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

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

And yes, there are even more donuts involved. 😉

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1. What is Ostatki?

Three People Dressed Up in Carnival Masquerade Attire

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

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

Fat Thursday vs. Fat Tuesday

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

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

2. When is Ostatki This Year?

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

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

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

3. Ostatki: A Food-Lover’s Paradise

Several People Dressed in Masquerade Costumes

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

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

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

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

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

4. A Brief Pączki History 

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

Do you know the origin of your favorite sweet treat? 

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ostatki in Poland

Traditional Polish Floral Pattern

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning


Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Polish quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Polish tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of and myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
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  • Speaking
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Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
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  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. PolishPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

A woman studying at home

Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Polish teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

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Polish National Independence Day: Traditions & History

There’s no need to convince anyone that Poland has had a colorful history. For more than a thousand years, from its legendary beginnings to the most recent events, the fate of our country has been very diverse. There were times when Poland, united in a union with Lithuania, was a power that other countries had to reckon with. But, let’s be honest, that was a very long time ago. Newer history has been much less gracious to Poland, and as a result, the country ceased to exist for over 120 years!

In this article, you’ll learn some Polish Independence Day history, and how Poles today celebrate! At, we aim to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Polish Independence Day?

1- The Regaining of Independence

From 1772 on, Poland fell victim to attacks from three countries—Russia, Prussia and Austria—which resulted in three partitions of Poland. The end result was the seizure of all Polish lands and the disappearance of Poland from the map of Europe for 123 years. Thanks to steadfastness, patriotism, and a never-ending battle, the Poles finally regained their independence, with the great contribution of Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

Regaining its independence at the beginning of the twentieth century after such a long time was a really big event; after all, all the people who remembered Poland from before servitude times were long dead. You must be thinking that in such circumstances, the Independence Regaining Holiday must be the most joyous day of the year for Polish? Nothing of the sort.

While the regaining of independence in itself is joyous, Poles can never forget all the lives that were lost in their fight for it.

2- Holiday History

Though Polish Independence Day was officially established in 1937, it was only celebrated twice before the outbreak of WWII.

From 1939 to 1944, during the war and Nazi occupation, everything that was Polish was destroyed, and any displays of Polish culture were also forbidden. Likewise, in the following years, when Poland was under the control of the USSR, all patriotic demonstrations were suppressed. Finally, after the fall of communism, this holiday was restored in 1989 and is celebrated to this day.

2. When is Independence Day in Poland?

White and Red Flag

Each year, Poland celebrates its independence on November 11. While the regaining of Poland’s independence obviously took much longer a day, Józef Pilsudski chose this date as the day of celebration.

3. Polish Independence Day Celebrations

People Celebrating

For Polish Independence Day, Warsaw has some of the biggest celebrations, mostly on Pilsudski Square and by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where a ceremonial changing of the guard always takes place. On Polish Independence Day, November 11, Polish flags are hung up everywhere; on buildings, and on special flag poles.

In Warsaw and other major cities, marches, parades, and political speeches are organized. For those who are not interested in lofty speeches or assemblies, other events are also organized, which aim at uniting Poles.

One of the most interesting Polish Independence Day traditions is the Warsaw Independence Run, which in 2012 registered a record number of participants, over 7,000. Each participant receives a medal and a certificate to say they completed the race. At the start, all the runners make the formation of a living Polish flag, which is an amazing sight.

4. Curl the Mustache?

What does the Warsaw marathon code phrase “Run straight, curl the mustache,” mean?

This is a playful form of respect and affection for Polish history, in which Józef Pilsudski played a big part, greatly contributing to Polish’s victory in restoring its independence, among other things. Marathon participants, who follow in Pilsudski’s footsteps by growing or sticking on a fake distinctive mustache, get a chance to win great prizes.

5. Essential Vocabulary for Polish Independence Day

An Emblem

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Independence Day in Poland!

  • I Wojna Światowa — World War I
  • Odzyskać niepodległość — Regain independence
  • Uroczyste obchody — Celebration
  • HymnAnthem
  • Godło — Emblem
  • Okupacja — Occupation
  • Suwerenność — Sovereignty
  • Rozbiór — Partition
  • Zabór — Annexation
  • Państwo — State
  • Stolica — Capital

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to visit our Polish Independence Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Polish Independence Day with us. Did you learn any new Polish Independence Day facts? How does your country celebrate its Independence Day? We look forward to hearing from you!

Learning about a country’s culture and history may be the most rewarding and enriching aspect of trying to master its language. If more Polish cultural information is what you’re after, you may find the following pages interesting:

We know that learning a new language is a monumental task, but you can do it! And will be here with constant support and tons of essential learning materials, every step of the way. Create a free lifetime account today, and learn Polish effectively!

Happy Polish Independence Day!

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Best Polish Movies for Language Learning


Watching Polish movies is a great way to supplement your language studies. This entertaining activity allows you to improve your listening skills, work on your vocabulary, and learn more about Polish culture. That said, not every movie will help you in the same way. 

In this blog post, we’ll enumerate ten Polish movies worth watching as a learner of the language. These are films that will both expose you to rich vocabulary and introduce you to the culture and society of Poland. Are you ready to learn Polish in a fun and relaxing way? Without further ado, here’s our Polish movies list for you!

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  1. Sexmission
  2. A Short Movie About Love
  3. The Killer
  4. Gods
  5. The Last Family
  6. The Wedding
  7. The Hater
  8. How I Unleashed World War II
  9. Teddy Bear
  10. Day of the Wacko
  11. Final Thoughts

1. Sexmission 

Sexmission (or Seksmisja) is a cult Polish comedy. This film, made in 1984, is about two men who decide to sacrifice for science and become the first hibernated humans. They wake up in a world ruled by women, and it turns out that they are the last two men left on the planet.  

This movie features a number of Polish stars, including Jerzy Stuhr, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, and Beata Tyszkiewicz. Watching this film will allow you to familiarize yourself with popular Polish faces as well as famous quotes that have made their way into mainstream conversations. Here are some examples: 

  • Ciemność! Widzę ciemność. Ciemność widzę. – “Darkness! I see darkness. Darkness I see.”
  • Dzień dobry, zastałem Jolkę? – “Good morning. Is Jolka here?”
  • Nas? Bohaterów? Prądem?! – “Us? Heroes? With electric shocks?”

The movie also has some useful vocabulary for you. Here are a few of the words that are used often throughout the film:

  • samiec – “male”
  • płeć – “gender”
  • hibernować – “to hibernate”
  • zamrozić – “to freeze”
  • eksperyment – “experiment”
  • pigułka – “pill”

By the way, if you’d like to study more vocabulary related to natural science fields, PolishPod101 has you covered. 

Movie Types

2. A Short Movie About Love

A Short Movie About Love (Krótki film o miłości) is a full-length drama directed by famous Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski.

A shorter version of this movie is part of a miniseries entitled The Decalogue, all of which is worth watching due to its use of everyday vocabulary as well as vocabulary related to various social issues. You can find many of these Polish movies online for free through legal channels.

A Short Movie About Love is a story about a young, inexperienced man who falls in love with an older woman. It features famous actress Grażyna Szapołowska and actor/director Olaf Lubaszenko. A lot of vocabulary in the movie is commonly used and relates to love and relationships: 

  • kochać kogoś – “to love somebody”
  • zakochać się – “to fall in love” 
  • mieć obsesję – “to be obsessed”

Remember that as useful as it may be, watching movies alone won’t help you master a language. Discover other learning strategies with our lesson Romance and Love in Polish

3. The Killer 

The Killer (Kiler) is another Polish cult comedy. It was made in the late nineties but the person responsible for its success is the same man behind Sexmission, Juliusz Machulski. It also features famous Polish movie stars Cezary Pazura (dubbed as the Polish Jim Carrey), Jerzy Struhr (also in Sexmission), and Katarzyna Figura. 

The movie is about a taxi driver mistaken for an assassin. It’s full of funny misunderstandings and quotes that have made it to the mainstream. For example: 

300 dolarów? Co ja sobie za to kupię? Waciki? – “300 USD? What can I buy for it? Cotton pads?”

The Killer will teach you a lot of vocabulary about crime (and innocence) as well as vocabulary related to justice: 

  • zabić – “to kill”
  • niewinny – “innocent”
  • nieporozumienie – “misunderstanding”
  • policja – “police”
  • więzienie – “prison”
  • przestępca – “criminal”

Knowing vocabulary related to crime can be useful in emergency situations. Click on the link to learn how to say Help! and call the police in Polish.

4. Gods

Gods (Bogowie) tells the story of a world-famous cardiologist named Zbigniew Religa. The prominent doctor is played by Tomasz Kot, known for his role in the Polish Oscar-nominated movie Cold War. Gods became popular very quickly and there are many remarkable quotes from this movie, such as:

Polak Polakowi nawet porażki pozazdrości. – “A Pole may even be jealous of another Pole’s failure.”

The movie is very interesting on its own, but as a learner of the Polish language, you’ll also benefit from the medicine- and health-related vocabulary it introduces. The fact that it’s so relevant to everyday life makes it one of the best movies for learning the Polish language.

  • lekarz – “doctor”
  • pielęgniarka – “nurse”
  • Panie doktorze! – the way to address a male doctor
  • serce – “heart”
  • operacja – “surgery”

Do you need to see a Polish doctor? Here are some useful phrases for calling the Polish doctor’s office

5. The Last Family

The Last Family (Ostatnia rodzina) tells the story of a famous Polish artist named Zdzisław Beksiński and his eccentric family. It features the famous actor Andrzej Seweryn and a young generation star, Dawid Ogrodnik.

The movie is very well-made and engaging. It also uses a lot of everyday vocabulary that you, as a learner, should know:

  • rodzina – “family”
  • syn – “son”
  • mama – “mom”
  • malarz – “painter”
  • artysta – “artist”

Before you watch the movie, you may want to learn some other must-know terms for family members in Polish and some more phrases for when you’re in Poland at a family reunion

6. The Wedding

The Wedding (Wesele) is about a wedding that a rich small-town businessman organizes for his daughter. The film is directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, a director famous for not being scared of dealing with the weaknesses of Polish society. It features Maciej Struhr (the son of Jerzy Stuhr you know from Sexmission and The Killer) and Marian Dziędziel.

The film is interesting, as it shows what a Polish wedding looks like and the social significance of this event. It’s not your typical Polish wedding movie as it also reminds the viewer that such occasions are often far from perfect. Here’s one of the most famous quotes from the movie: 

I bardzo dobrze, bardzo dobrze! Jakby nikt nikogo nie nastukał, to wesele by się nie udało. – “Very good, very good! If no one had been beaten up, the wedding would have been a failure.”

The expressions and phrases used in the movie are related to family and marriage. You’ll learn how to say: 

  • ślub – “marriage”
  • wesele – “wedding”
  • panna młoda – “bride”
  • pan młody – “groom”
  • młodzi – “bride and groom”

To find some other important expressions related to Polish weddings, just click on the link! 

Top Verbs

7. The Hater

The Hater (Hejter) is one of the best Polish movies on Netflix. It’s about a young boy from a small town who’s trying to make it in Warsaw. This film was actually directed by the same person (Jan Komasa) who directed Corpus Christi, which was nominated for an Oscar.

The movie shows the difficulties that coming from a low-income household can cause, and it comments on the corporate culture in Warsaw. In terms of vocabulary, you’ll hear many slang expressions throughout the film as well as social media vocabulary:

  • moderować – “to moderate”
  • dodać na Facebooku – “to add on Facebook”
  • internetowy troll – “troll”
  • wiocha – “small city” (pejorative) 
  • bydło – “cattle” (pejorative about people)

8. How I Unleashed World War II

The Polish title of this movie is Jak rozpętałem drugą wojnę światową. This humorous Polish movie about war is another comedy, this one about a Polish soldier who allegedly started the Second World War by mistake. While humorous, the movie also introduces the viewer to some important events in Polish history. One of the most famous quotes from this movie is: 

Melduję posłusznie, panie pułkowniku, ja tę wojnę zupełnie niechcący wywołałem. – “I humbly report, officer, that I have started this war with absolutely no intent of doing so.”

What’s more, the movie features some Polish dialects. Most importantly, it uses a lot of vocabulary that you’ll likely hear in other Polish movies. The Second World War is a popular subject in some of the best Polish movies due to its cultural significance. Here are some examples of words you’ll hear and learn in this movie: 

  • wojna – “war”
  • żołnierz – “soldier”
  • karabin – “rifle”
  • pokój – “peace”
  • wojsko – “army”
  • czołg – “tank”
  • obóz – “camp”

Speaking of World War II, do you know why Warsaw is called the Phoenix City of Poland?

9. Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear (Miś) is definitely among the best Polish movies. It’s another comedy, this time with a sense of humor that could be described as absurd. It was a very popular genre during the communist rule, when censorship made artistic expression difficult.

The movie is the source of many famous quotes. One of the most loved ones is: 

Z twarzy podobny do nikogo. – “When it comes to his face, he doesn’t look like anyone.” 

What is it about? It’s difficult to explain, so let’s just say where it starts. A manager of a sports club is detained on the border as he finds out that a few pages disappeared from his passport… 

Important words and phrases in this movie include: 

  • paszport – “passport”
  • za granicą – “abroad”
  • rozmowa telefoniczna – “phone call”
  • drużyna sportowa – “sports team”
  • kierownik – “director” / “manager”

10. Day of the Wacko

Day of the Wacko (Dzień Świra) is a movie that’s both very funny and very sad. It’s a narrative about a day in the life of a frustrated, lonely, and underpaid Polish teacher. The protagonist is played by famous Polish actor Marek Kondrat. The cult status of the movie means it’s a source of many memorable quotes, such as: 

Co za ponury absurd… Żeby o życiu decydować za młodu, kiedy jest się kretynem? – “What a sad and absurd thing to decide about one’s life in one’s youth when one’s an idiot?”

The movie will introduce you to some realities of a teacher’s life in Poland. You’ll also learn a bit about the Polish school system and other frustrations of Polish people. The words and phrases you’ll hear include:

  • nauczyciel – “teacher”
  • szkoła – “school”
  • uczeń – “student”
  • Mamo! – “Mom!”
  • życie – “life”
  • zmarnować sobie życie – “to waste one’s life”
  • marzenie – “dream”

Do you know how to talk about your favorite school subjects from back in the day in Polish?

11. Final Thoughts

Today, we’ve introduced you to some of the best movies you can watch to learn the Polish language. Whether you want to watch an atypical Polish wedding movie or check out some Polish movies on Netflix, you’ll find something on our list with your name on it!

You can look for Polish movies online, as many of them are available for rent or (in the case of older films) even for free. Which movie are you most looking forward to? Have you seen any of them yet? Let us know in the comments section.

Watching Polish movies is a lot of fun, but unfortunately, you can’t rely on this method alone to learn the language. If you really want to make progress, you need a proper, structured learning program.  

On, you’ll find plenty of resources and recordings by native speakers. You’ll get a chance to learn a lot of vocabulary and get language exposure thanks to our learning pathways. Don’t hesitate—create your free lifetime account today!

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Company for the Evening: Learn Polish with Great Polish TV


You’ve probably heard that watching movies and TV shows is a great way to learn Polish. It’s true! You can watch a lot of Polish TV online, and particularly in countries with a large Polish community, it’s easy to find movies and series in this language. Polish TV in the USA isn’t too difficult to find, as confirmed by people looking for Polish TV on Roku and other similar services.

Are you wondering which Polish TV company produces the best programs and series for your purposes? It’s best not to limit yourself to such terms. You should rather have a look at our list of suggestions of the best Polish TV shows created by many different people and production companies.

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Table of Contents

  1. 07 Zgłoś się
  2. Dancing with the Stars: Taniec z gwiazdami
  3. Belfer
  4. Alternatywy 4
  5. Tajemnica Sagali
  6. Rozmowy w toku
  7. 13 Posterunek
  8. Kuchenne Rewolucje
  9. Sensacje XX wieku
  10. Milionerzy
  11. Miś uszatek
  12. Final Thoughts

1. 07 Zgłoś się

07 Zgłoś się (“07 Come In” ) is one of the most popular series ever aired on Polish TV. The adventures of Porucznik Borewicz (“Lieutenant Borewicz” ) entertained Poles for as long as twelve years. Part of this series’ appeal is the protagonist’s dry sense of humor and his relentlessness in the pursuit of criminals and wrongdoers.

Pay Phone

1- Language Focus

This is a police procedural series with elements of action and crime series. You’ll learn vocabulary related to crime as well as everyday vocabulary.

2- Cultural Context

You can gain a better understanding of the Polish justice system of a particular period in Polish history: the PRL or Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa (“The Polish People’s Republic“). This Polish crime TV show’s setting also includes visible propaganda typical for that period of Polish history.

Would you like to know more about Poland? Here are the top five things you need to know about Polish society.

2. Dancing with the Stars: Taniec z gwiazdami

Dancing with the Stars: Taniec z gwiazdami is a Polish TV show based on the well-known international format Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing. Just like in other versions of this franchise, Polish stars and celebrities are paired up with professional dancers to learn how to dance. This show’s had an unbelievable twenty-two editions so far, which gives you a lot to watch to practice your Polish.

1- Language Focus

This show focuses on the lives of celebrities who talk about their struggles with the new challenge. You can learn vocabulary related to showbusiness, physical activity, injuries, and personal problems. Listening to the judges will help you learn how to express opinions in Polish and will expand your knowledge by introducing new adjectives.

2- Cultural Context

This TV show will introduce you to the world of Polish stars and celebrities, increasing your understanding of modern Polish culture. It’s also a very entertaining show for people who love good music. Speaking of, have you ever been to a Polish music festival?

3. Belfer

The recent Polish TV series The Teach (Belfer) is about a teacher who solves crime mysteries. There have been two seasons of this series so far.

1- Language Focus

This Polish TV series is full of modern vocabulary, including slang used by young people. You’ll learn how people in Poland speak nowadays, giving you a competitive advantage over Polish learners who primarily study with books that were often written long ago.

Before you find this series or other Polish TV shows on Roku, you may want to check out PolishPod101’s lesson on school subjects.

2- Cultural Context

The action takes place in a Polish school. You’ll gain a better understanding of the Polish education system as well as problems that young people experience today. The series features a number of famous actors, including Maciej Stuhr, Magdalena Cielecka, and Grzegorz Damięcki.

4. Alternatywy 4

Alternatywy 4 (“4 Alternative Street” ) is a cult Polish TV show which focuses on the everyday lives of residents of a block of flats on 4 Alternative Street.

Block of Flats

1- Language Focus

Alternatywy 4 shows the everyday lives of Polish people, which means that a lot of vocabulary relates to everyday life: conversations about apartments, weather, and family. There’s also a lot of humor in this series, so you’ll need to work to understand all the jokes.

If you’d like to improve your TV- and cinema-related vocabulary, check out our lesson “Which Polish Movie Should We Watch?

2- Cultural Context

The series was directed by a cult movie director, Stanisław Bareja. It shows paradoxes of PRL, in contrast to, for instance, 07 Zgłoś się mentioned above. It’s an example of people’s resourcefulness and creativity when freedom of art is restricted.

5. Tajemnica Sagali

Tajemnica Sagali (“The Secret of Sagal” ) is a Polish adventure series for children and adolescents. The main characters of the TV show are brothers who need to find parts of a powerful magical stone, Sagala. This coproduction with Germany became one of the most beloved Polish children’s TV shows.

A Stone

1- Language Focus

The series gives you a nice mixture of vocabulary related to the everyday lives of the characters, and to the adventure they’ve embarked on. The target audience is children and adolescents, so the dialogue is easier to follow than in series aimed at adults.

2- Cultural Context

This Polish TV series is a good example of what Polish people—who are today in their thirties—grew up with. You can compare it to the series of your own childhood. Are they similar or different? Let us know in the comments section.

6. Rozmowy w toku

Rozmowy w toku (“Conversations Underway” ) is a Polish TV program that was on air for sixteen years. Its host, Ewa Drzyzga, became famous thanks to the show’s popularity, and won a number of awards.

Each episode focuses on a particular social issue, which the host discusses with guests who are dealing with it. Experts such as psychologists, sociologists, and other social science experts, also take part in the discussion.

1- Language Focus

This Polish television series will provide you with a lot of new vocabulary on various social topics. Guests come from many different backgrounds and regions of Poland. This allows you to hear spoken Polish of different registers and variations of Polish, as well as get acquainted with different accents.

2- Cultural Context

Watching Rozmowy w toku allows you to better understand the Polish way of thinking. You’ll also notice how social acceptance of certain issues has been changing over the years.

Are you looking for Polish TV in the USA or in another country far away from Poland? Check out the official websites of channels such as TVN, TVP, and Polsat, and they may be able to help you. There are also many Polish TV shows on Netflix.

7. 13 Posterunek

13 Posterunek (“Precinct no. 13” ) is another one of the best Polish comedy TV shows. This sitcom was produced in the late 90s and is entirely shot at a police station, Precinct number 13. Speaking of the police, do you know how to call for help in Polish?

A Police Officer

1- Language Focus

You’ll certainly learn some vocabulary regarding Polish police procedures as well as the judicial system. Due to the comedic nature of the series, the characters talk a lot about their personal lives while on duty. It’s a less challenging series to watch than the above mentioned Alternatywy 4 as a lot of the humor is situational.

2- Cultural Context

This series is directed by the famous Polish movie director, Maciej Ślesicki. It features a number of popular Polish actors as main characters, including one of the most popular comedians, Cezary Pazura. Many famous actors also have their cameos in this series. By the way, do you think you know the top five Polish pop culture icons? Go to the lesson and check your knowledge.

8. Kuchenne Rewolucje

Kuchenne Rewolucje (“Kitchen Revolutions” ) features the famous Polish chef, Magda Gessler. In each episode, she visits a restaurant that’s struggling financially and helps its owners save it.

Do you feel like you have to brush up on your Polish vocabulary related to utensils and tableware before you start watching the show? Click on the link and start studying!

1- Language Focus

The main focus of this series is cooking and food, so you can expect a lot of vocabulary related to these topics. What’s more, the restaurants are often in financial trouble, so you’ll likely hear about the everyday problems of its owners and staff.

2- Cultural Context

Magda Gessler is a TV personality whose name you’ll hear mentioned in conversations. The series itself is quite popular, so knowing what it’s about will give you a topic to chat about when you’re asked about your favorite Polish TV programs.

9. Sensacje XX wieku

Sensacje XX wieku (“Sensational Stories of the XXth Century” ) is a Polish TV show with historical reenactments of mysterious stories from the XXth century.

An Old Picture of a Tank From WWII

1- Language Focus

This history TV show will help you expand your vocabulary on the topics of history, politics, and social issues. The narration is led in a mixture of the past and present tense, which will help you pick up on some Polish grammar!

2- Cultural Context

Many of the episodes present unknown or little-known stories about Poland or the surrounding region that are of historical importance. Watching this series will help you not only speak Polish better, but will also help you learn your Polish history.

10. Milionerzy

Milionerzy ( “Millionaires” ) is a Polish TV game show based on the British TV version Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Participants can win a million PLN by choosing the correct answer to a number of questions. Sounds easy? Maybe, but very few people manage to win the main prize. The show has been produced by not one Polish TV company, but three.

1- Language Focus

This show is in an easy-to-follow format. Questions and answers are shown on the screen, which makes it simple for you to check the words you don’t know in the dictionary and participate in the show from your couch. There’s also a lot of banter, which will give you a lot of exposure to typical Polish conversations. The most famous question in this show is certainly: Czy to jest twoja ostateczna odpowiedź? (“Is this your final answer?” )

2- Cultural Context

Many questions are related to Poland as well as Polish culture (including pop culture), language, and history. Thanks to this show, you may learn a lot about these things and increase your general knowledge.

11. Miś uszatek

Miś uszatek (“Floppy Bear” ) is a show for children, and certainly one of the top Polish TV shows. The protagonist of this stop-motion animated series is a teddy bear with a floppy ear. The show has over 100 episodes and has been a massive success, both in Poland and abroad. It has been bought by over twenty countries.

Teddy Bear

1- Language Focus

Miś uszatek is a kiddies’ show which makes it particularly easy to understand. The characters speak slower and more clearly than what you can usually hear on TV. With elocution being one of the show’s characteristics, it’s perfect for beginners—even absolute beginners.

2- Cultural Context

The teddy bear is a cult figure of Polish pop culture. There’s a statue of the protagonist in Łódź on Piotrkowska Street.

12. Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of Polish TV shows. There’s no single best Polish TV company producing the best TV shows to learn the Polish language. It’s always good to have some variety, so we recommend that you start with our list. When you’re done with it, your Polish level will be much higher. Are you going to start with a game show, a cult Polish comedy series, or a crime mystery? Let us know in the comments section.

Where can you watch Polish TV shows online? There’s a lot of Polish TV on Roku and on similar servers. Remember that Polish TV in the USA, and other countries with a large Polish community, is relatively easy to access.

Watching Polish television can help you tremendously with your listening comprehension, but you need more to truly learn Polish. PolishPod101 offers you countless lessons and learning materials to help you polish your Polish. Don’t wait any longer—start your free lifetime account today.

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