
  • mądry człowiek (singular) / mądrzy ludzie (plural)
  • mądre dziecko (singular) / mądre dzieci (plural)

To learn more about the topic of gender, familiarize yourself with our lesson “The Secret to Understanding Polish Noun Gender.”

C- Case Agreement

The Polish language has seven different cases, and Polish noun cases are a source of many common Polish grammar mistakes. Students who struggle with this particular grammar concept the least are speakers of other Slavic languages.

A Kitten
  • Ala ma kota. (“Ala has a cat.”)

The proper noun “Ala” is in the nominative case here. If you decide to add an adjective or pronoun to modify a noun, you’ll have to use the nominative case for it. Case agreement is done in conjunction with gender agreement:

  • To sympatyczna dziewczyna [feminine noun]. (“She’s a nice girl.”)

Would you like to learn more Polish adjectives? Check out our lesson about high-frequency adjectives

The same process takes place for pronouns: 

  • Moja mama [feminine noun] ma dwa psy. (“My mother has two cats.”)

This is true for all cases, and it’s something you should always keep in mind when forming sentences in Polish. A good way to practice is to create simple sentences to make sure you understand when to use which case. This process is much more effective under the eye of a teacher. You can gain access to one through a Premium PolishPod101 membership. 

This sums up the most common Polish grammar mistakes. Now, it’s time to move on and discuss another common mistake in Polish, namely, the level of formality. 

4. Level of Formality

One of many important mistakes in Polish to avoid are related to the level of formality. In English, you’re used to using “you” with almost everyone. But Polish recognizes two types of “you,” the formal one and the informal one.

The informal version, ty, is used among friends, family members, and people of the same age. It requires the second person singular form of the verb: 

  • Jak się masz? (“How are you?”)

The formal version—pan for a man or pani for a woman—uses the third person singular. We use it with people who we don’t know, unless they’re children or teenagers. We can also use it if the context seems to call for it. Here are two examples: 

  • Jak się pani ma? (“How are you, Ma’am?”)
  • Jak się pan ma? (“How are you, Sir?”)

To be on the safe side, use formal Polish. Being too formal is certainly better than being overly familiar.

5. Other Polish Mistakes

Other common Polish mistakes have to do with question formation and negation. 

A- Forming Questions

A Speech Bubble with a Question Mark in It

It’s easy to make a mistake in Polish when forming questions. This is because, in the spoken language, questions are simply indicated by the change of intonation. Many other questions, even in writing, get the same word: czy. In English, on the other hand, the question word differs depending on the tense:

  • Czy masz ochotę na kawę? (“Would you like a coffee?”)
  • Czy Marcin kupił jajka? (“Did Marcin buy eggs?”)
  • Czy mam rację? (“Am I right?”)

Of course, Polish has words for “who” (kto), “what” (co), and so on. Want to learn more? See our lesson on the 10 questions you should know

B- Negation

Polish allows double negation, leading to many Polish-English mistakes because it seems particularly unnatural to English-speakers. Have a look at the following examples: 

  • Nikogo nie widzę. (“I don’t see anyone.”) – Literal translation: “I don’t see no one.”
  • Nigdy tego nie zrobię. (“I’ll never do it.”) – Literal translation: “I’ll never not do it.”
  • Marek niczego nie czyta. (“Marek doesn’t read anything.”) – Literal translation: “Marek doesn’t read nothing.”

6. The Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake in Polish is…not practicing the language. Perfection is something many of us aspire to, but it’s impossible to achieve. You should simply try your best and keep practicing. To make a mistake in Polish isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply an indication that you’re learning. Using the language is the only way to get better at it!

7. Final Thoughts

Today, we’ve discussed the most common Polish language mistakes. Thanks to this article, you’ll be able to avoid the top Polish-English mistakes!

Before you go, remember to let us know in the comments section which of these common mistakes in learning Polish bother you the most! 

Don’t stop your learning journey here. Continue improving your Polish skills with PolishPod101. We have countless resources for you to learn with, and all of our audio and video lessons featuring native speakers will help you avoid common pronunciation mistakes in particular. Get your lifetime account today!

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