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Archive for the 'Polish Alphabet' Category

From Zero to Hero: How Long Will it Take to Learn Polish?

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Like many people who are about to embark on a new language learning journey, you may be asking yourself:
How long will it take to learn Polish?

The answer is: “It depends on the level you want to achieve!”

In this article, you’ll find out how long it takes to reach the different proficiency levels of Polish. You’ll also get exclusive tips on how to accelerate your progress and use PolishPod101 to your advantage every step of the way.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Beginner Level
  2. Intermediate Level
  3. Advanced Level
  4. Final Thoughts

Beginner Level

A Woman with a Notebook

How long will it take to learn Polish if you hope to surpass the beginner level? And what skills are expected of you as a beginner (początkujący)? 

Here are some answers to your questions, and more! 

Pre-Intermediate Level: What Does it Mean?

To become a pre-intermediate student, you need to complete levels A1 and A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 

At level A1, you’ll be able to have very simple conversations such as introducing yourself or talking about your likes and dislikes. By level A2, you’ve deepened your basic vocabulary knowledge. Upon completion of this level, you can go to shops and museums, ask for directions, tell the time, and talk about your family.

How Long Will it Take?

A Man Looking at His Watch

You need around 200 hours of study to get to level A2. How fast you get there depends on how much time you spend studying. Here are some tips on how to learn the Polish language faster: 

  1. Set up your social media in Polish. If you’re feeling brave, do it to your phone too!

  2. Listen to a lot of Polish music on YouTube and watch Polish-language movies on Netflix. This will allow you to hear a lot of the language and get used to how it sounds. Can you understand some of the words? That’s great!

  3. Last but not least, prepare your own flashcards with new vocabulary you’re learning.

How to Use PolishPod101 as a Beginner

Are you wondering how to learn basic Polish as you begin your studies? 

PolishPod101 can help you improve your Polish at any level. When you first start learning Polish, you’ll be studying simpler things such as saying hello and giving a self-introduction. 

Our lesson Saying Hello No Matter the Time of Day in Polish is a great example of what we have to offer our students. It will teach you the very important skill of greeting people at any time of day and with the required formality level. 

Apart from the dialogue, you also get a vocabulary list, lesson notes with additional tips, commentary on the cultural context (kontekst kulturowy), and even some additional vocabulary. You can read the lesson, listen to it, or do both at the same time using the transcript. 

Here are some similar lessons you may like: 

What’s more, PolishPod101 also has a specific pathway (ścieżka) for absolute beginners. Thanks to this functionality, you won’t get lost among the countless lessons the platform offers. 

Intermediate Level

Moving from the beginner level to the intermediate level is an accomplishment to be proud of! 

The intermediate level (poziom średniozaawansowany) is an exciting new adventure that comes with its own challenges. Keep in mind that your progress will slow down at this point. But this isn’t something to be worried about, as it’s a natural part of the process.

Intermediate Level: What Does it Mean?

A Graduate

You have reached the intermediate stage of your Polish learning once you attain level B1 or B2 of CEFR.

Level B1 allows you to have conversations on most everyday topics (codzienne tematy). You still lack vocabulary and struggle to express yourself concerning more complex issues. 

Such issues disappear at level B2, when you’re capable of having longer conversations on more difficult topics. You’re able to express your political views at this level, speak about the environment, and agree or disagree with others. 

How Long Will it Take Me?

Level B1 means an additional 200 hours on top of the time you already put in to reach A1 and A2. This means your overall language learning time by this point will be 400 hours

Level B2 will require another 150 hours of studying, for a total of 550 hours.

Would you like to know how to learn Polish faster? Here are some language learning hacks to accelerate your progress:

  1. Watch movies and listen to songs like you did as a beginner. At this level, you should be paying attention to vocabulary and grammar. Make notes as you listen and watch. Not sure where to find more Polish movies? Start here
  1. Find a friend to help you practice your language skills. A language partner can’t replace a study program, but it can definitely help with your progress. Not sure where to look for a partner? Try the Tandem app!
  1. Look for free grammar exercises online to internalize the structures you’re struggling to remember or understand. 

How to Use PolishPod101 as an Intermediate Student

A PolishPod101 Graphic

PolishPod101 has many resources for intermediate students. The lessons may cover some of the same topics that you’ve seen as a beginner, but the vocabulary is more advanced. Check out this lesson on choosing your meal at a Polish restaurant to see what we mean. 

In this lesson, you’ll pick up some basic vocabulary related to food so you can communicate in more complicated situations. In addition to the lesson recording, you have direct access to the dialogue, vocabulary, and a lesson transcript. 

Here are two other intermediate lessons:

If something isn’t clear, you can always comment with a question. A friendly Polish teacher will provide you with a useful answer so you can overcome learning hurdles more easily. 

Are you interested in a specific topic? Use our search option to find related lessons!

Advanced Level

The advanced level (poziom zaawansowany) is the Holy Grail of language learning. Did you know that some students never get there and remain at the intermediate level indefinitely? Don’t worry! There are steps you can take to avoid that fate.

Advanced Level: What Does it Mean?

Reaching an advanced level in Polish means that you can speak about pretty much any topic with confidence. This is level C1 of CEFR. At this level, you could study or work in Polish. 

There’s also level C2, which represents a higher proficiency than even the average native speaker has. At this level, you could give speeches and write essays in Polish. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn Polish Fluently?

The Winner of a Race

To get to the C1 level, you’ll need about 900 hours (900 godzin) of work. 

C2 is trickier to evaluate, as this level requires academic skills on top of general language fluency. It also means that you rarely make mistakes.  

To make the jump from the intermediate level to the advanced level, you need to focus on two things: fluency and accuracy. With that in mind, look over these tips on how to make further progress in learning Polish.

  1. Work with songs and movies by transcribing them. Pay attention to how native speakers talk. What expressions do they use? How do they use grammar? Make notes and learn!

  2. Read books in your target language. You can read for pleasure too, but to see improvement you need to work on really expanding your vocabulary and learning more expressions. Tip: Choose modern books rather than the classics to learn the language as it’s truly spoken today.  
  1. Participate in an internet forum about a topic you’re interested in. Get involved in a discussion and learn from native speakers how to use the language. 

How to Use PolishPod101 as an Advanced Student

While you work to achieve a higher level, you should complement your language learning with knowledge about the country. That’s why PolishPod101 offers many lessons for advanced students focused on improving your understanding of Poland. 

Have a look at this lesson about the famous Polish composer, Frederic Chopin. Lessons like this one are similar to what a native Polish speaker would listen to, should (s)he want to learn more about the composer (kompozytor). Along with the lesson, you get access to the dialogue, vocabulary, lesson notes, lesson transcript, and comments. 

Interested in advanced Polish lessons? Remember to check out other lessons from the advanced audio blog, such as: 

A Map of Poland

Are you on your way to approaching an advanced level and need a way to prove your proficiency? Remember that there are Polish exams you can take to do so. You can read all about them in our dedicated blog post

Final Thoughts

In this article, we answered the question: How long does it take to learn Polish fluently?

We’ve also provided you with details on how long it will take you to reach each level of proficiency, and how to learn Polish faster. You should have a better idea of how to best utilize PolishPod101 and other resources to meet your language learning goals! 

How many hours have you studied Polish already? Let us know in the comments section. 

PolishPod101 is a platform designed to help Polish learners at every level reach their goals. In addition to countless lessons on various topics, we provide additional vocabulary resources with pronunciation examples (such as our vocabulary lists and dictionary). If you feel like you need a teacher, we’ve got you covered with our Premium PLUS MyTeacher service!

Don’t just take our word for it. Start your free trial today to start learning the Polish language as soon as possible. Remember that you need roughly 900 hours to become fluent. The sooner you start, the better.

Powodzenia! (“Good luck!”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish

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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Polish

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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Polish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Polish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Polish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Polish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Polish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Polish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Polish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Polish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Polish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Polish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Polish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Polish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Polish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Polish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Polish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Polish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Polish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Polish, so all text will appear in Polish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Polish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Polish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Polish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Polski with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Polski” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Polish – Polski.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Polish.”

4. Expand the option of “Polish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Polish.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Polish,” and add the “Polish” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Polish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Polish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Polish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Polish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Polski” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Polish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Polish can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Polish keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • You can type accents by pressing and holding “Crtl,” then pressing the basic letter (for example: “Crtl” + “a” to type ą).
  • Another option is pressing ~ (tilde symbol) and then the basic letter (for example a for ą).

2- Mobile Phones

  • When using a Polish keyboard, press and hold the core letter (for example: a) to get access to its Polish version (in this case: ą).

7. How to Practice Typing Polish

As you probably know by now, learning Polish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Polish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a PolishPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Polish keyboard to do this!

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Learn How to Talk About Your Family in Polish

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Did you know that only some reptiles and birds don’t parent their offspring? Except for crocodiles, all reptiles (and one family of bird species called megapodes) hatch from eggs and grow up alone, without any family.

The rest of us need family if we are to survive and thrive – humans and animals alike!

At PolishPod101, we know how important family is. Therefore, we take care to teach you all the important vocabulary and phrases pertaining to family.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Is It Important to Know Polish Vocabulary about Family?
  2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first
  3. How PolishPod101 Can Help You Learn Polish Family Terms

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1. Why Is It Important to Know Polish Vocabulary about Family?

Lioness with Cub

Well, if you’re serious about studying any new language, then learning about the most important social unit in Polish culture would be a crucial part of your education.

What is family, though? Strictly speaking, it’s a group of people who live together and are supposed to take care of one another. Some of them are genetically linked.

Family isn’t just about who we’re related to by blood, of course. It’s also one of the main influences in shaping every child’s life.

Family is Important for Children’s Healthy Development

Phrases Parents Say

Family is the single most important influence in a child’s life. Children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs from the day they were born.

Primary caregivers, which usually comprise parents and family, form a child’s first relationships. They are a child’s first teachers and are role models that show kids how to act and experience the world around them.

By nurturing and teaching children during their early years, families play an important role in making sure children are ready to learn when they enter school.

Families Can Take All Shapes and Sizes

However, the way families are put together is by no means standard.

Mom and Daughter

Single-parent and same-gender households have become a new norm the past few decades, and there’s no shame in this. When there is love, connection and proper care, a child can thrive anywhere.

Everyone also knows that sometimes friends can become like family and remain with us for life, because it’s all about human connection.

After all, we share many commonalities simply because we’re human, and we are programmed to connect with one another and belong to a group. This is very important for our well-being and survival.

It’s All About Feeling Connected

As John Northman, a psychologist from Buffalo, NY, told WebMD – feeling connected to others contributes to mental as well as physical health.

He pointed out that when people feel connected, they feel better physically, and they’re also less likely to feel depressed.

Couples Chatting

Or, if they do feel depressed, they’d be in a better position to get out of it when they feel they are connecting with others. This is because they would be psychologically supported too, Northman said.

There has even been some links drawn between addiction and feeling disconnected from others. According to an article in Psychology Today, research indicates that addiction is not solely a substance disorder, but also affected by people feeling insecurely attached to others.

It showed that securely attached individuals tend to feel comfortable in and enjoy life, while insecurely attached people typically struggle to fit in and connect.

2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first

So, it’s clear that for most of us, family is our entry point into connection and belonging. This is true of every culture, so in every country, family takes prominence.

For this reason, PolishPod101 offers culturally-relevant lessons that will equip you well to understand families in Poland.

Here are some of the most important Polish vocabulary and quotes about family and parenting!

A) Polish Family Vocabulary

Let’s start with the basic vocabulary. Without this collection of words, you’ll have a hard time describing any member of your family at all.

Family Terms
Family
rodzina
Great grandfather
pradziadek
Mother
matka
Grandmother
babcia
Father
ojciec
Grandfather
dziadek
Wife
żona
Grandchild
wnuk
Husband
mąż
Granddaughter
wnuczka
Parent
rodzic
Grandson
wnuk
Child
dziecko
Aunt
ciocia
Daughter
córka
Uncle
wujek
Sister
siostra
Niece
siostrzenica
Brother
brat
Nephew
bratanek
Younger sister
młodsza siostra
Younger brother
młodszy brat
Older brother
starszy brat
Great grandmother
prababcia
Cousin
kuzynka
Mother-in-law
teściowa
Father-in-law
teść
Sister-in-law
szwagierka
Brother-in-law
szwagier
Partner
partner

Family of Three

B) Quotes About Family

Polish Family Quotes

One of the ways to improve your Polish language skills is by memorizing quotes from books, or poems.

Either source some from Polish literature, or make use of ours!

Nie wybiera się swojej rodziny. Oni są darem od Boga dla ciebie, jak i ty jesteś darem dla nich.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

Rodzina nie jest czymś ważnym. Jest wszystkim.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Rodzina oznacza, że nikt nie będzie pozostawiony z tyłu lub zapomniany.

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

Moja rodzina jest moją mocą i moją słabością.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.” – Aishwarya Rai

Rodzina jest jednym z arcydzieł natury.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana

Gdy masz kłopoty, to twoja rodzina jest tym, co cię wspiera.

“When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” – Guy Lafleur

Rodzina jest pierwszą zasadniczą komórką życia społecznego.

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” – Pope John XXIII

Nie ma czegoś takiego jak zabawa dla całej rodziny.

“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Musisz bronić swojego honoru i swojej rodziny.

“You have to defend your honor. And your family.” – Suzanne Vega

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

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

C) Test Your Knowledge!

Do you feel you have learned a lot in this blog? Let’s quickly test that!

In the table below, match the Polish vocabulary on the left with the definition of the relative in the right column.

MY RELATIVES
Relative Name Definition
1. rodzina a. My male child
2. matka b. My older male sibling
3. ojciec c. My female sibling
4. żona d. My child’s child
5. mąż e. My child’s female child
6. rodzic f. My female parent
7. dziecko g. My grandparent’s mother
8. córka h. Mother to one of my parents
9. syn i. Relatives
10. siostra j. My female child
11. brat k. My younger male sibling
12. młodsza siostra l. Male spouse
13. młodszy brat m. The father of one of my parents
14. starszy brat n. My child’s male child
15. prababcia o. My children’s father or mother
16. pradziadek p. The sister of one of my parents
17. babcia q. The brother of one of my parents
18. dziadek r. My male parent
19. wnuk s. My sibling’s female child
20. wnuczka t. My sibling’s male child
21. wnuk u. My male sibling
22. ciocia v. My parents’ sibling’s child
23. wujek w. Female spouse
24. siostrzenica x. The grandfather of one of my parents
25. bratanek y. The person I am a parent to
26. kuzynka z. My younger female sibling

How did it go? Don’t worry if you had trouble with it – you’ll get there! With a bit of practice, and our help at PolishPod101, you’ll soon have these family terms under the belt.

Family Shopping

3. How PolishPod101 Can Help You Learn Polish Family Terms

We hope that we helped you expand your family in Polish vocabulary!

PolishPod101, with its innovative online learning system, stands out among online learning platforms to help you master Polish easily.

Our lessons are tailored not only to increase your language skills, but to also inform you of Polish culture, including the Polish family structure.

When you sign up, you will get instant access to tools like:

1 – An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
2 – A new Polish word to learn every day
3 – Quick access to the Polish Key Phrase List
4 – A free Polish online dictionary
5 – The excellent 100 Core Polish Word List
6 – An almost limitless Lesson Library for learners of all levels

Further speed up your learning with the help of a personal tutor, who will first assess your current Polish language abilities to personalize your training and tailor it to your needs.

Hard work always pays off, and to help you in this, PolishPod101 will be there every step of the way toward your Polish mastery!

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Answers: 1.i. 2.f. 3.r. 4.w. 5.l. 6.o. 7.y. 8.j. 9.a. 10.c. 11.u. 12.z. 13.k. 14.b. 15.g 16.x. 17.h. 18.m. 19.d. 20.e. 21.n. 22.p. 23.q. 24.s. 25.t. 26.v.