Lesson Transcript

Hello, everybody! I’m Marzena from PolishPod101.com and today, I would like to talk about introduction in Polish so introducing yourself in Polish. We actually have three different ways to say your name in Polish, but there are some things you need to keep in mind when you are doing it. That’s why we will go through it today together.
So first, you can use the verb, nazywać się, and it’s here, nazywam się. So, nazywać się, it’s actually the form you will find in the dictionary. Here, we have already a conjugated form, nazywam się, so, this means something like my name or actually not my name is, “I’m named…” So, it’s kind of very difficult to translate it into English, but the point is that this verb comes from a noun nazwisko. It’s kind of connected and nazwisko is your “family name” and this is the important part. So this means that with this verb, we need to use family name and you can choose, you can use your family name only or you can choose first name and family name. Both are correct, but if you use only your name, so only your first name, this will be incorrect. There are some people in Poland who are saying that, who are using it this way, but this is actually considered to be incorrect.
So, let’s look at those two examples here.
First, we have nazywam się. So, there is no better way like “I’m called… / I’m named…”, there is no good translation again. Nazywam się… Nazywam się Kowalska. Now, can you guess what Kowalska is? Is it first name or is family name? Is it first name or is it family name? So yeah, it’s a family name, yeah? Because with nazywam się, we need to use family name. So you can say - Nazywam się Kowalska.
Another way of doing that would be saying your family name and then your first name or actually, the other way around, your first name and then family name - Nazywam się Maria Kowalska. Now, that’s one way of saying your family name or your first name and family name.
Let’s look at another way of doing that - Mam na imię. Again, it’s like a phrase and the dictionary form would be mieć na imię where mieć means “to have”, na is like “for” and imię “name” and imię is “name”.
So here, we have already conjugated form, mam na imię, which basically is… well, basically, you can translate it kind of into “I have for my name…” which sounds very weird. It’s just, “My name is…” So, with this pattern, you use your first name because we are talking about the name and the name here, it means first name.
So you can say - Mam na imię Maria. The same Maria from here, only we don’t use the family name here. We use only the first name because imię, it literally means first name. Okay, so this is the second way of saying your name in Polish.
And we actually have a third way and it’s kind of probably the simplest, but maybe the one that is not used so often. And we can use the verb “to be” and the verb “to be” in Polish is być. Być is the dictionary form of this verb. Now here, we already have conjugated form, jestem. And you can say… well, you can say - Jestem Maria. You can say jestem Maria, but I think there has to be some kind of context to it. I don’t think you will use it very often like when you introduce yourself, nazywam się / mam na imię, probably it’s more often used than jestem. But with jestem, you can use many other things. You don’t have to only use your first name or first name and family name so like full name, but you can use also your nationality. You can also use your occupation and many other things, just the same as in English with the word “to be”, with the verb “to be”.
So, let’s look at one more example here. So, jestem Maria is just telling your name. But here, we have - jestem studentem, jestem studentką. This means “I’m a student” so it’s just like saying your occupation. Well, you’re a student, so, if you are a student at a university, you will say student if you are a guy or studentka if you are a girl. Here, we have, jestem studentem, jestem studentką. Now, why does it sound a little bit different than the dictionary form? So dictionary form is student and here we have studentem. Dictionary form for female is studentka and here, we have studentką. Well, in Polish, nouns change and the form of a noun that we need here for the verb jestem is the instrumental case, so we just change student into studentem and studentka into studentką.
Okay, so now that you know all those three ways, let’s just wrap everything up. So, once again, we have three ways of saying your name. The first one is nazywam się and because it kind of comes from the noun meaning “family name”, you have to give your family name when you use this form and you can give your family name or you can give first name and family name. Both are okay, you choose whichever you like.
Now, the next one is mam na imię. Mam na imię because imię is actually your “first name”, then you are required to put your first name here and only first name.
And then, our last way is just to use the verb “to be” jestem. And here, you can use your first name or you can use your first name and family name, but you have so many other choices. You can say your occupation or you can say your nationality, just remember to change the dictionary form into instrumental case. So you need to change the noun into instrumental case.
And that’s all for today! Thank you for watching. Thank you! See you next time!


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Sunday at 05:17 PM
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Hi Jimmy,

Please check out these lessons:

Painless Polish Grammar!


About Polish Verbs


Should you need extra help with grammar, check out our grammar banks:


In case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.



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Saturday at 02:15 AM
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Like it, has a good pace. Hope you are going to have similar on verb conjugations. Thanks