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The Most Common Polish Filler Words

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Speakers of all languages use filler words, even if they don’t realize it. Language purists hate them and sometimes they’re frowned upon, yet they persist despite these criticisms. 

Polish filler words are used in various situations. They can differ depending on what region the speaker is from or even how old they are. Due to their popularity, filler words are an essential component of the language that Polish learners should study to improve their speaking and comprehension skills.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Filler Words: Why People Use Them
  2. The Top Polish Fillers
  3. Filler Words in Polish: Pros and Cons
  4. Final Thoughts

1. Filler Words: Why People Use Them 

English Fillers

Fillers are words or sounds that people use to let the other party know that they haven’t finished speaking yet. The primary use of filler words, then, is to buy the speaker some time. However, there are also other reasons why people use them. Here’s a breakdown of the main purposes fillers have in speech:

  • To buy time while the speaker thinks of what to say or looks for the right word
  • To agree with the other party
  • To show relationship between words, such as contrast or conclusion

Note that while prepositions can also perform that final function, filler words do so in a very gentle way. This makes it difficult to explain their exact meaning to others. 

And of course, many people use fillers only as a mannerism. This means that the speaker uses them out of habit and the words really have no meaning. 

2. The Top Polish Fillers

Now that you have a better idea of what Polish filler words are and how they’re used, let’s take a look at the most frequently used fillers. We’ll provide examples for each one so that you can see how they might appear in a conversation. 

Let me think about that: Hmmm and Ummm

These fillers are similar to their English equivalents. People use them to show that they’re thinking about something or to express uncertainty: 

A: Czy to on ci to powiedział? (“Did he tell you that?”)
B: Ummm… nie pamiętam dokładnie. (“Ummm… I don’t remember exactly.”)

A: Myślisz, że się wyrobimy na czas? (“Do you think we’ll make it on time?”)
B: Hmmm… mam nadzieję, że tak. (“Hmmm… I hope so.”)

Would you know how to ask other questions in Polish if you were chatting with a native speaker? Here are 10 questions you should know to get started. 

The famous Polish No

In English, “no” is used for negation. In Polish, however, it’s a word close in meaning to “well.” This is probably the most abused filler in the Polish language. It can be used to express agreement or disagreement, to strengthen what you’re saying, or to give you some time. It’s often used with other words: 

  • No nie! (“Oh no!”)
  • No tak. (“Well, yes.”)
  • No nie wiem, co mam Ci powiedzieć. (“I don’t know what to tell you.”)

A Person Shrugging Their Shoulders

That last sentence would be translated the same way whether the speaker had used no or not. This is why learning how to use Polish filler words well requires a lot of exposure to both the spoken and the written language.  

A: To okropne, co on zrobił! (“It’s horrible what he’s done.”)
B: Nooo. (“Yeah.”)

When used to express agreement, no is often prolonged in an exaggerated manner, like in the last example. 

Saying “You know,” in Polish

Polish has an exact equivalent for the often used English filler “you know.” It’s no wiesz. Another similar filler word is Wiesz? (“You know?”) with an interrogative intonation. 

  • To nie ma sensu. No wiesz, co mam na myśli. (“It doesn’t make any sense. You know what I mean.”)
  • No jak to się nazywa? No wiesz, o czym mówię. (“What’s the name of this thing? You know what I’m talking about.”)
  • Nawet bym się z nim zgodził, wiesz? (“I’d even agree with him, you know?”)
  • Ona ma cztery koty, wiesz? (“She has four cats, you know?”)

These two filler words in Polish can be used interchangeably in most situations. There’s a slight difference between them, in that no wiesz suggests the speaker is looking for understanding, while Wiesz? is used when the speaker assumes that the other person doesn’t know already (hence, the speaker is telling them).

Speaking of knowing, did you know learning Polish is considered a sport sometimes?

Exactly the right word: Właśnie

Two People Chatting

The next expression on our list of Polish filler words is właśnie. It means “exactly” or “precisely” according to the dictionary, but in reality it’s used to express a wide variety of things. The most common non-dictionary usage is to show contrast. Like many other filler words in Polish, it’s often used along with other words: 

  • No właśnie nie. (“In fact, no.”)
  • No właśnie tak mi powiedział. (“This is [exactly] what he told me.”)
  • Dlaczego właśnie tam? (“Why there [and not somewhere else]?”)
  • Właśnie, właśnie. O to mi chodzi. (“Yes, exactly. This is what I mean.”)

When you really can’t find a word: Ten

Ten and no i ten are the kind of expressions that teachers and certain fussy Polish speakers hate the most. It may be annoying when someone uses them excessively, but to forget a word here and there is only natural. These expressions roughly translate as “and” when used to buy time to find the right words: 

  • Ten, jako on się nazywa, Jacek. (“This, what’s his name, Jacek.”)
  • No i kupiłem, ten, no odtwarzacz DVD, no. (“And I bought this, ugh, well, a DVD player.”)
  • Poszedłem do pracy, no i ten, zapomniałem telefonu. (“I went to work and, ummmm, I forgot my phone.”)
  • No i ten i powiedziałem jej, co myślę. (“And what… and I told her what I thought.”)

In English, “ten” means 10. How strong do you feel when it comes to counting from 1-100 in Polish?

Basically: Po prostu

Do you know any English speakers who overuse the word “basically“? The Polish conversation filler word po prostu is quite close in meaning to this common English filler. In the dictionary, you’ll find that it means “simply.” However, in everyday use it doesn’t really add much meaning. For many people, using it is just a habit. 

  • No co? No po prostu mam dość. (“Well, what? I’ve simply had enough.”)
  • Po prostu powiedz mu prawdę. (“Just tell him the truth.”)
  • Nie wiem dlaczego, po prostu tak się stało. (“I don’t know why, it’s just happened.”)
  • Po prostu się pomyliłem. (“I’ve simply made a mistake.”)
  • Po prostu tak miało być. (“It was meant to be that way.”)

Simplicity is a great thing! Here are 5 simple tips to extraordinary Polish fluency

No way: Masakra

An Upset Person

Masakra is a modern way of saying “no way” in Polish, and it can also mean “it’s horrible.” You’ll hear it mostly from young people and millennials; you’re unlikely to hear anyone born in the 70s or earlier use it. People use this common filler in the Polish language to express being upset when talking about something negative. It’s also used in reaction to something surprising or negative being said. 

A: Zwolnił mnie, czaisz? No masakra, no. (“He’s fired me, do you get it? It’s horrible.”)
B: Tak Ci powiedział? Masakra! (“He told you so? No way!”)

A: Zabronili nam palić w pracy na przerwach. (“They’ve banned smoking during breaks at work.”)
B: No co ty? Masakra! (“You’re joking? No way!”)

You now know how to comment on something not-that-amazing with this popular Polish filler. But what about positive feelings? Here’s some slang to describe something cool

Say “Yyy” in Polish: Yyy and Eee

Like in English, filler sounds like yyy and eee are well-known in Polish. They’re mostly used when the speaker is looking for the right word or gathering their thoughts. These fillers are very commonly used when people give speeches, which for many is a stressful experience. 

  • Prosze spojrzeć na ten, yyy, wykres, pokazujący, yyy, nowe statystyki. (“Please have a look at this, uh, chart, showing, uh, new statistics.”)
  • Eee, no, nie wiem no. Możliwe. (“Ummm, well, I don’t know, actually. Maybe.”)
  • No na pewno twój, eee, mąż ma racje. (“Yeah, surely your, ummm, husband is right.”)

In general: Ogólnie and Generalnie

We’re sure you also know English speakers who use and abuse “in general.” In Polish, there are two words that are used in the same way (to generalize and as a filler word with little meaning): ogólnie and generalnie. Ogólnie is the “more Polish” version, while generalnie is an anglicism

  • Ogólnie to lubię filmy. (“In general, I like films.”)
  • Ogólnie to się nie znam. (“In general, I don’t know much about it.”)
  • Tak ogólnie to wiem, o czym mówisz. (“In general, I know what you’re saying.”)

Mannerisms: Nie, prawda, tak

The last expressions on our list of Polish filler words are nie, prawda, and tak. These three words are usually added to the end of a sentence. For many people, these are just mannerisms that they tend to use even if the words have no meaning.

Two People Chatting, One Person Saying a Lot, Another One Has a Question Mark Above Their Head
  • Powiedziałem mu, żeby dał już spokój, nie? Ale on sie uparł, nie? (“I’ve told him to drop the subject, no? But he’s being stubborn, no?”)

Speaking of nie, do you know how to use Polish negation?

  • Mówiłam Ci już o tym, prawda? (“I’ve told you about it already, right?”)

The word prawda here could be either a mannerism or a word used to seek affirmation. 

  • Kupili mu mieszkanie, tak? A potem samochód, tak? (“They bought him an apartment, yes? And then a car, yes?”)

3. Filler Words in Polish: Pros and Cons

The use of Polish conversation filler words has its pros and cons. Here are some reasons why it’s good to use them

  • Fillers make one’s speech sound more natural. It’s something you should keep in mind as a language learner, especially if you’d like to achieve a high level of fluency.

  • Sometimes, fillers are important in terms of cultural identity. People can be recognized as coming from one region or another by using certain fillers.

  • They can buy you time when you don’t know what you want to say next or when you’re looking for the right word.

However, fillers should not be abused as there are certain disadvantages involved: 

  • When you use too many fillers, it makes you sound like you don’t know the language well. It also gives a poor impression of your vocabulary. 

  • Some people get irritated when people use fillers. That’s particularly true of the older generation and language purists.

  • Relying too heavily on them may give a poor first impression, especially in a formal context. To make a good impression, you should both limit your use of fillers and brush up on your Polish manners.

4. Final Thoughts  

You’ve now learned the pros and cons of using filler words when you speak Polish. Our list of Polish filler words also introduced you to the most important expressions you should know as a learner of the language. Which one have you heard most often when listening to Polish conversations? Let us know in the comments section before you go. 

Fillers in the Polish language are important to know, but they are what they are: namely, fillers. You still need to be able to say other things in Polish in order to correctly use what you’ve learned today.

The best way to study the Polish language is through a structured learning curriculum. PolishPod101 can offer you exactly that, with personalized pathways filled with hundreds of lessons and recordings by native speakers. We have many functionalities and materials that you won’t find anywhere else. Create your free lifetime account today to start exploring them!

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

Learn to Say “I Love You,” in Polish Like a Pole

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Many people start learning Polish because their partner or spouse is Polish, and this is a great motivation for language learning

Whether you have a Polish partner or you just plan to visit Poland in the near future, knowing how and when to use Polish love phrases is an important skill. You never know when you’ll want to say “I love you,” in Polish for the first time. In addition, love is a popular theme in Polish television shows, movies, and books, so knowing relevant vocabulary will help your comprehension tremendously. 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the Polish word for “love”: 

In this blog post, you’ll learn much more than that! We’ll teach you how to flirt, how to say “I love you so much,” in Polish, how to take your relationship a step further, and even how to propose marriage. 

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Flirting Phrases
  2. Speaking About Feelings in Polish
  3. Things are Getting Serious
  4. Terms of Endearment: Saying “My Love” in Polish
  5. Love Quotes and Idioms
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Flirting Phrases 

People Flirting

During your travels or long-term stay in Poland, there’s a chance you’ll meet a potential love interest. If you plan on living in this beautiful European country, you may want to learn a few love phrases in Polish that you can use to confess your feelings to someone. In the following sections, you’ll learn how to grab their attention and start flirting. 

A- Saying Hi

In order to get the attention of a Polish man or woman, you first need to say hello. This is quite easy to do during a social event such as a party (impreza) or barbecue (grill). Here are some things that you can say: 

  • Cześć! Skąd znasz [name]? – “Hi! Where do you know [name] from?”
  • Cześć! Chyba się nie znamy! – “Hi! I don’t think we know one another!” 
  • Cześć! Jesteś tu pierwszy raz? – “Hi! Are you here for the first time?” 

What if you see someone you really like on the street? You’ll have to get more creative in order to get their attention. Don’t worry, though. Meeting people is easy in Poland

B- Asking for Someone’s Number

Let’s say that after a successful introduction and a short conversation, you know that you’d like to see this person again. In this case, you should suggest meeting up and ask them for their number. There are a few ways you can do this: 

  • Czy dasz mi do siebie numer? – “Could I get your number, please?” 
  • Powinniśmy się ustawić na kawę! – “We should meet up for a coffee!” (slang)
  • Masz ochotę pójść ze mną na kolację? – “Would you like to grab dinner with me?”

To call and text in Poland, having a local number will come in handy. Here are some tips and vocabulary you’ll need for buying a Polish SIM card

C- Things to Say After a Date or Two

A Romantic Dinner

After you’ve had a couple of great dates with someone, there may be other things you’d like to tell them: 

  • Bardzo mi się podobasz. – “I really like you.” 
  • Czy chciałabyś być moją dziewczyną? – “Would you like to be my girlfriend?” 
  • Czy chciałbyś być moim chłopakiem? – “Would you like to be my boyfriend?” 

Just be careful, because planning a date in Poland can be tricky

2. Speaking About Feelings in Polish

As the relationship progresses and you begin to develop stronger feelings for the person you’re dating, it’s important to be able to say “I love you,” in Polish. Below are several Polish love phrases you can use to express your true feelings. Note that some of these phrases are gender-specific; in these cases, the version a male speaker would say is on the left of the slash ( / ) and the version a female speaker would say is on the right. 

  • Zakochałem/Zakochałam się w Tobie. – “I’m in love with you.” 
  • Tęsknię za Tobą. – “I miss you.”
  • Stęskniłem/Stęskniłam się za Tobą. – “I’ve missed you.”
  • Kocham Cię. – “I love you.”
  • Jestem przy Tobie. – “I’m here for you.”
  • Tak bardzo Cię kocham! – “I love you so much.”
  • Bardzo Cię kocham! – “I love you so much.”

Would you like more information on how to say “I love you,” in Polish? Check out our lesson and learn three ways of saying these words in Polish

Heart

3. Things are Getting Serious

You already know how to say “I love you,” in Polish, but when things start getting serious, you’ll need to know more advanced Polish phrases. 

A- Meeting the Parents

  • Chciałbym/Chciałabym, żebyś poznała/poznał moich rodziców. – “I’d like you to meet my parents.”

Meeting the parents is usually the first big step in a relationship. Don’t worry too much about making a good impression, and just try to be yourself. Most parents simply want their child to date someone who truly cares about them. If you’re still a bit nervous, you can brush up on your Polish vocabulary for first meetings in Poland.

B- Moving in Together

Some people think that meeting the parents first is a bit too old-school, and decide to move in together prior to this step. Whatever your timing, you could suggest living together with either of these phrases:

  • Myślę, że czas, żebyśmy razem zamieszkali. – “I think it’s time to move in together.”
  • Chciałbyś/Chciałabyś się do mnie wprowadzić? – “Would you like to move in?” 

C- Proposing Marriage

A Marriage Proposal

Marriage has fallen out of favor for young Europeans, including Poles. Today, many people decide to continue living together without worrying about the ring. Still, some prefer to get married. There’s no perfect wording for this occasion, but this phrase will get you started:

  • Może wzięlibyśmy ślub? – “Shall we get married?”

This expression can be used by both men and women. Some people would say it’s a man’s job, but nowadays women can propose whenever they want. The phrase usually only used by men is:

  • Wyjdziesz za mnie (za mąż)? – “Will you marry me?” (literally: “Will you take me (as your husband)?”)

D-
Starting a Family

Some couples also decide that they would like to have children. How would you approach this conversation in Polish? Try one of the following phrases: 

  • Chyba czas pomyśleć o dzieciach. – “It may be the right time to think about children.”
  • Myślę, że jestem gotowy/gotowa na dziecko. – “I think I’m ready for a child.”

The first version is for men, the second one for women. 

4. Terms of Endearment: Saying “My Love” in Polish

Polish couples tend to use terms of endearment less frequently than those of some other nations. However, that obviously depends on the individual and how affectionate they are. Here are some of the more common love words in Polish: 

  • Kochanie – “Honey” 
  • Słoneczko/Słońce – “Sunshine”
  • Myszko – “Mouse” 
  • Skarbie – “Treasure” 
  • Żabko – “Frog” 
  • Kotku – “Kitten”
  • Misiu – “Bear” 

These expressions use the 7th Polish case, which you’ll rarely ever see. It’s called wołacz (vocative).  

A Couple in the Cinema

Sometimes, Polish people also add possessive pronouns to terms of endearment. This creates pet names like moje kochanie (“my love”) and moje słoneczko (“my sunshine”). 

5. Love Quotes and Idioms

While knowing how to express your love in Polish will certainly impress your partner, you can score even more brownie points by using some of these Polish quotes about love and other relevant idioms:

Kto ma szczęście w kartach, nie ma szczęścia w miłości. – “Lucky at cards, unlucky in love.”

This popular Polish saying has an exact equivalent in English. Do you agree with this statement? 

Śpieszmy się kochać ludzi, tak szybko odchodzą. – “Be in a rush to love people; they leave (this world) so fast.”

This is a line from a Polish poem by a priest named Jan Twardowski. Despite being a popular quote in Poland, not everyone who uses it knows its origin. 

Miłość o rozum nie pyta. – “Love doesn’t ask about reason.”

According to this saying, it doesn’t really matter how smart one’s partner is. This is something parents would say if they didn’t like their child’s partner. 

Miłość jest ślepa. – “Love is blind.”

Love is not dependent upon a person’s looks or their personal characteristics. This phrase is very often used in conversations, sometimes in a mean way.


A Wedding

6. Final Thoughts

After reading this article, you should have a better idea of how to express love in Polish with the most common romantic phrases. In addition, you’re better prepared for the more intimate moments of your relationship with a full arsenal of proposal lines and Polish terms of endearment. 

Which of the words or phrases listed here will be most useful to you in the near future? Comment below before you go!

Being able to introduce yourself and confess your feelings in Polish are great skills, but knowing only a few expressions doesn’t make you a fluent speaker. To learn a language, one should have a well-structured tool such as PolishPod101. Depending on your current Polish level, we have different learning pathways available to meet your needs.

PolishPod101 has hundreds of videos and recordings by native speakers. Thanks to our platform, you’ll improve your pronunciation, comprehension, vocabulary, and more! What are you waiting for? Start your free trial today!

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Learn How to Form Negative Sentences in Polish

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Knowing how to form negative sentences in Polish is a crucial skill for learners of the language to acquire early on. There are a few different methods of Polish negation, and today we’ll cover the most important ones. 

Don’t worry too much, though.

It’s much simpler than many other aspects of Polish grammar, so we’re sure you’ll master these negation patterns in no time. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Polish is a different language. Trying to develop a “Polish mindset” will work better for you than striving to translate exactly what you have in mind in English.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Negation: Case Study
  2. Answering “No” to Questions
  3. Other Words Used for Expressing Negation
  4. Double Negatives
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Negation: Case Study

The simplest pattern of Polish negation uses the word nie (“no”) in front of the part of speech being negated. This is unlike what you see in many other languages, where negation often needs two parts or uses different words depending on the context. You can learn more about affirmation and negation in different languages by clicking on the link. 

A- Polish Verb Negation

A Person Saying No with a Gesture

It’s only natural to speak up about things you don’t like or don’t want to do—it doesn’t make you a negative person! It’s equally important to know how to speak about negative emotions in Polish.

Negation in Polish works very differently from that in English. In English, there are many words that can negate the verb, depending on the tense used; in Polish, it’s always the same word. 

Have a look at the following examples: 

  • Nie lubię chodzić do kina. – “I don’t like going to the cinema.”
  • Nie czytaj gazety! – “Don’t read the newspaper!”
  • Nie mieszkali w Polsce. – “They didn’t live in Poland.”

As you can see in the examples above, the word nie is placed directly in front of the verb it’s meant to negate. This is true for all tenses and moods. Of course, this is only one way to negate a verb.

Once you gain more confidence in your Polish skills, you may want to start using verbs with opposite meanings (antonimy – “antonyms”). For instance, instead of simply saying Nie chcę (“I don’t want”) you can decide to use Odmawiam (“I refuse”). Start improving your vocabulary by studying our top 20 Polish verbs video series. Here you can find parts one, two, three, and four.

B- Negation of Adjectives

In Polish, negating adjectives is just as simple as negating verbs. There’s only a small twist – you need to remember to write nie together with the adjective.

A Girl Sticking Her Tongue Out
  • On jest niegrzeczny. – “He’s rude/badly behaved.” 
  • Ten samochód jest niedrogi. – “This car is inexpensive.”
  • Mój artykuł jest niedokończony. – “My article is unfinished.”

Of course, not all adjectives can be negated that way. Sometimes adding nie in front of an adjective will just make it sound funny or artificial. So what should you do in those situations? Start by learning high frequency adjectives with us. After that, remember to check out our lesson on using Polish adjectives and its follow-up

C- Negation of Adverbs

To make an adverb negative in Polish, you need to put the adverb after nie:

  • Na dworze było nieładnie. – “It was not pretty outside.”
  • Opowiadał nieciekawie o swoim życiu. – “He spoke about his life in a boring way.” 
  • Poczułam się niedobrze. – “I started feeling unwell.”

Unfortunately, the rules for how we write adverbs with nie are a bit more complicated than those for other parts of speech. Some adverbs are combined with the word nie to form a compound, while others are written separately. Instead of learning very specific rules in the beginning, we suggest that you just keep studying adverbs along with their spelling.

Don’t despair if you make mistakes from time to time. It happens even to Polish people! This list of must-know adverbs and phrases for connecting thoughts will definitely come in handy.

Let’s now learn about negation in Polish grammar for answering questions. After all, saying “no” sometimes is just a part of life! 

2. Answering “No” to Questions

To make a more complete negation in Polish when answering a question, you need to use nie twice: 

A: Idziesz jutro do kina? 
A: “Are you going to the cinema tomorrow?”

B: Nie, nie idę jutro do kina. 
B: “No, I’m not going to the cinema tomorrow.”

A: Chcesz coś do picia? 
A: “Would you like something to drink?”

B: Nie, nie chce mi się pić.
B: “No, I’m not thirsty.”

A Person Crossing Her Arms in Refusal

Do you know how to offer such an invitation in Polish? If not, head to our lesson on this topic by clicking on the link.

Another option is to simply answer nie, but it’s considered quite impolite. You should only use it with people whom you know well and who are unlikely to take offense. 

A: Chcesz coś zjeść?
A: “Would you like to eat something?”

B: Nie.
B: “No.”

A more polite way of refusing would be to answer: Nie, dziękuję. (“No, thank you.”) 

It’s also worth mentioning that some Polish people use nie at the end of declarative sentences. This special Polish negation case is a mannerism. It doesn’t really carry any specific meaning, it’s just something that some people say. Many people don’t like to hear it and consider it bad Polish, so we wouldn’t recommend developing this habit. Here’s an example of what this looks like: 

  • Kupiłem sobie kawę, nie? A potem dodałem cukru, nie? – “I’ve bought myself some coffee, no? And then I’ve added some sugar, no?” 

3. Other Words Used for Expressing Negation

To truly master negation in the Polish language, you need to study other words used for forming negative sentences in Polish. Here are some expressions that can be used for negation without changing form: 

  • nigdy – “never”

    Nigdy nie mów nigdy. – “Never say never.”

  • nigdy więcej – “never again”

    Nigdy więcej nie założę szpilek! – “I will never wear stilettos again.”

  • nigdzie – “nowhere”

    Nigdzie nie mógł znaleźć swoich okularów. – “He couldn’t find his glasses anywhere.”
  • nic – “nothing”

    Nic nie zapłaciłem. – “I’ve paid nothing.”
  • już nie – “not anymore”

    Już nie oglądam tego serialu. – “I don’t watch this series anymore.”
  • ani…ani – “neither…nor”

    Nie mam ochoty ani na lody ani na czekoladę. – “I don’t feel like eating neither ice cream nor chocolate.”

Neither...Nor Image

The one expression that does change is nikt (“no one” or “anyone”). It undergoes declension, just like many other parts of speech. This is why we’d say: 

  • Nie mam nikogo. – “I don’t have anyone.”
  • Nikt na mnie nie czeka. – “No one is waiting for me.” 
  • Nikomu nie jesteś nic winna. – “You don’t owe anything to anyone.”

Remember to pay particular attention to which case is used with this word. In this manner, you’ll avoid making mistakes or causing misunderstandings. 

Have you noticed how negative sentences in Polish seem to work slightly differently than in English? That’s because Polish allows—and often requires—double negation.

4. Double Negatives

Twin Sisters

Let us show you some more examples so that you can better understand how double negation in Polish works:

  • Nikt nigdy tu nie przychodzi. – “No one ever comes here.”
    • Literal translation: “No one never doesn’t come here.” 
  • Nikt mi o tym nie powiedział. – “No one told me about it.”
    • Literal translation: “No one didn’t tell me about it.” 
  • Nic mnie już nie obchodzi. – “I don’t care about anything anymore.”
    • Literal translation: “I don’t care about nothing anymore.”

For many Polish learners, this is a completely new concept and may be a bit difficult to get used to. It’s also a reminder that the rules of negation in English and Polish are different. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get the hang of this particular aspect of Polish negation with time. 

5. Final Thoughts

That’s it for today! As we say in Polish: Co za dużo to niezdrowo! (“Too much of a good thing!”)

We hope we’ve helped you learn about negation in the Polish language. It’s not as hard as it might seem at first, even if it differs from what you’re used to in English.

You can refer back to this blog post whenever you’re in doubt regarding how to say “no” in Polish. Keep in mind the spelling rules, don’t be scared of the double negation, and you’ll be fine. Write some examples of negation in the comments’ section to show us what you’ve learned!

Learning negation is very important, but there’s much more to the Polish language than that! To learn in a structured way, give PolishPod101 a try. Our platform gives you incredible resources to learn real-life Polish. We provide fun and engaging lessons on various topics, featuring recordings by native speakers to help you with your Polish comprehension as well as your vocabulary. Don’t hesitate, create your account today!

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All You Need to Know About Polish Verb Tenses

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Did you know that English has 16 tenses? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that Polish has only 3! Namely, these are the past, the present, and the future tenses. 

Polish verb tenses aren’t overly complicated, but they’re definitely an important part of learning the language. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of each tense so that you can understand how they’re formed and used.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Polish Tenses: The Present Tense
  2. Polish Tenses: The Past Tense
  3. Polish Tenses: The Future Tense
  4. Polish Verb Conjugations
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Polish Tenses: The Present Tense

A Person Sitting in Meditation

There’s only one present tense in Polish. It’s used for actions that are habitual as well as those that happen in a given moment.

How do Polish people differentiate between the meaning of each verb, then? Well, they can determine this based on the context or additional words that are included (such as adverbs of time). Another very important thing here is the aspect of the verb: 

  • Imperfective (Niedokonany): used when we want to focus on the action being performed, and not on its completion

  • Perfective (Dokonany): used to focus on the completion of an action

Most Polish dictionaries state the aspect of the verb you’re looking up.

Perfective verbs can’t be used in the present tense. When you conjugate a perfective verb and an imperfective verb in the same way, the perfective verb will give you the future tense form. Here are some examples:

  • kupować (imperfective) / kupić (perfective)

    Kupować becomes kupuję in the first person singular. It’s a form of the present tense meaning “I’m buying” or “I buy.”

    Kupić becomes kupię. It’s a verb in the future tense. An example of its use would be the sentence:

    Kupię polską kartę SIM.
    “I will buy a Polish SIM card.”

  • czytać (imperfective) / przeczytać (perfective)

    Czytać -> 1st person singular: czytam – the present tense

    Przeczytać -> 1st person singular: przeczytam – the future tense

  • pisać (imperfective) / napisać (perfective)

    Pisać -> 1st person singular: piszę – the present tense

    Napisać -> 1st person singular: napiszę – the future tense

Now that you understand the general rule, let’s have a look at more complicated examples. Jeść is an imperfective verb, while zjeść is perfective:

  1. Jem obiad. / “I’m eating lunch.” 
  2. Zazwyczaj nie jem obiadów. / “I don’t usually eat lunch.” 
  3. Zjem obiad. / “I will eat lunch.” 

You know how to speak about obiad (lunch), but how about other Polish meals? Click on the link to find out!

A Cup of Tea
  1. Piję herbatę. / “I’m drinking tea.” 
  2. Codziennie piję herbatę. / “I drink tea every day.” 
  3. Wypiję herbatę. / “I will drink tea.”

Pić is an imperfective verb, while wypić is perfective.

2. Polish Tenses: The Past Tense

Currently, there’s only one past tense in the Polish language. However, there used to be a Polish past tense equivalent to the English past perfect (czas zaprzeszły). You can still find it in older books, but it’s very rarely used today.

The Polish past tense that’s used by modern-day Poles expresses all of the English past tenses. Concepts such as anteriority are expressed through adverbs such as “before” (przedtem) and “after” (potem). The relation between the continuous and simple tenses in English is usually expressed by the choice of verbs in the appropriate aspect.

Last but not least, the Polish past tense makes use of gender. This means that a verb conjugates differently depending on whether the speaker is male or female. 

Enough theory! Don’t worry: It will all become more clear as you look through our examples. Here goes:

Cake
  1. Jadłem/am ciasto i czytałem/am gazetę. / “I was eating cake and reading a newspaper.”

The first form is for male speakers and the second one for female speakers. 

Both jeść (“to eat”) and czytać (“to read”) are imperfective. As you can see, the tense used in the English translation is past continuous as the focus of the sentence is on the action and its narrative quality, not on the result/completion.

What cake do you think the speaker was eating? Watch our video lesson about choosing a cake in Poland to learn some relevant vocabulary. 

Now, here are some more examples of the Polish past tense:

  1. Nie zjadłem/am obiadu. / “I didn’t eat lunch.”

The forms are for male speakers and female speakers respectively. Yet again, zjeść (“to eat”) is a perfective verb. In the English translation, it appears as a verb in the past simple because the focus is on the result of the action.

  1. Wypiłem/am herbatę zanim zaszczekał pies. / “I drank tea before the dog barked.” OR “The dog had barked after I drank tea.”

Both wypić (“to drink”) and zaszczekać (“bark”) are perfective, and the focus is on the completion of the action. The anteriority is expressed with the word “before” (zanim), which is also an option in English as shown in the first translation. However, you could additionally express the anteriority of the same Polish sentence by using the past perfect as shown in the second English translation. 

  1. Piłem/am herbatę, kiedy zaszczekał pies. / “I was drinking tea when the dog barked.”

The verb pić (“to drink”) is imperfective and the focus of this verb is on the action itself. This action also serves as a narrative background to the other one. It’s followed by the perfective verb zaszczekać (“to bark”), which refers to a short, completed action.

Dogs bark, but what sounds do other animals make? Visit our vocabulary list to find out!

A Happy Dog

We hope that, after reviewing these examples, you understand the Polish past tense a little better! 

3. Polish Tenses: The Future Tense

You’ve already seen some forms of the Polish future tense. In fact, there are three ways of forming it—two of which can be used interchangeably. 

A- Imperfective Verbs

Imperfective verbs require a compound form of the future tense. First of all, you need the verb “to be” (być) conjugated in the present tense: 

SINGULARPLURAL
Ja będę – I will beMy będziemy – We will be
Ty będziesz – You will beWy będziecie – You will be
On/ona/ono będzie – He/she/it will beOni, one będą – They will be

Then, you have a choice between two interchangeable forms. The first one is easier as it simply requires adding the infinitive (bezokolicznik) of the second verb: 

  • Będę czytać. / “I will be reading.”

The second form requires the use of the conjugated form of the past tense of the second verb. This also means that you have to pay attention to the gender: 

  • Będę czytał/czytała. / “I will be reading.”

The choice is up to you. The meaning of both forms in English is close to that of the future continuous. The focus is on how/when the action is performed rather than on its completion. 

Speaking of reading, if you would like to incorporate reading Polish books into your language learning strategies, find out what to say at a Polish bookstore.

B- Perfective Verbs

A Person with Binoculars

Perfective verbs used in the future tense undergo conjugation like they would in the present tense, as we mentioned earlier. Here’s an example using the perfective verb przeczytać (“to read”): 

  • Przeczytam gazetę. / “I will read a newspaper.” 

As you can see, the emphasis is on the completion. Namely, the fact that when I’m done, the newspaper will be finished/read by me. 

C- Examples

Here are a few more examples to help you better understand the difference between the forms of the Polish future tense: 

  1. Jutro o 6 będę jadł/jadła kolację z Tomkiem
  1. Jutro o 6 będę jeść kolację z Tomkiem

Both sentences mean, “Tomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.” The verb jeść (“to eat”) is imperfective, which is why it has to be used with one of the two compound forms. The focus of both sentences is on what will be happening in a given moment in the future.

Pssst… Are you about to have dinner with your Polish friends? Check out our lesson Out at Dinner beforehand. 

  1. Zaraz coś zjem. / “I’ll eat something right now.”

This sentence uses the perfective verb zjeść (“to eat”). It focuses on the completion of the action, not on the action being performed. 

  1. Nie będę pił/piła na imprezie. 
  1. Nie będę pić na imprezie. 

Both sentences translate to, “I won’t be drinking at the party.” The focus of the verb is on the behavior of the speaker throughout the party, not on the completion of an action. This meaning requires an imperfective verb and thus the compound future tense. 

  1. Wypiję najwyżej jedno piwo. / “I will drink one beer at most.”

This sentence focuses on the completion of an action (or more precisely here, the lack thereof). It requires a perfective verb with a simple form of the future tense. 

Speaking of, do you like beer? Then head over to our lesson I like beer!

Now that we’ve discussed the Polish future tense, it’s time for a few more words about verb conjugations. 

4. Polish Verb Conjugations

Verb Forms

Now that we’ve covered Polish-language tenses, let’s discuss how they apply to conjugation. 

Polish doesn’t have distinct verb groups like the Romance languages do, where you can tell the group from the verb’s ending. This is why we recommend learning the first and second form of each verb. Doing so will allow you to predict the rest of the conjugations. You can learn more about Polish conjugations in our other blog post and on Cooljugator.

To summarize our discussion of tenses, let’s just re-examine the different ideas that can be expressed with them: 

SENTENCETRANSLATIONTENSEASPECT AND FOCUS
Jem obiad.I’m eating lunch.PresentImperfective

Focus is on the activity, which is taking place in a given moment
Zazwyczaj nie jem obiadów.I don’t usually eat lunch.PresentImperfective

Focus is on the habitual activity itself
Jadłem/am ciasto.I was eating a cake.PastImperfective

Focus is on the activity
Nie zjadłem/am obiadu.I didn’t eat lunch. PastPerfective

Focus is on the completion of the action
Zjem obiad.I will eat lunch.FuturePerfective

Focus is on the completion of the action
Jutro o 6 będę jadł/jadła kolację z TomkiemTomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.Future (interchangeable with the form below)Imperfective

Focus is on the action being performed at a given time
Jutro o 6 będę jeść kolację z Tomkiem.Tomorrow at six, I’ll be eating dinner with Tomek.Future (interchangeable with the form above)Imperfective

Focus is on the action being performed at a given time

Remember that if there are two verbs in Polish, the second verb almost always remains in the infinitive form. The future tense is an exception, however, as it allows forms such as będę jadł (“I will be eating”) as discussed above. 

Another important thing is the marking of the gender in the past, which applies to all persons and numbers. 

Last but not least, it’s crucial to remember the aspect of the verb in order to correctly express yourself in Polish. 

5. Final Thoughts

Today you’ve learned how Polish verb tenses work and what they can describe. Understanding the logic behind them and their relation to English tenses will definitely help you. 

Do you understand tenses in Polish better after reading this article? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Don’t forget to read our article about conjugations in order to learn about verb tenses in Polish in more detail.

Learning about how tenses work and memorizing conjugations is a crucial part of language learning. That said, grammar and vocabulary won’t get you far unless you’re getting enough exposure to the language as it’s used in the real world. PolishPod101 offers several customized learning pathways with hundreds of audio and video recordings by native speakers.

Are you ready to learn real Polish? Start your free trial today!

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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!”)

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30 Must-Know Polish Proverbs

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As an English speaker, you’re likely familiar with the Polish proverb: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” (Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.) 

But did you know that Polish is loaded with even more insightful (and often humorous) proverbs you may never have heard before? 

Polish proverbs and sayings are a big part of the Polish culture. Like anywhere else in the world, such expressions are an important part of the spoken and written language. 

In this article, you’ll learn thirty must-know Polish proverbs along with their English translations and their English equivalents (if one exists). Study them carefully, because they can significantly improve your understanding of everyday Polish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Warnings
  2. Animals
  3. Food
  4. Proverbs with the Word Co
  5. Foreign Affairs
  6. Love
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Warnings

Many Polish proverbs and sayings are used as warnings to help prevent bad things from happening to another person, or to help prepare someone for what to expect. Here’s a number of proverbs that fall under this category.

1. Nieszczęścia chodzą parami.

Literal translation: “Unhappiness comes in pairs.”
English equivalent:Misery loves company.”

Polish people use this saying to describe situations where two bad things happen to someone, or to warn someone that another bad thing may still be coming their way.

2. Jak sobie pościelesz, tak się wyśpisz. 

Literal translation: “How you make your bed will determine how well you’ll sleep.”
English equivalent: “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”

There are many sayings around the world that remind us to be mindful of our actions, because actions always have consequences. This Polish saying is one such proverb!

A Sleeping Man

3. Kto pod kim dołki kopie, ten sam w nie wpada. 

Literal translation and English equivalent: “He who digs a pit for others falls in himself.”

This old Polish proverb reminds us that even if we sometimes feel tempted—or even justified—to make someone else’s life difficult, such actions may have poor consequences for us.  

4. Gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść. 

Literal translation: “When there are six cooks, there’s nothing to eat.”
English equivalent: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Kids Mock Fighting with Kitchen Utensils

Cooperating with others may be useful when trying to make a decision, but too many people working together can result in conflict. In other words, it’s sometimes more beneficial to make a decision on your own or with only a smaller group of people. 

    → All this talk of food made us hungry! Here are 10 Polish Foods you absolutely have to know.

5. Oliwa sprawiedliwa zawsze na wierzch wypływa. 

Literal translation: “Just oil always ends up surfacing.”
English equivalent: “The truth will be found out.”

When you’ve been wronged, you may feel the need to explain your actions to everyone or to fight whatever gossip people spread about you. But one of the top Polish proverbs reminds us that the truth will be found out, even if not immediately.

6. Z kim się zadajesz, takim się stajesz.

Literal translation: “You become who you befriend.”
English equivalent: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”

This proverb is used to warn people to be careful about who they become friends with, as our friends are a reflection of who we are.

2. Animals

Fables are a popular tool for telling cautionary tales and teaching people a variety of morals. It’s not surprising that animals have made it into Polish proverbs and sayings, too. 

7. Lepszy wróbel w garści niż gołąb na dachu. 

Literal translation: “It’s better to have a sparrow in one’s hand than a dove on the roof.”
English equivalent: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

It’s great to have big dreams, but one should also be realistic. One of the most famous Polish proverbs reminds us that sometimes it’s better to settle for something achievable than to keep dreaming about something out of reach. 

8. Nosił wilk razy kilka ponieśli i wilka. 

Literal translation: “The wolf carried a number of times and then was carried itself.”
English equivalent: “The pitcher goes so often to the well that it is broken at last.”

You can get away with bad behavior a few times, but eventually it’ll get noticed and you’ll have to pay for it.

A Wolf

9. Nie dziel skóry na niedźwiedziu.

Literal translation: “Don’t divide a pelt on a (living) bear.”
English equivalent: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

It’s never a good idea to take something for granted that’s not yet certain. This is a good piece of advice for both our personal and professional lives. 

10. Kiedy wejdziesz między wrony musisz krakać tak jak one. 

Literal translation: “When you’re among crows, you must caw like them.”
English equivalent: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

One of the most common Polish proverbs, this saying reminds us about the importance of fitting in. It’s a good tip for traveling and it can be applied to many social situations. 

11. Darowanemu koniowi w zęby się nie zagląda.

Literal translation and English equivalent:Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Horse

If someone gives you a gift, don’t question its value. 


3. Food

Food features heavily on the Polish proverb scene—Polish people certainly love to eat well!

12. Apetyt rośnie w miarę jedzenia

Literal translation and English equivalent: “Appetite comes with eating.”

The more you have, the more you want. Keep this saying in mind to avoid getting greedy. 

13. Bez pracy nie ma kołaczy

Literal translation: “Without work, there’s no kalach [cake].”
English equivalent: “No pain, no gain.”

It’s not surprising that both Polish and English have a proverb on the importance of hard work. Nothing in life comes for free! 

14. Niedaleko spada jabłko od jabłoni. 

Literal translation: “The apple falls not far from the tree.”
English equivalent: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Apple Tree

Family resemblance can often be seen in more than just facial features. This saying is similar to another proverb that’s popular in both languages: Jaki ojciec taki syn. (“Like father, like son.”) 


15. Jaki do jedzenia, taki do roboty.

Literal translation: “The way he eats (is) the way he works.”
English equivalent: “Quick at meat, quick at work.”

You could take this proverb literally, and decide to evaluate people’s suitability for work based on how they eat. Or you could take it figuratively, and read that people show their traits in all they do. 

4. Proverbs with the Word Co 

Co means “what” in Polish, but it’s also used for comparisons in many idioms and proverbs. 

16. Co dwie głowy, to nie jedna

Literal translation: “Two heads aren’t one.”
English equivalent: “Two heads are better than one.”

A Man Scratching His Head

This proverb is straightforward and useful. Are you in trouble? Ask someone for help and advice! Two heads are better than one… 

    → …but what about the other body parts in Polish? Click on the link to learn or review the related vocabulary.

17. Co kraj, to obyczaj

Literal translation: “Every country has its customs.”
English equivalent: “Different strokes for different folks.”

Whether it’s during your travels or in your everyday life, people have different preferences, customs, and beliefs. Remember this proverb next time you feel surprised that something is being done differently than you’re used to. 


18. Co nagle, to po diable. 

Literal translation: “Things done in a hurry are cursed by the devil.”
English equivalent: “Haste makes waste.”

A Woman in a Devil’s Costume

Take your time, because things done and decisions made in a rush often have their faults. 

19. Co się stało, to się nie odstanie

Literal translation: “What happened can’t unhappen.”
English equivalent: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

There’s no point in crying over spilled milk. The key to a happy life is to learn from your mistakes, not to beat yourself up over them.

20. Co za dużo, to niezdrowo. 

Literal translation: “What’s too much isn’t healthy.”
English equivalent: “All things in moderation.”

Remember to enjoy everything in moderation. 

5. Foreign Affairs

Thus far, our list of Polish proverbs has included sayings with exact or similar English equivalents. However, most Polish sayings about foreign countries and cities tend to be culturally specific and therefore unique.

21. Wszystkie drogi prowadzą do Rzymu. 

Literal translation and English equivalent:All roads lead to Rome.”

Colosseum in Rome

This proverb means that however you try to obtain a certain goal, it will lead to the same result. 

22. Gdzie Rzym, gdzie Krym.

Literal translation: “Where’s Rome, where’s Crimea.” 

Here’s another old Polish proverb related to Rome. This saying has no close English equivalent. It’s used when two things are completely different or have no relationship to each other. 

23. Polak, Węgier – dwa bratanki, i do szabli, i do szklanki.

Literal translation: “Pole and Hungarian—two brothers, when it comes to the sword and the glass.”

This proverb has no equivalent in English, but there is a literal translation in Hungarian. It refers to the historical friendship between the two countries.  

24. I w Paryżu nie zrobią z owsa ryżu.

Literal translation: Even in Paris, they can’t make rice out of oats.
English equivalent: You can’t make something out of nothing.

A View of Paris

Historically, Paris has been perceived as the European cradle of art and culture. This Polish proverb means that even in such a sophisticated place, certain things cannot be done.

25. Mądry Polak po szkodzie.

Literal translation: “A Polish person is smart after the damage is done.”
English equivalent: “It’s easy to be wise after the event.”

While this proverb is very specific to Poles, it does have a more general English equivalent. After all, we all tend to be wise after we’ve acted and seen the consequences. 

6. Love

Love: Perhaps the most important thing in the world. It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of insightful Polish proverbs about love, romance, and heartbreak! Here are just a few. 

26. Co z oczu to z serca. 

Literal translation: “What comes from eyes comes from the heart.”
English equivalent: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Love is a great and powerful feeling, but when we haven’t seen someone for a long time this feeling can fade away. 

27. Czas leczy rany.

Literal translation: “Time heals wounds.”
English equivalent: “Time heals all wounds.”

A Crying Woman

You may know the truth of this saying already. Suffering is a common human experience, but it subsides with time. 

    → When dealing with the pain of a breakup, it can really help to know you’re not alone. Here are some relatable Breakup Quotes in Polish to help get you through!

28. Serce nie sługa.

Literal translation: “The heart isn’t a servant.”
English equivalent: “The heart knows no master.”

The heart wants what the heart wants, and it doesn’t always listen to reason! 


29. Miłość jest ślepa.  

Literal translation and English equivalent: “Love is blind.”

Not only does the heart close its ears to reason, but it’s also blind the minute you fall in love. 

30. Na bezrybiu i rak ryba.

Literal translation: “When there’s no fish a crab becomes fish.”
English equivalent: “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

When life circumstances aren’t amazing, you sometimes have to accept less than you normally would. This saying can help you deal with hardships in love, too. 


7. Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of wisdom in Polish proverbs, and you’ve just learned thirty of them! Which of these proverbs is your favorite, and why? Let us know in the comments!

Learning proverbs is an important step in language learning, but you’ll need more than a few witty phrases to become fluent. A well-designed plan of study is something you could really use to see quick results. Head to PolishPod101.com today and create your account to unlock access to countless lessons by native speakers, vocabulary learning tools, and much more!

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The Best English Words in the Polish Language

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English did not become a popular language in Poland until somewhat recently, due to the country’s political situation until the late 80s. Since then, English has been slowly winning the hearts of Poles. The term we use to describe English words used in Polish, whether modified or non-modified, is anglicyzm (“anglicism“). What about Polish words in English, you may wonder? Keep reading to find out.

Today, English vocabulary is ever-present in the Polish language. English terms and expressions are used particularly often in the Polish corporate world. Learning these words is an easy hack to quickly expand your Polish vocabulary and help you sound more natural when speaking Polish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. English Words Made Polish
  2. How Do I Say it in Polish?
  3. Common Polish Words in English
  4. Final Thoughts

English Words Made Polish 

Let’s start with English words in Polish that have been modified to sound or look more Polish. These words are divided into two groups: 

1. Those that retain their original English meaning
2. Those that may look or sound similar to English words, but actually carry a different meaning

Shared Meaning

Firstly, we should have a look at loanwords and anglicisms in Polish that have the same meaning as the English words they’re derived from. Don’t be fooled by the spelling! 

  • dżinsy – jeans
  • dżersey – jersey
  • lewisy – Levi’s
  • bobslej – bobsleigh
  • forhend / bekhend – forehand / backhand
  • mecz – match
  • budżet – budget
  • flesz – flash
  • komputer – computer

An Angry Man with Steam Coming Out of His Ears
  • ksero – Xerox
  • wideo – video
  • lider – leader
  • menedżer – manager
  • stres – stress
  • chipsy / czipsy – chips
  • celebryci – celebrities

As you can see, you can find these words in many different areas of life, from clothing to technology. All of these English words in Polish are commonly used, even if linguists and Polish language specialists aren’t always happy about it. 

Beware of These Words

Knowing English words in Polish can be extremely useful, but you should bear in mind that some words with English etymology have a different meaning than the one you’d guess:

  • adidasy
    A Pair of Sneakers
    This word comes from the activewear brand Adidas. However, the word adidasy is used in a more general sense to mean “sneakers.” So if you hear a Polish person use this word, it tells you nothing about the brand the person is talking about. Take this sentence for example:

    Muszę sobie kupić nowe adidasy. (“I need to get myself sneakers.”)
  • pampersy

    This word is derived from the Pampers brand of diapers. Just like adidasy, however, its Polish meaning is wide and it refers to diapers in general.

    Want to expand your vocabulary even more? You can find some Polish Expressions Used for Children on our website.
  • wazelina

    Here’s yet another name on our list that comes from a brand name: Vaseline. No surprises when it comes to the meaning: it refers to petroleum jelly products in general, and not specifically to those produced by the Vaseline brand.

  • drin(k)

    When you ask someone, “Would you like a drink?” in English, it may refer to an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. In Polish, the word drin(k) only refers to a cocktail.

  • grill 

    The English word “grill” is both a noun that describes the barbecue grill and a verb referring to the act of using the barbecue. In Polish, grill may refer to a barbecue grill or to a social event equivalent to a barbecue:

    Poszliśmy wczoraj na grilla do Marka. (“We went to a barbecue at Marek’s yesterday.”)

    As it’s topical, here are some Polish Recipes for Fluency!

As you can see, the meaning of these similar words in Polish and English can sometimes be difficult to predict. Not knowing the right one may cause confusion, but fortunately, this article can help you avoid many linguistic traps!

How Do I Say it in Polish?

You’re now familiar with many English words used in Polish, but what happens with things like celebrity names, brands, or movie titles? 


Famous People

A Famous Actress on the Red Carpet Giving Autographs

You’ve been learning Polish, so you probably know by now that many words and parts of speech undergo declension—including names and surnames. Have a look at what happens to the name of famous Polish actor Marek Kondrat: 

  • Marek Kondrat to świetny aktor. – “Marek Kondrat is a great actor.”
  • Jaki jest twój ulubiony film z Markiem Kondratem? – “What’s your favorite movie with Marek Kondrat?”
  • Nigdy nie słyszałem o Marku Kondracie! – “I’ve never heard about Marek Kondrat!”

As you can see, both the name and surname change form depending on the case needed in a given sentence. Foreign names and surnames undergo similar changes: 

  • Czekam na nowy film z Tomem Hanksem! – “I’m waiting for the new movie with Tom Hanks.”
  • Mój tata słucha Stinga, ale ja wolę Elvisa Presleya. – “My dad listens to Sting, but I prefer Elvis Presley.”

Be careful, though! Not all names undergo such changes, particularly when it comes to foreign female names: 

  • Słucham Johnnego Casha/Pitbulla/Louisa Armstronga. – “I listen to Johnny Cash/Pitbull/Louis Armstrong.”
  • Słucham Missy Elliot/Taylor Swift/Jennifer Lopez. – “I listen to Missy Elliot/Taylor Swift/Jennifer Lopez.”

We’ve shown you how to say the names of foreign singers in Polish. Do you know anything about Polish musicians, though? If not, check out our series about the Top 10 Polish Musicians.

Foreign Brands

Both foreign and local brands usually undergo declension in the Polish language. Here are some examples: 

  • Lubię Nike’a. – “I like Nike.”
  • Jadę do Marksa i Spencera. – “I’m going to Marks & Spencer.”
  • Kupiłam sobie nowego iPhone’a. – “I bought myself a new iPhone.”
  • Miałem już 5 Samsungów i zawsze byłem z nich zadowolony. – “I’ve had 5 Samsungs and I’ve always been happy with them.”
  • Ta sukienka jest z Zary, a nie z H&M-u. – “This dress is from Zara and not H&M.”

Do you know how to talk about your favorite clothing items in Polish? If not, check out our vocabulary lesson on clothes.

Clothes Hanging on a Rack

Do listen closely to what native speakers say, because there are some exceptions when it comes to the declension of brand names:

Uwielbiam robić zakupy w Mango! – “I love shopping at Mango!”

What’s the Name of This Movie in Polish?

A Woman at the Movies Holding Popcorn and a Drink

English movie titles are usually translated. Nevertheless, very popular movies and series are sometimes referred to by their English names or acronyms. For instance, you could say “Star Wars” or Gwiezdne Wojny as well as “LOTR” or Władca Pierścieni. Science-fiction and fantasy fans, in particular, often refer to movies and series by their English names. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re always understood by the general population.

When it comes to movie translations, many are quite straightforward. If you know the right word in Polish, you can simply try your luck at translating a movie title:

  • Ojciec Chrzestny – “The Godfather
  • Kasyno – “Casino”
  • Szczęki – “Jaws”

Movie titles with proper nouns usually remain unchanged. Some good examples are Titanic, Pearl Harbor, and Jackie Brown.

Unfortunately, translations are sometimes far from the original English title. You may be better off trying to describe the plot or cast of the movie you’re referring to. Have a look at some examples of this phenomenon: 

  • Za wszelką cenę means “at any cost” in Polish, but the English title is Million Dollar Baby.
  • Skazany na śmierć is “sentenced to death” in Polish, but this is the title given to the series Prison Break.
  • Szklana Pułapka means “glass trap” and it’s the Polish title for the Mission Impossible series.
  • Elektryczny morderca is one of the most famous movie (mis)translations in Polish. It means “Electric Murderer” and this title was given to the first Terminator movie. 

Do you like going to the cinema? It’s much more fun when you have company! If you don’t know how to invite someone to see a movie, see our vocabulary lesson for Offering an Invitation

Common Polish Words in English

You’ve learned quite a bit today about English words used in Polish. We’re sure you’d like to know now whether there are also some common Polish words in English. The answer to this question is both yes and no. While you won’t find that many English words of Polish origin, there’s at least one word that comes from Polish indirectly:

  • Gherkin

    This word was first borrowed from a Slavic language, likely from the Polish word ogórek (“cucumber”), and entered the German language as Gurke. After that, English took over the German word, calling it what we know today as “gherkin.”

A Cucumber That’s Half-sliced

Polish cuisine has also become well-known in other countries thanks to Polish migrants. Polish dish names are among the most common Polish words used in English. Some of them retain their Polish form (pierogi) while others become an anglicised version of the Polish word (barszcz – “borscht”). To learn more about Polish cuisine, remember to visit our lesson “10 Polish Foods.”

You should also know that second-generation Polish immigrants often use Polish words in English. They do this especially when communicating with representatives of their community. Such use of common Polish words in English is part of a language phenomenon known as Poglish

Final Thoughts

In this article, you’ve learned about the most common English words in the Polish language. We have also discussed linguistic traps, how to pronounce famous names in Polish, and how Polish cuisine has affected the English language. This information can help you better communicate with native Polish speakers and sound more like a native yourself!

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot more ground to cover. What you really need is a structured, well-designed approach to Polish learning—and that’s exactly what you’ll find on the PolishPod101 platform.

Deepen your knowledge of the Polish language and culture with countless lessons and recordings from native speakers. Start your free trial today and explore all of our website’s functionalities! You’ll love our word bank, dictionary, and array of other learning tools. 

Don’t go yet! If you happen to know some more common Polish words used in English, let us know in the comments!

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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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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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