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Archive for the 'Polish Culture' Category

All You Need to Know About the Polish National Anthem

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Most countries have an official national song, also known as an anthem, sung or played during important occasions. These songs are usually different from tracks that people listen to for pleasure. The music often is a march or a hymn in style, while the lyrics often refer to feelings of patriotism and national pride.

Poland is no different, and the Poles have their own national anthem. From a learner’s point of view, the Polish national anthem is an interesting way of learning more about the country’s history and culture. The story of the anthem itself is interesting as well. Keep reading to find out more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Lyrics
  2. History of the Dąbrowski’s Mazurka Polish National Anthem
  3. Occasions for Singing the Polish National Anthem
  4. Interesting Facts About the Polish Anthem
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Lyrics   

Musical Notes

The Polish anthem is known under the name Mazurek Dąbrowskiego (Dąbrowski’s mazurka). Mazurek (mazurka in English) is a type of dance. Mazurka is a musical form that originated in Poland, based on Polish folk dances, but in the nineteenth century, it became popular outside Poland, especially in Europe and the United States. It’s also worth noting that mazurek in Polish can refer to a Polish cake, typically made for Easter.

Going back to the anthem, it’s worth mentioning that not all Polish people may know its actual name. Because it’s often referred to by its first words Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła (literally: Poland hasn’t died yet), some people would provide that as an answer to the question about the anthem’s name. Here are the full Polish anthem lyrics, along with a translation: 

Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, – Poland has not yet perished,

Kiedy my żyjemy. – So long as we still live.

Co nam obca przemoc wzięła, – What the foreign force has taken from us,

Szablą odbierzemy. – We shall with sabre retrieve. 

[Chorus] Marsz, marsz Dąbrowski, – March, march, Dąbrowski

Z ziemi włoskiej do Polski, – From Italy to Poland.

Za twoim przewodem – Under your command

Złączym się z narodem. – We shall rejoin the nation. [end of chorus]

Przejdziem Wisłę, przejdziem Wartę, – We’ll cross the Vistula, we’ll cross the Warta,

Będziem Polakami, – We shall be Polish.

Dał nam przykład Bonaparte, – Bonaparte has given us the example

Jak zwyciężać mamy. – Of how we should prevail.

[Chorus again]

Jak Czarniecki do Poznania  – Like Czarniecki to Poznań

Po szwedzkim zaborze, – After the Swedish annexation,

Dla ojczyzny ratowania – To save our homeland,

Wrócim się przez morze. – We shall return across the sea.

[Chorus again]

Już tam ojciec do swej Basi – A father, in tears,

Mówi zapłakany – Says to his Basia

„Słuchaj jeno, pono nasi, – Listen, our boys are said

Biją w tarabany”. – To be beating the tarabans.

[Chorus again]

You can listen to the anthem, as performed by Polish soldiers, here on the official channel of the Ministry of Defense:

Learning Polish by listening to songs and analyzing their lyrics is also a good way of polishing your Polish. You can find the top 5 tools for learning Polish, by clicking on the link. You can also learn more about famous Polish musicians thanks to our resources about Adam Makowicz, Frederic Chopin, and Karol Szymanowski.  

As you can see, the Polish national anthem lyrics are quite poetic. The feeling speaking through the song is that of defending the Polish territory from foreign forces. This has to do with the difficult history of Poland, which disappeared from maps in 1795 during the third partition of Poland. Polish territories and identity have been under threat numerous times throughout the country’s history, which is why the sentiment of protecting Polishness prevails in the national anthem. 

Interesting mentions include two Polish rivers, the Vistula and the Warta and the French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte. The lyrics also mention a saber as a weapon, giving you an idea about the age of this anthem. Last but not least, we have the mention of tarabans, which are drum-like, percussive instruments of Turkish origin that used to be played in Poland and Ukraine. 

If you’re interested in Polish history you should read the trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It’s a long commitment so before you do, check out our lesson about the movie based on a part of this book series, “Ogniem i mieczem.”  

2. History of the Dąbrowski’s Mazurka Polish National Anthem

Polish soldiers marching

The lyrics to the anthem were written during the third partition of Poland. It was created in Italy (Włochy), where the Polish Legions were then stationed. The idea was to increase the morale of people whose country no longer existed on the map. The song quickly became popular among soldiers. The author is a Polish poet and military activist, Józef Wybicki. The original lyrics were slightly different from the current version of the anthem. In 2021 there was a law drafted to introduce some changes, including swapping lines around, but so far, it hasn’t been passed. 

Interestingly enough, even today, we don’t know who created the music for the Polish national anthem. The composition first became the anthem unofficially and then became it officially in 1926. That, of course, means that there were other Polish national anthems before this one. Previous national anthems included Bogurodzica, Gaude Mater Polonia, and Rota, with Bogurodzica being the first Polish anthem. 

We told you how to say Italy two paragraphs back, but do you know how to say the names of other countries, including your own? Check out our lesson on world countries to learn all you need to know. 

3. Occasions for Singing the Polish National Anthem

A Polish Flag

The anthem is played and sung during Polish national holidays and meaningful anniversaries such as: 

  • Święto Niepodległości (Independence Day)
  • Święto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja (Constitution Day – celebrating the Constitution of 3 May 1791)
  • Narodowy Dzień Pamięci „Żołnierzy Wyklętych” (“Cursed Soldiers” National Remembrance Day – the anniversary of the execution of Polish officers)
  • Narodowy Dzień Pamięci Powstania Warszawskiego (Warsaw Uprising National Remembrance Day) and more

Sometimes the anthem is just played, and sometimes both played and sung. Apart from national Polish holidays, it’s also played during sports competitions, particularly international ones, such as football matches or the Olympics. 

The national anthem belongs to the group of Polish national symbols (symbole narodowe) stipulated in the Constitution (konstytucja). This means that it’s protected by law. The etiquette when the anthem is played is to stand up, take off any headgear a person is wearing and remain silent and respectful. Soldiers and other people wearing uniforms should salute. Being disrespectful to the national symbols can be penalized with a fine of 20 up to 5000 PLN.

4. Interesting Facts About the Polish Anthem

The Polish Emblem

The anthem is taught in Polish schools. Still, some Polish people make mistakes when singing it, and some don’t know all the lyrics. It’s particularly common to sing póki my żyjemy (until we live) instead of kiedy my żyjemy (when we live) in the second stanza. There have been reports of politicians and other famous people singing the anthem incorrectly by misplacing words or entirely not knowing some parts of it and humming to the music instead. Do you remember all the lyrics of your country’s anthem? Let us know the answer and where you’re from in the comments section. 

In 2002 during the FIFA World Cup, a famous Polish singer, Edyta Górniak sang the anthem in her own artistic interpretation. The footballers were unable to sing to her tune. Many people thought this was disrespectful and unnecessary. The performance is still well-remembered today. Some countries are more lenient or encouraging toward interpretations of the anthem, notably the USA. Poland remains quite conservative in that respect, as another controversy of this sort is quite recent. It was caused by a different Polish singer, Lidia Kopania, who also sang her own interpretation of the anthem during a boxing event in 2021. Yet again, the Polish public found it disrespectful, but the backlash was smaller, perhaps because the event was less prominent.

Speaking of sporting events, do you know what’s the most popular sport in Poland? Click on the link to familiarize yourself with our lesson on this topic. Before you check the answer, try to guess what it could be. 

5. Final Thoughts

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Today you’ve learned all you need to know about the Polish anthem. We hope that the history of the anthem was interesting for you and that you’ve gained more understanding of Polish history thanks to it. Anthems often tell us a lot about the cultural context of the country.

Knowing more about Polish culture will help you with the understanding of the language, but you need more to actually speak it. You can start or continue your Polish language journey with PolishPod101. It’s a platform with many, many, many recordings by native speakers that can help you improve your listening comprehension skills, vocabulary, and general Polish knowledge. Don’t dilly dally and join us at PolishPod101 today!

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Useful Polish Classroom Phrases

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Many people come to Poland to learn Polish or study. Regardless of the level of education you’re trying to obtain, Polish classroom phrases will come in handy. It’s also good to know them for cultural reasons, for instance, to understand better what’s happening in Polish movies or series. Of course, it’d also be very useful to know them for general Polish language learning.

The knowledge of the most common Polish phrases used in the classroom is also very helpful in understanding more about the country’s culture. The way that teachers and students interact allows you to better understand the levels of formality in the Polish language.

Please note that Polish is a gendered language, and genders will be marked in this blog post as follows:

  • m – masculine
  • f – feminine
  • n – neuter  

Without further ado, let’s discuss the most common Polish phrases used in the classroom!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Basic Classroom Greetings
  2. Understand Instructions from Teachers
  3. Ask for Clarification from Teachers and Classmates
  4. Explain Absence and Tardiness
  5. Talking About Favorite Subjects
  6. Check for School Supplies
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Basic Classroom Greetings

Two People Bowing while Greeting Someone

Greetings are a part of everyday life. When you live in Poland, the skill of saying hello no matter the time of day can come in very handy. In the classroom environment, there are certain special greetings you should memorize: 

  • Dzień dobry. – Good Day.

    You can simply say Good Day when entering the classroom. However, people, especially children, use a special greeting to show their respect for the teacher:

    Dzień dobry, Pani (Profesor). – Good Day, teacher. (literally: Mrs Professor)

    Dzień dobry, Panie Profesorze. – Good morning, teacher. (literally: Mr Professor)

    Dzień dobry, Panu. – Good morning, teacher.

    This form is also used at higher learning institutions. It’s worth noting that the required level of formality will depend on the personal preferences of a lecturer or rules at a given institution.
  • Cześć! / Siema! – Hi!

    Ex. Siema is a slang word for cześć.
    To say “hi” to fellow students, we use the expressions above. Both can also be used to say “bye.”
  • Co tam? – What’s up?

    We can also ask someone how they’re doing informally by using the above expression.

  • Do jutra! – See you tomorrow!

    Another informal expression used to say goodbye only. 

Now that you know how to say hello in different ways, you may also want to learn three ways to say “Bye” in Polish. All of them are basic Polish phrases.  

2. Understand Instructions from Teachers

A Student Confused After Hearing a Teacher’s Explanation

There are a number of instructions teachers use to communicate with their students. Traditionally, teachers in Poland require a fair amount of obedience. What can look harsh to an English speaker is related to the cultural straightforwardness of Polish, where words of politeness aren’t always used.

  • (A teraz) słuchajcie uważnie. – (And now) listen carefully. 

    A phrase often used by teachers before important details of a lesson come.

  • Proszę o ciszę! – Be quiet, please.

    Cisza! – Silence!

    Both phrases could be used by Polish teachers to regain control of a classroom where children or students are behaving badly.

  • To bardzo ważne. – It’s very important.

    Classroom phrases for teachers in Polish differ from teacher to teacher, but many like to underline the importance of something in this way.

  • Nie ma się z czego śmiać. – There’s nothing funny here.

    Polish children can laugh when uncalled for like any other children. That’s why Polish teachers will sometimes use this expression.

  • Wyciągamy karteczki. – We’re taking out pieces of paper.

    Polish classroom words and phrases also include the ones related to tests. Many tests in Polish schools are announced, and then they’re called klasówka. When teachers want to check whether students are learning systematically, they also prepare unannounced tests called kartkówka.
  • Any questions? – Czy są jakieś pytania?

    This isn’t a request per se, but it’s a phrase worth noting as teachers often ask them after concluding a topic or before finishing a lesson.

Classroom phrases for teachers in Polish, include the top 5 pet phrases. Check them out with our lesson. You can also learn more about learning strategies with the power of a good Polish teacher.  

3. Ask for Clarification from Teachers and Classmates

School Friends

If you’re a foreign student, you may not understand everything that a teacher or classmate asks from you. That’s why our Polish classroom phrases for students include asking for clarification from others: 

  • Nie rozumiem. – I don’t understand.

    Example:

    A: Jaka jest Pańska godność? – What is your name, Sir? (literally: What’s your dignity?)

    B: Nie rozumiem. – I don’t understand.
  • Czy może Pan/Pani powtórzyć? – Can you repeat that, Sir/Madam?

    Czy możesz powtórzyć? – Can you repeat that?

    Example:

    A: Jak leci? – How is it going?

    B: Nie rozumiem. Czy możesz powtórzyć? – I don’t understand. Can you repeat that?
  • Chciałam zgłosić nieprzygotowanie. – I wanted to say I’m not prepared.

    In Polish schools, some teachers ask children to answer questions orally and be graded while standing in front of the classroom. The questions usually revolve around what was discussed during the last few lessons. A student is allowed to tell the teacher that they’re not prepared a few times during the term. However, they need to say it before the teacher asks them to answer questions. When a student wants to express that, they use the phrase above.  
  • Mam pytanie. – I have a question.

    When you want to ask a question to a teacher you usually raise your hand to get their attention before you do that.

  • Co powiedział nauczyciel? – What did the teacher say? (when the teacher is a man)

    Co powiedziała nauczycielka? – What did the teacher say? (when the teacher is a woman)

    If you don’t understand what the teacher said, you can ask about that. Of course, there are slang words that children and teenagers use for teachers such as belfer (m) / belferka (f) or facet (m) / facetka (f).
These Polish words and phrases may come in handy during Polish lessons. To learn clarification phrases for other situations, visit our lesson “Can You Say It Again in Polish?”.

4. Explain Absence and Tardiness

A Person Giving an Explanation

Polish children, teenagers, and older students are great at coming up with excuses for their absence and tardiness. That’s something that students seem to have in common all around the world. Here are some Polish classroom words and phrases that can come in handy when you need an excuse yourself: 

  • Źle się czułem (m) / czułam (f). – I wasn’t feeling well.

    Example: Nie przyszłam na zajęcia, bo źle się czułam. – I didn’t come to class, because I was feeling unwell. (when the speaker is a woman)

    Nie przyszedłem na zajęcia, bo źle się czułem. – I didn’t come to class, because I was feeling unwell. (when the speaker is a man)
  • Przepraszam za spóźnienie, uciekł mi autobus. – Sorry I’m late. I’ve missed the bus.

    Przepraszam za spóźnienie, zaspałem (m) / zaspałam (f). – Sorry I’m late. I’ve overslept.

    Przepraszam za spóźnienie, straciłem (m) / straciłam (f) poczucie czasu. – Sorry I’m late. I’ve lost track of time.
  • Nie mam pracy domowej, bo zjadł mi ją pies. – I didn’t bring my homework, my dog ate it.

    Of course, some students would try this excuse. However, telling the teacher that one is unprepared is also an option to avoid consequences, as long as the student hasn’t used up their limit.

  • Przepraszam, nie zrobiłem (m) / zrobiłam (f) pracy domowej. –  I’m sorry, I didn’t do my homework.

  • Zapomniałem (m) / Zapomniałam (f) książki / zeszytu. – I’ve forgotten my book/notebook.

What excuses did you use at school, or were you too cool for school and played truant often? Let us know in the comments section. 

5. Talking About Favorite Subjects

A Stack of Books with Names of School Subjects

There are some people who simply don’t or didn’t like school. But even they usually had at least one favorite subject. The most common Polish phrases used in the classroom include those to speak about people’s preferences in that respect: 

  • matematyka – math

  • chemia – chemistry

    Ex. Jestem dobra z matematyki i chemii. – I’m good at math and chemistry.
  • fizyka – physics

    Ex. Nie rozumiem fizyki! – I don’t understand physics.

  • historia – history

    Historia nie jest trudna, ale jest dużo dat do zapamiętania. – History isn’t difficult, but there are many dates to remember.

  • (język) polski – Polish

    Polski jest fajny poza gramatyką. – Polish is cool, apart from the grammar.

  • (język) angielski – English

    Ex. Angielski jest łatwy. – English is easy.
  • geografia – geography

    Ex. Geografia Europy jest skomplikowana. – European geography is complicated.

  • biologia – biology

    Biologia nie jest obowiązkowa w mojej szkole. – Biology isn’t obligatory at my school.

  • WF (wychowanie fizyczne) – PE (physical education)

    Lubię sport, ale nie lubię WFu. – I like sports, but I don’t like PE.

  • Mój ulubiony przedmiot to [subject]. – My favorite subject is [subject].

    Ex. Mój ulubiony przedmiot to (język) polski. – My favorite subject is Polish.

  • Nie lubię [subject]. – I don’t like [subject].

    Ex. Nie lubię fizyki. – I don’t like physics.

  • Jestem dobry (m) / dobra (f) z [subject]. – I’m good at [subject].

    Jestem dobry z matmy. – I’m good at maths.

    Ex. Matma is a slang word for matematyka.

  • Jestem słaby (m) / słaba (f) z [subject]. – I’m bad at [subject].

    Ex. Jestem słaby z WFu – I’m bad at PE.

  • Mam dobre / złe oceny z [subject]. – I have good/bad grades in [subject].

    Ex. Mam złe oceny z geografii. – I have bad grades in geography.

If you’d like to learn more Polish vocabulary on this topic, here’s a lesson on talking about school subjects in Polish. You may also want to learn more about the education system in Poland

6. Check for School Supplies

A Backpack

It’s equally important to be able to speak about school supplies. Some of them are similar to the ones you can find in the office. Here’s a list of Polish classroom phrases for students:

  • zeszyt – textbook

  • książka – book

  • długopis – pen

  • pióro – fountain pen

  • ołówek – pencil

  • plecak – backpack

  • kalkulator – calculator

  • Zgubiłem (m) / Zgubiłam (f) mój (m) / moje (n) / moją (f) [supply]. – I’ve lost my [supply].

    Here the choice is between the form for a male and female speaker, and then the form of the word “my” has to be in agreement with the gender of the noun used.

    Ex. Zgubiłem mój długopis. – I’ve lost my pen. (said by a man)

    Zgubiłam moje pióro. – I’ve lost my fountain pen. (said by a woman)

    Zgubiłam moją książkę. – I’ve lost my book. (said by a woman)
  • Potrzebny mi nowy (m) / nowa (f) / nowe (n) [supply]. – I need a new [supply].

    Ex. Potrzebny mi nowy kalkulator. – I need a new calculator.

  • Widziałeś (m) / widziałaś (f) mój (m) / moje (n) / moją (f) [supply]? – Have you seen my [supply].

    Ex. Widziałaś mój plecak? – Have you seen my backpack? (When a woman is asked).

Note that our list of Polish words and phrases doesn’t have a name for uniform (mundurek szkolny). That’s because they’re not obligatory in Poland.

Do you know by now what’s in your school bag? If you still have doubts, review our lesson on this topic by clicking on the link and learning even more basic Polish phrases. 

7. Final Thoughts 

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all the Polish classroom words and phrases. They’ll come in handy whether you’re taking a Polish course, attending a Polish school, or living in Poland. Perhaps it made you remember the times when you were at school yourself.

Knowing classroom phrases for teachers in Polish, as well as these for students, is just the beginning of the road. To truly speak the language, you should use a platform that has countless recordings from native speakers and a large Polish lessons database to help you learn Polish vocabulary and much more. PolishPod101 is exactly that kind of platform. Try it out today and learn Polish with us! 

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Must-Know Polish Restaurant Phrases 2022

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Polish food has its fans all over the world. That’s why when you’re in Poland, you’d almost certainly like to visit one of the Polish restaurants. Restaurants in Poland, of course, are not limited to serving Polish cuisine, and you’ll be able to find any type of food in this country.

In this blog post, you’ll learn what to say when entering a restaurant, how to behave during the meal, and everything about ordering. This is just a short summary of all the useful Polish restaurant phrases that you’ll get to know thanks to our article.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Basic Polish Phrases in a Restaurant Before Dining
  2. Ordering Food and Drinks
  3. Learn Polish Restaurant Phrases to Use During Dining
  4. Polish Restaurant Phrases for After Dining
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Basic Polish Phrases in a Restaurant Before Dining

A Table That’s Been Reserved

Polish people eat with forks, knives, and spoons. You can expect different cutlery in establishments serving different cuisines. For instance, a Japanese restaurant is likely to give you chopsticks. If you feel you don’t know the right vocabulary, check out our lesson on food utensils and tableware.

A traditional Polish meal is obiad which is a big, warm meal, translated as lunch or dinner. Both translations are slightly imprecise. It consists of pierwsze danie (first course), usually soup, drugie danie (main course, literally: second course) and deser (dessert).

Now that you know a bit more about Polish food, you’re ready to eat in a restaurant. However, before you can sit down and eat a meal, you have to get a table. Here’s an example of how to book it in Polish: 

Czy mógłbym/mogłabym zarezerwować stolik dla dwóch osób na sobotę, 7 maja o 5 po południu? – Can I get a table for two on Saturday, May 7th, at 5pm?

The first form of the verb móc, is used by male speakers and the second by female speakers. Of course, we rarely call a restaurant to provide all details immediately. More probably, it would be a phone conversation that would go along these lines: 

A: Dzień dobry! Czy mógłbym / mogłabym zarezerwować stolik? – Good Day. Can I book a table?

B: Oczywiście. Na kiedy? – Certainly. For when?

A: Na sobotę, 7 maja. – Saturday, the 7th of May.

B: Na którą godzinę? – What time?

A: Na 5 po południu. – 5 PM. 

B: Na ile osób? – For how many people?

A: Dla dwóch. – For two.

B: Na jakie nazwisko ma być rezerwacja? – Under what name should I make the booking?

A: Nowak. – Nowak. 

Bookings are usually necessary for more expensive restaurants and very popular places, particularly over the weekend on busy days such as public holidays. Especially if you want to visit a particular place and you’re in Poland for a short time, remember to make a booking to avoid disappointment.

Sometimes you’ll also arrive at a restaurant without making a booking. Here are some of the most common Polish restaurant phrases to use in such a situation:

  • Poproszę o stolik dla 4 osób. – A table for 4, please.

  • Czy są stoliki na zewnątrz? – Do you have tables outside?

  • Czy są stoliki dla palących? – Do you have any tables in the smoking section?

    Poland banned smoking in public spaces in 2010. This means that unless there’s an outside section in a restaurant, there won’t be any tables where smoking is allowed.  
  • Jak długo będziemy musieli czekać (na stolik)? – How long will we have to wait (for a table)?

Learn Polish restaurant phrases mentioned above to make your visit less stressful. A waiter or waitress should arrive at your table shortly after you sit down. If you need their attention, you can raise your hand slightly and smile. After you do it, they will arrive when they have a second. In busy establishments, you may have to be a bit patient.  

2. Ordering Food and Drinks

A Waiter Carrying Food

When you’re already at the table, it’s time to order. If you’re in a restaurant serving Polish cuisine, you should try one of the top 5 Polish dishes. You can also use the phrases below to learn how to order food in Polish: 

  • Czy mogę prosić (o) menu / kartę dań? – Can I have the menu, please?

  • Jakie jest Państwa najpopularniejsze danie? – What’s your most popular dish?

  • Jakie danie Pan / Pani poleca? – Which dish do you recommend, Sir/Madam?

  • Mam alergię na [product]. – I’m allergic to [product].

    Ex. Mam alergię na orzechy. Czy mogę zamówić sałatkę bez orzechów? – I’m allergic to tree nuts. Can I get a salad without nuts?

  • Czy macie Państwo dania wegetariańskie / wegańskie? – Do you have vegetarian/vegan dishes on the menu?

  • Czy macie Państwo dania bez glutenu? – Do you have any gluten-free dishes?

  • Czy jest piwo bezalkoholowe? – Do you have non-alcoholic beer?

  • Na deser poproszę (o) ciasto czekoladowe. – I’ll have chocolate cake for dessert.

Here are some more tips on choosing a meal in a Polish restaurant. You can also decide to order a dessert. Learn how to do it with our lesson on Reading a Dessert Menu. Polish cuisine is full of delicious cakes such as sękacz, szarlotka (apple pie), or makowiec (poppyseed roll) for you to try. You should be able to order them in a restaurant, or you can go directly to cukiernia (cake shop).   

Last but not least, we’ve also prepared a few sample dialogues that may come in handy when ordering food or drinks:

A: Coś do jedzenia? – Anything to eat?
B: Nie, dziękuję, tylko coś do picia. – No, thank you, I’ll just have a drink.

A: Poproszę o Heinekena. – I’ll have a Heineken, please.]
B: W butelce czy z nalewaka? – In a bottle or draft/on tap?

If you prefer to just have a drink, you don’t have to go to a restaurant. Instead, you can head to bar (bar) or pub (pub). There are also places called pijalnie, for instance, pijalnia wódki, where you can have a shot or two of vodka. For teetotallers and coffee enthusiasts, there’s always kawiarnia (coffee shop), where usually you can get a light meal, tea, and coffee. For more vocabulary on this topic, go to our lesson, “Let’s have a bite at a Polish café”.

By now, you should know how to order food in Polish. How much would it cost you to visit a restaurant in Poland? It depends on the restaurant, of course. You can see average prices by looking at the cost of living in a major Polish city, Gdynia.   

3. Learn Polish Restaurant Phrases to Use During Dining

A Waiter Taking an Order

The food has arrived, and you’re enjoying your meal… but there’s something that doesn’t allow you to fully enjoy yourself. Here are the most common Polish restaurant phrases for raising your concerns: 

  • Czy mogę prosić o [object]? – Can I have/get [object], please?

    Ex. Czy mogę prosić o więcej serwetek? – Can I get some more napkins?

    Czy mogę prosić o ketchup? –  Can I have the ketchup, please?
  • W moim nakryciu brakuje noża / widelca / łyżki. – I have no knife / fork / spoon.

  • To nie jest moje zamówienie. –  This isn’t what I’ve ordered.

  • Chciałbym / Chciałabym porozmawiać z menadżerem. –  Can I speak to the manager, please?

    The forms are for male and female speakers, respectively.

  • Zupa jest trochę za słona. –  The soup is a little salty.

  • Ryba jest surowa. –  The fish is raw.
  • Makaron jest niedogotowany. – The pasta is undercooked.

A Man Visibly Unhappy about His Food

For more tips on what to do when you’re unhappy about something at a restaurant, check out our lesson on making a complaint in Polish. Remember that complaining isn’t always easy, and it should be done in a polite manner. It’s rarely the waiter or waitress’s fault what the kitchen has prepared.  

4. Polish Restaurant Phrases for After Dining

A Man Calling a Waiter

Basic Polish restaurant phrases also include the ones needed for when you’re done eating. Here are some phrases that could be useful: 

  • Czy mogę prosić o rachunek? – Bill, please.

    For more vocabulary when asking for the bill, visit our lesson “Check, please”.

  • Czy można płacić kartą? – Do you take credit cards?

  • Czy możemy zapłacić osobno? – Can we pay separately?

  • Czy mogę to poprosić na wynos? – Can I have it as a take away please?

    Asking for a doggy bag is becoming more and more acceptable. Some people still don’t feel comfortable with it.  

A waiter or waitress often asks about the meal after you’ve eaten. Here’s a sample dialogue that could happen at this stage of your meal: 

A: Czy posiłek Państwu smakował? – How did you like your meal?
B: Był znakomity. – Everything was delicious.

What about tipping in Poland? It’s customary to tip 10%, and if you’re feeling generous, you should even tip 15% or more. You can add it to your card payment, but cash tips are always most welcome.  

5. Final Thoughts

Thanks to our article, you’ve learned basic Polish phrases for restaurant interactions. Now you know how to order food in Polish and other most common Polish restaurant phrases for various stages of your restaurant visit. Do you already know when you’ll be traveling to Poland to practice? Let us know in the comments section.

Can you say that you really speak Polish once you learn Polish restaurant phrases? Unfortunately not. There are so many words, phrases, and things to learn in this language! You can get access to a great platform that will help you speak Polish like a native. Join PolishPod101 and get access to all you need to master Polish! 

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Must-Know Polish Animal Names for Polish Learners

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Vocabulary related to animals is among the most important items for beginners to study. Especially if you’re an animal lover, learning about specific animals living in Poland and memorizing the Polish names of animals from your own country can be a fun way to broaden your language skills. 

Polish animals don’t differ much from those you would find in other European countries. Are you curious what they are? Keep reading and learn tons of useful words for talking about animals in the Polish language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Various Land Animals
  4. Marine / Aquatic Animals
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal-Related Expressions
  9. Final Thoughts

1. Pets

Can you guess what the most common pets in Poland are? Yep. Cats and dogs—no surprise there! 

Here are some related terms:

  • “cat” – kot
  • “kitten” – kotek 
  • “dog” – pies  
  • “doggy” – piesek 
  • “puppy” – szczeniak
a Puppy

While cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the country, Poles also keep a variety of other furry critters: 

  • “mouse” – mysz
  • “hamster” – chomik
  • “rabbit” – królik

These animals are particularly popular among people who don’t want a big responsibility. They’re also pets that parents of young children decide to have. This is because a small child may not be ready for a big commitment or the duties related to owning a dog or cat. 

Some Polish people enjoy more exotic pets. Some of these animals can easily be found in a pet store, while others require more effort to buy. These more exotic animals can sometimes be dangerous, so it’s important that the owner is careful about how and where they keep them. Examples of exotic animals you might find in Polish homes include: 

  • “parrot” – papuga
  • “lizard” – jaszczurka
  • “snake” – wąż
  • “chameleon” – kameleon
  • “spider” – pająk
  • “tarantula” – tarantula
  • “fish” – rybki

Let’s not forget about other important terms and expressions related to keeping pets: 

  • “dog food” – karma dla psa
  • “cat food” – karma dla kota
  • “bird food” – karma dla ptaków
  • “cage” – klatka 
  • “terrarium” – terrarium 
  • “aquarium” – akwarium 
  • “bowl” – miska 
  • “lead” / “leash” – smycz 
  • “muzzle” – kaganiec 
  • “cat litter” – kuweta

If you plan on owning a pet in Poland, knowing the right vocabulary is essential. Do you already have animals and are thinking about transporting them to Poland? It’s understandable that you don’t want to leave your pet behind, but remember that there are several rules you’ll need to follow along the way! Whether you’re moving to Poland for work, love, or some other reason, make sure to plan your relocation in advance; some processes may take longer than expected. 

Would you like to know what you can find inside a Polish home, apart from animals? Click on the link to find out. Don’t forget to also have a look at our lesson How Many Pets Do You Have in Poland? to remember the vocabulary better and to learn about the accusative case in Polish. 

2. Farm Animals

Apart from animals living at home, there are also domesticated animals that live on farms. Parts of Poland are very urbanized, but there are still many spaces set aside for agriculture. 

The most popular type of farm animals in Poland are cattle (bydło):

  • “cow” – krowa 
  • “bull” – byk 
  • “pig” – świnia
  • “sheep” – owca
  • “goat” – koza
  • “horse” – koń

A Horse

Another group of animals living on the farm is poultry (drób). Many Poles associate being in the countryside with the sound of a rooster calling out bright and early in the morning. 

  • “chicken” – kurczak 
  • “hen” – kura 
  • “rooster” – kogut 
  • “duck” – kaczka 
  • “goose” – gęś

Speaking of poultry, would you like to learn some Polish cooking vocabulary?

3. Various Land Animals

Many people think that there are no wild animals in Poland, but Polish mountains and forests are home to many of them. Some of these animals can even be dangerous! For instance, experts warn about wild boars, which can cause a threat to humans if not treated with respect. 

Here are the names of some of these wild animals in Polish: 

  • “fox” – lis 
  • “deer” – jeleń 
  • “boar” – dzik 
  • “hare” – zając 
  • “wolf” – wilk 
  • “bear” – niedźwiedź 
  • “owl” – sowa 
  • “viper” – żmija 
  • “lynx” – ryś 

You can learn the names of a couple of other wild animals in Poland by exploring our lesson What Kind of Polish Animal is That? 

There are many animals that you can only encounter in zoos, which you can find in a number of large Polish cities. Here, people can appreciate species that don’t naturally live in the country. These animals include: 

  • “lion” – lew 
  • “tiger” – tygrys 
  • “camel” – wielbłąd 
  • “hyena” – hiena 
  • “elephant” – słoń 
  • “crocodile” – krokodyl
  • “giraffe” – żyrafa
  • “monkey” – małpa
  • “hippopotamus” – hipopotam

Hippo

Do you often go to the zoo? Next time you go, try to name all the creatures you see by their Polish names. 

4. Marine / Aquatic Animals

Poland does not have access to an ocean, but it does have a sea. Here are the names of common animals you might find in the Baltic Sea and around Polish lakes:

  • “carp” – karp
  • “seal” – foka
  • “swan” – łabędź
  • “crab” – rak
  • “beaver” – bóbr
  • “stork” – bocian

    Do you know where children come from? White storks bring them, of course! That’s the story Polish parents often tell their offspring. Another version is that babies can be found in cabbage. You can learn more about the white stork (including the strange sound it makes) on our website!

  • “seagull” – mewa

A Seagull

While there are relatively few aquatic animals in Poland, you should still learn the names of these animals in the Polish language: 

  • “shark” – rekin
  • “whale” – wieloryb
  • “dolphin” – delfin
  • “octopus” – ośmiornica
  • “stingray” – płaszczka

You can learn even more words for marine animals in our entertaining lesson, which encourages you to learn with pictures! 

5. Bugs and Insects

There are many bugs and insects in Poland. Like people elsewhere in the world, Poles often complain about them, though many bugs are actually an important part of the ecosystem. Here are the Polish names for some of them:

  • “ant” – mrówka
  • “fly” – mucha
  • “ladybug” – biedronka
  • “spider” – pająk
  • “grasshopper” – konik polny
  • “bug” – robak
  • “beetle” – żuk
  • “worm” – dżdżownica
  • “caterpillar” – gąsienica
  • “butterfly” – motyl

Butterfly

If you’re particularly interested in bugs, visit the website Insects of Poland to learn more! 

6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians

There’s a number of birds that fly in the Polish skies. Here are the most common ones: 

  • “bird” – ptak
  • “dove” – gołąb
  • “woodpecker” – dzięcioł
  • “eagle” – orzeł
  • “crow” – kruk
  • “hawk” – jastrząb

You can learn even more vocabulary for birds in our lesson Birds of a Feather Flock Together.

Our next two groups of animals in the Polish language are reptiles (gady) and amphibians (płazy).

  • “frog” – żaba
  • “toad” – ropucha
  • “turtle” / “tortoise” – żółw
  • “alligator” – aligator

Alligator

7. Animal Body Parts

Now that you’ve learned a long list of animals in Polish, you might want to learn the names of animal body parts. Knowing these terms will allow you to better describe the animals you encounter! 

  • “wing” – skrzydło
  • “beak” – dziób
  • “tail” – ogon
  • “paw” – łapa
  • “horns” – rogi
  • “feather” – pióro
  • “fur” – sierść
  • “claws” – pazury / szpony

It’s great that you can now speak about animal body parts! However, do you know what to call all the body parts that we humans have? 

8. Animal-Related Expressions

Polish has many expressions related to animals. This is a common trait of many languages, but the exact attributes given to animals often differ from country to country. Have a look at some of the most common idioms and sayings: 

  • zły jak osa – “as angry as a wasp”
  • uparty jak osioł – “as stubborn as a donkey”
  • mądry jak sowa – “as smart as an owl”
  • zdrowy jak ryba – Literally: “as healthy as a fish” / Meaning: “fit as a fiddle”
  • żyć jak pies z kotem – Literally: “to live together like cats and dogs” / Meaning: “to not get along”
  • mieć węża w kieszeni – Literally: “to have a snake in your pocket” / Meaning: “to be stingy”
  • jak ryba w wodzie – Literally: “like fish in water” / Meaning: “to be comfortable somewhere”

Fish and Other Marine Animals in the Water

If you’d like to learn more idioms related to animals, remember to click on the link and visit our lesson on the topic. 

9. Final Thoughts

Learning how to talk about pets and other animals is an important aspect of studying Polish. Today you’ve learned which animals live in Poland, what animals people keep at home, as well as the Polish animal names for creatures that live elsewhere. What’s your favorite animal, and what is it called in Polish? Let us know in the comments! 

Learning vocabulary is an important element of mastering the language. Unfortunately, you’ll need more than that to understand and communicate with Polish people. 

If you really want to be able to claim that you speak the language, you should use a tool that gives you more than just vocabulary. PolishPod101 is a great platform that offers you more structure than most other Polish learning programs. You’ll get access to countless recordings from native speakers as well as a personalized learning path.

There’s no better time to start improving your Polish than today. Create your free lifetime account and start learning with us!

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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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Why learn Polish? Here are 10 great reasons for 2021.

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Learning a foreign language is a lot of fun, but it’s also a commitment. When things get tough or you lack the motivation to study, it’s important to remember your reason(s) for learning in the first place! And believe us, there are plenty of benefits to be gained from learning a new language. Which brings us to today’s topic…

Why learn Polish? Especially when there are so many other languages out there with much higher demand?

In this blog post, we’ll give you 10 great reasons for learning Polish. You can come back to this article whenever you need a motivation boost—like the next time you feel that Polish cases are becoming too much to handle, for example.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. Poland is a great travel destination.
  2. Polish food is amazing.
  3. Knowing Polish will give you access to other Slavic languages.
  4. You’ll have 50 million potential new friends.
  5. There are many great Polish books.
  6. You can learn more about the fascinating Polish history.
  7. Polish will be an asset on your resume.
  8. There are many easy things about Polish.
  9. It could allow you to get in touch with your roots.
  10. It’s a challenge…and who doesn’t love one?
  11. Final Thoughts

1. Poland is a great travel destination.

A Polish City

One of the reasons why you should study Polish is that it would make your trip to Poland so much more fun! Being able to communicate with locals will give you access to many things that otherwise wouldn’t be available to you. 

For example, it will help you make friends with people who live here and allow you to get a true feel of what daily life is like in Poland. You could also save some money by avoiding more expensive English-speaking guides when you visit tourist attractions. If you’re not convinced yet, here are some great things you can see in Poland: 

  1. Warsaw (Warszawa)

The capital city of Poland is an amazing destination. It offers tourists great views, a lot of fascinating history, and delicious food and beverages. In fact, it’s so great that we’ve even written a whole blog post about it (link). 

  1. Cracow (Kraków

The former capital of Poland is an equally fascinating city. You definitely won’t regret a trip to the nearby salt mine, Wieliczka! While visiting Krakow, don’t forget to pop in to Wawel and learn all about the dragon…

  1. Białowieża Forest (Puszcza Białowieska)

Białowieża Forest is among the largest remainders of the primeval European forest. You can enjoy long walks there and see many of the 5000 European bison still alive today. 

2. Polish food is amazing.

Polish Sweets

Polish food (polskie jedzenie) is really amazing and should be among your motivating factors to learn Polish. There are so many great dishes to try that it would be difficult to enumerate them all. You can start learning about them with these lessons from PolishPod101:

You might be wondering how learning Polish relates to enjoying the country’s cuisine. Well, just imagine all the cool things you could do if you spoke the language well! You could pronounce the names of Polish dishes like a pro, get exclusive access to recipes in Polish (such as this one for making the perfect pierogi!), and you could order in Polish restaurants in both Poland and other places abroad. These are some great reasons to learn Polish!

3. Knowing Polish will give you access to other Slavic languages.

Slavic Dancers

Another great reason why you should learn Polish is that it’s a Slavic language, and knowing one language from a language group makes it easier for you to learn others. Here are some popular Slavic languages:

  • Russian (rosyjski)
  • Czech (czeski)
  • Ukrainian (ukraiński)
  • Slovak (słowacki)
  • Serbian (serbski)
  • Croatian (chorwacki)

What’s more, some of these languages are easy to understand in writing and/or in speech when you speak Polish fluently. That’s particularly true for Slovak, Ukrainian, Serbian, and Croatian. This means that in Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, and Slovakia, you could use Polish in a shop or restaurant and be understood. You should also be able to understand what’s said to you, provided that the other person slows down their normal speaking pace. 

You could also largely understand a constructed language that’s gaining popularity: Interslavic

4. You’ll have 50 million potential new friends.

A Group of People Having Fun

Say what? It’s true! There are over 50 million Polish speakers around the world, both in Poland and abroad. There are big Polish communities in many countries, including the U.K., Ireland, the U.S., and Australia.

50 million potential new friends all around the world seems like a great answer to the question, “Why should I learn Polish?” After all, meeting people is easy in Poland!

5. There are many great Polish books.

Old Books

Reading books in their original language is an amazing experience. Literature translators are very gifted people, but there’s no way to translate something without losing some of its nuance and flavor.

Once you know Polish well enough to explore Polish literature, you should start your journey with Nobel Prize winners such as Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wisława Szymborska, and Olga Tokarczuk. There are many things you can learn about Poland and Polish people from their novels and poems.

There are too many other interesting Polish writers to list them all. Dorota Masłowska, Sylwia Chutnik, and Szczepan Twardoch are just a few examples of young Polish writers worth checking out, but there are many more for you to discover.

Last but not least, you could explore the world of The Witcher in Polish. While the popular Netflix series, the games, and the books are available in English, let’s be honest: a lot of interesting nuances are lost in translation. Learning Polish will give you full access to the original version in all its glory! 

6. You can learn more about the fascinating Polish history.

The Solidarity Movement

Poland has a fascinating history, full of both sad and joyful events. There are many books on this topic published in English, but there are many more that are only available in Polish. This is a sound reason as to why you should learn Polish. Did you know that…

  • …Poland was as big as 990,000 km2 (from the Baltic Sea almost up to the Black Sea) at the height of its territorial expansion? 

  • …Poland disappeared from world maps at one point during its history due to partitions when it was divided between foreign countries?

  • …one of the Polish II Corps soldiers during the Second World War was a bear named Wojtek?

If you can read Polish, you’ll have the ability to discover many more secrets about this country! Don’t forget to find out more about the Polish Middle Ages when trying to learn your Polish history.

7. Polish will be an asset on your resume.

Resume

Did you know that Poland doesn’t use the euro and has retained its own Polish currency? As a member of the European Union and a Schengen country, Poland has strong economic ties with many countries in Europe and outside of it. This means that knowing Polish is an asset on the European labor market.

Poland is also an attractive market for representatives of many professions. Many Polish people speak good English, but it’s difficult to live in a country without knowing the language. What’s more, if you want to become a permanent resident or a citizen, you have no choice but to learn Polish.

If nothing else, having Polish skills on your resume can be an interesting thing to talk about with your interviewer. The best way to shine among a number of people with similar qualifications is to have a skill that no one else has. 

8. There are many easy things about Polish.

A Happy Student

Polish has a bad reputation of being a very difficult language to learn. It does have some difficult aspects to it, just like any other language. What’s more important, though, is that it has some surprisingly easy elements to it as well. 

Firstly, Polish is a phonetic language. This means that Polish words are written just as they’re pronounced (and vice-versa). This characteristic sets it apart from English, which has very unpredictable spelling. (By the way, here are some tips for cracking the Polish writing system.)

Polish is also pretty straightforward when it comes to tenses. There are just three of them: the past, the present, and the future.

The stress in Polish is rather predictable too. It usually falls on the penultimate syllable, with few exceptions. 

9. It could allow you to get in touch with your roots.

A Grandfather Holding His Grandchild

Why is it important to learn the Polish language? For those of Polish origin, it can be a way to get in touch with their roots! Many people living abroad are first, second, or third generation immigrants but have never managed to explore this part of their identity.

Learning Polish would allow you to speak to your family in Poland at a family reunion, or even to visit the country to find out more about where you come from.

If your spouse is Polish, learning the language would be a great gift for him or her. If you’re planning to have children, it’ll be much easier for you to teach the child Polish if there are two of you working on it. 

10. It’s a challenge…and who doesn’t love one?

A Winner

One final reason as to why you should learn Polish is that mastering the language is quite a challenge. Many people speak Polish well, but achieving near-fluency requires a lot of commitment! Just try out these tongue-twisters and you’ll see what we mean. 

Taking on such a challenge will make you feel extremely proud of yourself when you arrive at your destination. This is a truly amazing feeling with no comparison.

Don’t worry about the learning process being too challenging, though. Thanks to the development of technology, language learning is easier today than it’s ever been—which is exactly why you should learn Polish now.

11. Final Thoughts

Today, you’ve learned 10 great reasons concerning why to study Polish. Can you think of any more? Let us know in the comments.

You can always come back to this article when you need some inspiration or motivation. Or better yet, you could write down the reasons that resonate most with you on index cards and place them around the house! 

Don’t forget that there has never been a better time to learn a language. There are so many resources available on the internet!

On PolishPod101, for instance, you can follow a personalized learning pathway, explore countless lessons, and utilize a variety of study tools to maximize your learning efforts. Create your free lifetime account today and explore our lesson library!

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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.

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  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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Visit Warsaw and See the Best of the Best

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Have you ever been to Warsaw? It’s the capital city of Poland and a great holiday destination. 

There are so many fun and educational sites in this wonderful city, perfect for the casual traveler or the Polish learner who wants to immerse themselves in the culture. If you would like to visit Warsaw yourself and see all the best places, let this Warsaw travel guide from PolishPod101.com be your first stop! 

In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know before you go and get the best recommendations for a shorter visit and a longer visit. Last but not least, you’ll learn some simple Polish phrases to help you get around the city. 

A View of Warsaw

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Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. Visit Warsaw in 1-3 Days
  3. Visit Warsaw in 4-7 Days
  4. Polish Survival Phrases
  5. Final Thoughts

Before You Go

Is Warsaw worth visiting? 

Yes, beyond doubt! Still, there are a few things you should know before embarking on your journey. 

Basic Facts

Warsaw is a big city, the population of which is estimated at around 1.8 million. It became the Polish capital in the sixteenth century. 

The name of the city in Polish is Warszawa. According to legend, it’s derived from the names of a couple (Wars and Sawa) who helped out a prince without knowing who he was. In return, the prince granted them land close to Vistula, where Warsaw is now situated. From a linguistic perspective, it’s also believed that the word Warszawa means something like “belonging to Warsz” or “place of Warsz.”

Warsaw Travel Tips

Weather

Is Warsaw worth visiting in winter? It’s certainly beautiful during that time, but unless you love snow, you should consider a trip between May and September. The best time to visit Warsaw is during this period of moderate temperatures, as winters in Poland are pretty cold. 

Transportation

Like most European cities, Warsaw has a reliable public transportation system. There are tramways, buses, and a subway. You can also use taxi services, including e-hailing service providers such as Uber. 

Renting a car is another option, but due to parking issues, you may be better off using public transportation (particularly when visiting the city center). If you’re planning trips to other places in Poland from Warsaw, you should consider riding the Polish rails

Lodging

To visit Warsaw on a budget, you can easily find basic shared accommodation for 20 USD per night. If you’re looking for more luxury, you should be prepared to pay 40-50 USD per night. Warsaw is a major tourist destination, so there are many options: hotels, hostels, apartments, and Airbnb. However, if you’re on a budget, you should definitely book in advance.

Food

The price of a main dish in a restaurant in Warsaw is around 10 USD, but it can vary depending on the place. Venues aimed at tourists are particularly pricey. If you want to save money, you can…

  • …opt for accommodation with self-catering.
  • …try street food, such as zapiekanki (Polish pizza bread).
  • …go to a bar mleczny (“milk bar”), which is a Polish cafeteria with cheap homemade food.

You can find more-detailed information about Warsaw on its official tourist website.

Packing List   

A Person with Their Luggage

Poland belongs to the Schengen area, so you may need a Schengen visa to travel here, depending on your nationality. If you do need one, remember to apply for it in advance to avoid issues with your travel plans. 

Apart from your passport and your visa, you should remember to have some cash in the local currency—the Polish zloty (PLN)—or a card that can be used abroad for money withdrawals and payments. Last but not least, take an umbrella with you; if you’re traveling in winter, also bring plenty of warm clothes. 

Visit Warsaw in 1-3 Days

What you should see in Warsaw depends on how much time you can spend there. Below, you’ll find a list of must-see places for a trip between one and three days. You can definitely visit Warsaw in one day, but this will severely limit which places you’re able to see.

Warsaw Old Town (Starówka Warszawska)

Old Town

This historic center of Warsaw is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The area is very popular among tourists and it’s full of interesting places, picturesque cafes, and restaurants. 

Old Town was significantly destroyed during World War II and later rebuilt. Can you guess why Warsaw is nicknamed the Phoenix City? Certain parts remained untouched and date back to the thirteenth century when Old Town was established.

While exploring Old Town, don’t miss out on seeing:

  • The Castle Square (including the Zygmunt Column and the Royal Castle)
  • The Old Town Market
  • The Warsaw Mermaid Statue

Łazienki Park (Park Łazienkowski / Łazienki Królewskie)

Łazienki Park is situated in the center of Warsaw and it’s the biggest park in the capital city. Home to peacocks and squirrels, this park is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll and it’s beautiful all year long. What’s more, numerous cultural events take place here. When visiting, remember to explore the following places of interest:

  • The Statue of Fryderyk Chopin 
  • The Palace on the Island (Pałac na wyspie)
  • The Old and the New Orangery (Nowa i stara oranżeria)
  • Łazienkowski Bridge

Do you think one of the places listed above could be the most famous sight in Warsaw?

The Warsaw Uprising Museum (Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego)

Warsaw Uprising Cartoon

This modern and interactive museum will teach you a lot about the history of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. It’ll help you better understand the city you’re visiting and provide insight regarding the fascinating but sad history of Warsaw during World War II. 

Palace of Culture and Science

The construction of this building was initiated by Stalin, who planned it as a gift from the Soviet people to Poland. The Palace of Culture and Science is Warsaw’s tallest building and a great example of Socialist Realist architecture. 

Apart from appreciating the architecture of the building, you can visit the museums, the cinema, and the other attractions inside. What’s more, you can go to the top of the building for a panoramic view of Warsaw.

Visit Warsaw in 4-7 Days

Do you have a bit more time for your Warsaw travels? That’s great! This will give you ample time to see even more key locations and better experience the local culture. Below is a list of places we recommend for a longer visit to Warsaw.

The University of Warsaw

This is the best university in Poland (as of the 2019 rankings), featuring a stunning campus with many faculties based in old, picturesque buildings. You should definitely include this location as part of a leisurely walk in the city center.

To fully enjoy the area, start at the Nowy Świat (“New World”) Street and walk to the Copernicus Monument. Visit the university and continue through Krakowskie Przedmieście (“Kraków Suburb”) Street all the way to the Castle Square.

Castle Square

Copernicus Science Centre

The Copernicus Science Centre (Centrum Nauki Kopernik) is a modern and interactive museum of science in Warsaw. You could spend hours here, carrying out scientific experiments and learning about how science works. 

The museum is very popular, so make sure to arrive early to avoid crowds and disappointment. They only let a certain number of people in at a given time so that people can interact with the exhibits and experiment stations. 

Wilanów Palace

Pałac w Wilanowie (“Wilanów Palace”) is a royal palace built for King Jan III Sobieski. Inside this Baroque residence, you’ll find many historical artifacts. It’s full of stunning paintings and furniture that’ll help you learn your Polish history

The Palace is surrounded by a large, well-maintained garden. A stroll there is an integral part of the visit. You should allow a few hours for your visit, as it’s farther away from the city center than the other attractions mentioned in this guide. 

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art 

Galeria Sztuki Narodowej Zachęta is a contemporary art museum in Warsaw. There are many temporary exhibitions here that are regularly updated, mixing the works of Polish artists with those of well-known foreign artists. 

Warsaw University Library Roof Garden  

Situated away from the main buildings of the university, the Warsaw University Library Roof Garden (Ogród BUW) is a must during a longer trip to Warsaw. The library building itself has an interesting design, but it’s the garden that’ll take your breath away. You can take a break here from your busy sightseeing schedule, and go for a stroll or sit down with a book to enjoy the tranquility of the garden.

To remember the view for longer, you can take pictures or ask someone to take a picture of you. How do you ask this in Polish? See our lesson to find out.  

The Wedel Factory

E. Wedel is arguably the most famous Polish chocolate producer. You can visit the chocolate factory (Fabryka czekolady Wedla) for a tour and learn all you need to know about the chocolate-making process. If you’d like to make your own sweets, you can participate in one of the workshops organized here. 

Are you more interested in eating chocolate than making it? No problem at all! You can visit a chocolate-drinking venue (Pijalnia czekolady Wedla) and indulge in a hot or cold chocolate beverage, followed by chocolate candy. 

You may not find these recommendations in every Warsaw visit guide, but they’re definitely worth visiting! 

Polish Survival Phrases

Warsaw on a Map of Poland

Polish people in big cities usually speak English well. Young people are often fluent and willing to help a lost traveler. However, when visiting any country, it’s good to know at least a few survival phrases. Even if you don’t absolutely need them, locals always appreciate the effort. Listed below are the ten most important Polish phrases: 

  • “Hello!” – Cześć! (informal) / “Good  morning!” – Dzień dobry! 
  • “Thank you!” – Dziękuję! 
  • “Goodbye!” – Do widzenia! 
  • “Sorry!” – Przepraszam! 
  • “Very good.” – Bardzo dobrze. 
  • “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Polish.” – Przepraszam, nie mówię po polsku.
  • “Where is the restroom?” – Gdzie jest łazienka/toaleta? 
  • “How much is it?”Ile to kosztuje? 
  • “I want to order/buy this.” – Chciałbym/-abym to zamówić/kupić
  • “Help!” – Pomocy! / Ratunku!  

With these phrases, you’ll do just fine whether you plan to visit Warsaw in one day or spend a week or more there!

Final Thoughts

Today, you’ve found a definite answer to the question “Is Warsaw worth visiting?” You’ve learned what to see for a shorter trip and the best places to explore when you have enough time for a more leisurely pace. We hope you’ve enjoyed our Warsaw travel guide and that you’re already excited for your upcoming trip. Let us know in the comments which of these attractions in Warsaw you would most like to see, and why!

The Polish survival phrases we listed will definitely help you get around Warsaw for a few days, but if you really want to speak the language, you’ll need more than that. Fortunately, we have just the right tools to help you learn Polish!

With PolishPod101, you’ll get access to countless resources with recordings by native speakers, as well as lessons and vocabulary learning tools. Start your free trial today to see just how much we have to offer!

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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.

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  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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