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After failed attempts at Russian and Ukrainian, I'm glad to actually get the hang of Polish.

I had heard things about Polish that almost turned me off of it: 7 cases and 7 genders, 4-6 consonants stuck together impossible for any non-Slav to pronounce. But I'm finding after the first few lessons that it's actually easier than Russian and Ukrainian! The fact that it uses Latin script helps (I more or less know Cyrillic but there's definitely a learning curve when reading the letters). The pronunciation is consistent, so I don't have to worry about stressed/unstressed syllables where an O sounds like an A. The genders (of which I've only encountered 3, not 7 as I had been told) are going to take some getting used to, but if I can tackle der/die/das in German it shouldn't be a big problem. All in all, dziękuję for this course and I very much look forward to completing it. I'll have to take a quick trip to Poland once I do.

December 12, 2015



I'm Italian but I have Polish heritage and I can tell you honestly that with practice and patience (a lot) you can improve the pronunciation! It's difficult at the beginning 'cause you have to pronunciate sound you've never pronunced in your life, but nothing is impossible! Dawaj czadu! :)


Well, the most interesting fact about Polish is that even Polish people have problems with their own language, really! (especially accusative vs possesive and unexplained ends of some phrases)

Anyway, good luck and have fun! :D


I know! My mom just took the placement test (she was born and raised in Poland) and she missed a lot of things on it. The Polish language is difficult yet not impossible.


the easiest way to make mistakes in placement test is making mistakes in English, (polish doesn't have "a" or "the" And claiming poles have problem with their own language is a bit stretching, when you see amount of native English speakers who make mistakes in English. accusative vs possesive is not what you think- it's animated vs not animated , ussually with new words like komputer or blog or SMS


Yea.. my mistakes on placement test were 90% because of "a" and "the". Even when I speak english I drop them in most cases.


The take away point is that native speakers of any language do not speak their language perfectly. There are varying levels of competence at various levels of society. This is true every where one goes. So to presume that a native speaker is going to speak their language at peak levels of fluency is false, the average person cannot. The average speaker doesn't even possess a large vocabulary. This is what I try to remind people who feel defeated during the course of their studies: You don't have to be a robot, demonstrating perfection. You can most certainly conquer your chosen language and speak it well. You may even bypass the average native.


Poland is so much fun! I've been there 5 times and the old town is so good. I wish that I could've went to the Krakow (I can't use accents on my computer) old town because I hear that it's the best one in Poland. If you're into scientific experiments go to the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw. They have so many things to do. I've been there once and I don't think I really did anything compared to what they have there. Good luck with Polish! Do widzenia!


But which old town do you mean?


Well, you know that every one of them is different, right? Cracow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Torun, Bydgoszcz, Lublin etc. Poland is so big and has so complicated history that there is a lot of different architecture styles! And each old town has its own advantages.


It's actually Krakow


You should definitely visit the others. Like I said, every one of them is beautiful and different :)


You forgot Białystok! Great city. Stayed there for a couple weeks last time I was in Poland.


Well, in search of interesting old towns you can't forget Zamosc and Kazimierz Dolny. ;)


Between Warsaw and Krakow, which do you like better?


Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland. Remember that Warsaw was completely destroyed in WWII by Germans.

[deactivated user]

    Well, Warsaw was almost completely destroyed during ww2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_destruction_of_Warsaw

    Of course it's impressive that Poles managed to rebuild all those old buildings and you can still visit the Warsaw Old Town, but it's more like a theme park than a real medieval/early modern city, while Cracow is still 100% "authentic". It may sound harshly but unfortunately this is how history "works" in this part of Europe.


    When I was in Warsaw recently, they were doing some restoration work in the Old Town, there was a cover over the buildings.

    [deactivated user]

      550 day streak, French level 25 and five other languages? Quite impressive - a lingot for you.


      And now level 11 in Polish ;)


      I've actually never been to Krakow


      Krakow for sure. It truly is a beautiful place to be.


      I was there earlier this year, spent 2 days in Warsaw, and 2 days in Krakow (Not nearly enough time for both). I loved every minute there. One of our guides said a quote that "Warsaw is ugly because its' history is so beautiful." Warsaw is growing tremendously, skyscrapers are being constructed throughout the city, and I suspect in 5-10 years it's going to look much different than even now.

      Now maybe I was biased towards Warsaw, over Krakow, because it rained most of the time we were in Krakow, but "Rynek Glowny" in Krakow is fantastic. And a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a MUST.

      I also really enjoyed driving through the area of the Carpathian mountains in the south, some real beautiful country there, although we missed out on going to Zakopane.


      Everyone thinking of visiting Poland should take some time to see the Carpathians, and not just the cities. I was raised in the Tatras. It's dotted with little villages and market/spa towns, farms and beautiful views.


      I hear though Zakopane has become somewhat of a 'tourist trap.'


      in what way? I'd like to go there sometime, but i hope it's possible to kind of forego all the touristy stuff.


      We visited a small village called "Orawka", near the border with Slovakia, and went inside the St John the Baptist Church, it was one of my favorite parts of my entire stay in Poland. The surrounding mountains were gorgeous, reminded me a bit of Switzerland.


      I just went September to visit my family and I had so much fun! I was there for 2 weeks and it felt like I was there for a day. Poland is so much fun!


      Wieliczka is pretty but I prefer Bochnia. It's less touristy and less crowded


      As for the gender, I have no idea where you got 7 from. The most people usually mention is 5:

      masculine personal
      masculine animate impersonal
      masculine inanimate

      In singular, you have three genders and the masculine animate vs inanimate matters when forming the accusative, but that's all.

      In plural, masculine personal is separate from everything else.


      I'm sure you'll do great! :)


      Try saying this in Polish: Chrzaszcz(accent on a) brzmi w trzcinie w strzebrzeszynie


      How in the hell do you have a "w" without a vowel?


      Actually it is: Chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie w Szczebrzeszynie (a Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie).


      I can say it a little bit!


      I can't get accents on my computer


      You mean: W Szczebrzeszynie chrąszcz brzmi w trzcinie, a Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie

      Most classic (and most difficult) of Polish poems


      w means "in" in Polish


      Usually w or z comes between words that either have the preceding word ending in a vowel, or the following word starting with a vowel, so you basically extend the word with the w or z, therefore, for example, I would see the sentence:

      Chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie w Szczebrzeszynie


      Chrząszcz brzmiw trzciniew Szczebrzeszynie

      For me that helps to simplify it.


      Interesting. Russian has the same phenomenon with в. Seems like it would be difficult to pronounce without that attached vowel.


      Most Slavic languages have those kinds of prepositions.


      'w' and 'z' tend to be absorbed into the word proceding it rather than the word before. So you'd say "brzmi w trzcinie" like "brzmi wtrzcinie", not "brzmiw trzcinie". This is how I've heard this all my life. Also, there's no rule that w or z only occur between vowels. Like in the sentence "jestem z Francji", z isn't located near any vowel.


      It's more like "w" and "z" are replaced with "we" and "ze" when the resulting combination would be too difficult to pronounce. Note Poles don't perceive all difficult to foreigners stuff as difficult to themselves. You just need to get the hand of it. Also "w" and "z" can occur at the start of the word and even between two consonants, no problem. And it always combines with the next word, not the preceding.


      That's quite easy, pronunciation is connected with the beginning of next word. If even with this it's impossible to say, we add "e". "W Warszawie", but "we Wrocławiu". The same with letter "z" (used as "from"). "On jest z Krakowa, a ona ze Szczecina" - "He is from Cracow, and she is from Szczecin"


      Chrzaszcz(accent on a)

      Note about the accent made me smile ))


      lol. just beginning, really, with Polish. I pronounce them one way to remember how to spell the word. Finally, finally, my spelling has improved that I can start pronouncing some words more like Polish should sound but wow...to say a word fast? To HEAR a word fast! lololololol. I bet I will only understand news readers and not normal folks for a very long time, outside of a few words.


      Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Polish has 4 genders and not 3 or 7. They are: Masculine animate, Masculine inanimate, Feminine and Neuter.


      I think there is also masculine personal.


      By this logic Russian also has 4 genders


      See, I'm so glad I learned Russian first, because I didn't have to deal with familiar letters making unfamiliar sounds ;) Polish seems much easier when at least I know how things are supposed to sound, even if some of those consonant clusters are soooo intimidating! Always good to see someone get the Slavic bug, though ;D


      Man, how different people think so differently. As someone who speaks several Romance and Germanic languages at a high level, I've never had an issue with familiar letters making unfamiliar sounds, as long as the phonemes are consistent. The thing about Russian is that not only does the alphabet takes some getting used to, the phonemes (particularly the vowels) are so inconsistent depending on where they are in the word. With Polish I feel like I'm on cruise control with the letters so I can focus on the general framework of the language, which (I hope) will translate to other Slavic languages.


      Yeah, it's always interesting to see how different people cope with different languages! I've seen people who are making their way through the Turkish tree and worrying Russian will be too hard; me, I got to level 8 in Turkish and eventually deleted it, on the grounds I didn't feel like I'd got to grips with any of it, and if I start again at some point, I will pretty much be starting from zero even after considerable effort! Turkish I found impenetrable, to the point where I felt like a total dunce. Ukrainian's arrival came just in time to stop me thinking I'd somehow mislaid any language learning ability I'd once had.

      I think it's mostly the consonant clusters that get me with Polish spelling. cz, ż, z, sz, rz I can deal with, it's words like mężczyzna that get me - I can work it out, and if I hear it and see it at the same time, my memory makes the link, but my brain's initial reaction to żczyzn all in a row is to run screaming from the room ;)

      I did 8 years of French, two of German and a (very) little Spanish, but I still got on better with Russian, and dropped French in favour of it after one year of uni. I'm sure my progress down the Polish tree at some point is going to sloooow, but so far it's mostly the spelling doing my head in.

      (I remember learning, and being able to pronounce without difficulty, Cześć, then asking someone to write it down for me, and then having to sit down and sound it out before I could actually say it again headdesk and several words in this course so far by sound I can understand on first hearing, but by sight I boggle at even when I've seen them half a dozen times and/or still struggle to spell.)

      The grammar is trickier than Russian or Ukrainian, I think, but in the same ballpark, and on the whole it's very familiar (and some of it is vaguely similar to the small amount of Croatian I remember). I definitely think if you can get your brain round Polish, you'll give yourself a head start in other Slavic languages. And obviously, considering the one I know best and have known longest is Russian, I am biased, but so far I'd say Russian is, if anything, easier; the conjugations seem in general more regular, and things like not needing the instrumental case for the predicate in the present tense means you can actually make simple sentences without needing the instrumental. Also, the information is pretty sparse, so it's possible there are patterns I'm yet to spot, but I feel like the declension of nouns feels pretty mysterious in places... (I'd say Ukrainian seems easier, too, but the tree for Ukrainian is relatively sparse, and it's the only Ukrainian study I've done, so I'd hesitate to assume I knew enough to offer a considered/knowledgable opinion.)

      Before starting the course here, my Polish considered of hello, goodbye, please, thank you/thanks, and being able to tell people I could understand them but couldn't actually speak Polish 8-o LOL, but having one or more Slavic languages in your brain is a huge help to the next. I fairly sprinted down the Ukrainian tree, and while Polish is decidedly more challenging, I'm getting on faster than I did when I started German, which I arguably knew more of (false beginner, didn't test out of anything in the placement test, but still remembered numbers, colours, family members, basic greetings; not a lot, but way more than I knew of Polish - I'm actually L15 (I think I confused Duolingo 'cause I have worked on German from Russian and a little from French, too), but I'm still miles from finishing the tree).

      It's also really interesting to see what is the same and what's different.

      For example, I tested out of the first Polish adjectives skill, because all six of the adjectives taught have cognates I was familiar with, even though I'd never come across them in the context of Polish.

      With the animals 1 skill, from the POV of looking at a word and having a reasonably good idea of what it meant without really having to think, only 'duck' kaczka was unfamiliar (утка in Russian, and even then, I would've recognised it had I remembered the Ukrainian качка), and I had to think for a moment to figure out what 'spider' was and then crossed my fingers I'd guessed right (pająk, паук, павук).

      Then of course, I get to owoce, with cognates овощи and овочі, and confidently write vegetables... only to find that, somehow, in Polish it means fruit instead 8-o

      ... I feel like this post got away from me. Can you tell I'm a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Slavic languages? LOL. Sorreeeee! But yeah, if you can get your head around Polish, then my personal experience is that it will be a huge help when moving on to other Slavic languages. You'll find some points where they are oddly or even humorously dissimilar, and some are siblings where others are decidedly cousins (or weird uncles; I'd be inclined to put Bulgarian in that bracket, for various reasons, though I'd still like to learn it one day!), but, in my experience, the family resemblance, if you'll forgive me stretching the metaphor, is evident and often helpful.


      Yeah, I once looked at a chart of all the Slavic languages and found you can basically separate them into "tribes": the Eastern Tribe (Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian), the Central Tribe (Polish, Czech, Slovak) and the Southern Tribe (Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Bulgarian). You can further subdivide those "tribes" into "clans" e.g. the Southeastern Clan (Bulgarian and Macedonian) and the Southwestern Clan (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Slovenian).


      Yup. Bulgarian (and Macedonian is very similar, I believe, but I know more about Bulgarian) is kind of weird, in that it's lost most of its cases, the personal pronouns and some other stuff are retained from Old Church Slavonic and are very different to what they are in other Slavic languages, and it also has some more complex tense systems - this last I think it possibly shares with the other Southern Slavic languages, but I never learned enough Croatian to get that far. (BG has an aorist tense, for example. and I think there's some other weirdnesses about evidentiary-ness (my technical language is ridiculously lacking here!) that I've read about but don't know in practice.)

      Western Slavic languages have the reputation of being the hardest, although I don't know if that's backed up by any science or anything; I think at least that if you get your head around Polish, the East Slavic branch might seem relatively sensible/simple to you in many respects, despite the Cyrillic :D

      Anyway - удачи, since I haven't a clue how to say that in Polish yet!


      I can't agree enough. I've always been good at spelling, but Russian has really humbled me in that regard! It makes me feel for learners of English in ways I wasn't able to appreciate before.


      Good, remember also that once your polish has gotten good it will then be easier to improve the others. Going from slovak to ukrainian and then russian actually helped improve each of them a lot. The common word pool with the exception of false friends are very useful in the longrun.


      I've been looking forward to building this pool up. I'm already starting to see it a bit and I love it. When I studied North Germanic languages + German in college, it really blew my mind to see just how clearly and thoroughly related languages sit on such sweet, sweet continua. :) I'm especially excited to see this among Slavic languages since they make up such a huge variety.


      I've never tried Russian, but with Ukrainian I have the opposite experience. Polish is, so far, the most difficult language I've encountered on here. The pronunciation gives me no problem, the gender gives me no problems, but the words themselves? I've never encountered such long words for such simple things. I'm really enjoying the course so far though, and my limited Ukrainian knowledge is being a big help, with many of the words sounding similar. In summary, I'm very happy to be given the chance at learning this amazing language, but I don't think I'll be able to move very quickly with it.


      Really enjoying Polish, so glad its finally on Duolingo. Slavic languages written in Cyrillic have 1 letter - 1 sound because there are 36 letters - Polish only has 22 or so, which is why you need all the accents and double letters to make all the Slavic sounds.

      If you have learnt Latin at school Polish is a scoosh


      Really, is that so? Why is Latin like Polish?

      [deactivated user]

        He probably meant that they are both similar structurally, for example the way Latin and Polish cases work (of course all case endings are different, but some general "logic" is the same).


        Good luck! Polish is really difficult language.


        I like your username, I'm a huge fan of all things football


        Thanks! I'm a proud supporter of Manchester United and I really love football :)


        Polska! Biało-Czerwoni! I see they got grouped with Germany for Euro 2016.


        Something alike happens to me, I think that what changes is that Polish actually doesn't have a quite different alphabet (it has some different letters, but just a few, while Ukrainian or Russian have a complete different alphabet).


        You guys are getting the hang of this? I'm almost to the 3rd castle and I feel like I'm hitting a wall.


        If you're hitting a wall, then you're almost in the castle!

        Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.