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Duolingo Polish Learners Facebook group!

We've set up a Facebook group for Polish learners who want to learn more about the language, discuss the grammar with other learners and native speakers, and learn about the Polish culture. And who knows, maybe you'll even find a penpal?

Join the group here:


December 13, 2015



I really appreciate that there is now a beta version of Polish for English speakers on Duolingo. However, I can already suggest straight away for a future development, that this course should perhaps start even more basic for English speakers than with, say, the German language course. With German on Duolingo I managed to gain several levels within the first day without ever having been taught the language, which was very fun to do. With the Polish course I am struggling to get past the first level, as for the pronunciation and particularly the spelling is much more difficult. It would be great if words could be broken down into their component parts and recited in the lesson to build up my memory of the spelling, before delving into such statements as 'a man is eating an apple'. Thanks for putting up this course though, and I will try my best! :)


The reason german is easier is for you is because it is from the same language group as English so they share so much in common. If you spoke Slovakian or another more similar language to Polish then you would also shoot through the early levels of Polish. I do however agree to an extent that If you learn Polish in classes the first month or more is only on alphabet phonics, the case endings and the slow introduction of verbs, however, Duolingo it seems is trying to keep a consistent format across languages. Polish is meant to be the hardest language to learn in the world, persist and I hope for you it starts to make more sense.


Whether Polish is hard or not really depends on your background. There are a lot of reasons for me, why Polish is rather simple:

Grammar: Many people speaking Romanic languages are scared because of those cases. Being German, I'm used to having some cases, though we have only four of them. Nevertheless the concept stays the same and as a bonus very, very often the you use the same case in both languages. But now look at the tenses in Polish: Present, past, future. Done. Plus some conditional, which is much more easier than in English. Also the structure of the sentence is relatively free. Look at how many confusing tenses English or Spanish have.

Being able to speak: You are allowed to make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. People will try to understand you. And even if you mess up they will understand you most of the time. Why? The case endings, maybe the biggest source of mistakes, are not intonated. So if you get one wrong, the part of the word carrying the most information is still correct. Also Polish people often travel to other Slavic countries, which causes them to be used to hear and understand very strangely sounding "versions" of their own language. If they manage to understand Slovakian, they will understand your mistakes. Have you tried speaking Spanish in Spain as a foreigner? You won't be understood if you make a tiny mistake with the tenses or your pronunciation is a tad off.

Being able to understand: Polish is very melodic, so actually it is quite easy to separate the words from each other when you hear them. Many words are anglicisms and a lot of words are derived from other words: you can force nouns into becoming adjectives, verbs into becoming nouns and so on. So, you learn one word, you understand five.

Writing and reading: Yes, I know, big clusters of consonants. But they are written as they are spoken. Some problems with ś, si and so on will occur, but just look at the two English words "dough" and "tough".


I think it also depends on how an individual is 'wired' - I get on way better with Slavic languages than I ever have with Romance languages.


That's true. And when you get older you have to be more persistent when you tell your brain that it has to learn something new. And that probably makes so many people think that one language is lot harder to learn than the other.


Hahaha, yes - bullying one's brain into learning whether it likes it or not is a necessary skill! 8-o 'Dear brain, yes, you will learn these consonant clusters' is my current battle...


Ha, good one. Im in high school and thats the solution for me, it gets harder and harder! Thanks for the tip! :)


I find asian languages easy for some reason ^_^.


Absolutely, I believe the English language is mostly derived from German, am I correct? I just wanted to learn some of the basics of Polish as for I am visiting Poland for Christmas, but due to the difficulty of the language and the format of the course I don't think it will be possible for somebody like me to even learn any basics if I spent all week on this. That's why as for it is a Polish for English speakers course, I would suggest that they could develop it to start it a little simpler. I believe this is achievable without changing the format too much. Besides that, I'm going to give it a shot and see if I can at least complete some of this. Duolingo has been the best tool for me to learn German, so perhaps it'll work. I see you're on level 3 already...


With that as your timeframe, what you need is a good phrase book.


Wrong, English and German have a (closer) common root. Sorry, just can't help wanting to get linguistic facts straight...


Old English was a germanic language, thus many of the most common words are germanic (the monosyllabic ones and the short ones). Most words though derive from Old French (imported after 1066 by William of Normandy and his bunch) and quite some from Latin (church related stuff).


You're basically right. Latin influence can also be seen in some place names in England (from the Roman occupation). Both Latin and Greek have played important roles in the development of English since the Renaissance.


Of course I am right, I had to pass diachronic linguistics last semester G.


If you have a cell phone or tablet, there are some pretty good Polish language apps in the windows and google app stores, and many of them offer free lessons with options to unlock more lessons. Language Coach is one that seems pretty good, but there are many more, and to purchase them is usually between $2-$4 with a few being about $10. Do different searches to find them in the stores, as some of them don't show on a single search... example searches: Polish language, Learn Polish, Speak Polish, Talk Polish, Polish, etc.. Also, maybe try some for children to learn the alphabet. They say that children's books are excellent ways to learn a foreign lanuage. There are some pretty good Polish lessons and children's educational videos on youtube.


The Google translate app lets you speak, type, hand write or photograph foreign languages and will translate them remarkably (so I'm told!) closely.


I have the advantage of living in Poland and having 4 weeks of tutoring so i am familiar with some of the basic vocab like food and stuff. However, saying more than please, thank you, help etc is my current limit! Hoping this duolingo course will help me put some sentences together. My advise is learn survival phrases like how to say "do you speak English" ("czy mowisz po angelsku") and this please "to prosze" when pointing at something on a menu or item in a shop. I think realistically that will be more useful. Either way good luck and enjoy Poland :)


I believe it's "Po prosze" for please :-)


Actually, it's "poproszę". "Proszę" also works, but they aren't always interchangeable. "Proszę" can be used both when giving and asking for something, as well as addressing someone respectful (for example proszę pana/pani/księdza [in genitive] - sir/madam/priest, but I can't really think of any other case I'd use it).

"Poproszę" works only when asking for something and it sounds somehow more polite. Unfortunately, I can't figure out a rule which of the two sounds better in a particular situation.

Also, technically it's in the future tense, so you can say something like "Jutro poproszę lekarza o zwolnienie" (Tomorrow I'll ask the doctor for a sick note).

"To proszę" isn't necesarily wrong. It means roughly "This, please" and it's an acceptable thing to say when want to ask for something, but don't know the word for it.


You can most certainly learn some basic things for a trip to Poland its taken me 2 months to start understanding the cases however i am a slow learner. my advice to you would be to learn some phrases rather than learn the language from the ground up. learn some phrases like please 'proszę' so you can then ask for most things or offer people things. learn excuse me sir/mam 'przepraszam pan/pani ' an apology or to start a convocation with a stranger. For a trip my advice is to learn specific phrases and certain answers :)


It will get worse when the different case endings will kick in... This is hell on earth.


One of the most important things to determine your success or failure when learning a new language is attitude. All languages have aspects which you will find to be easy and difficult.

Keep a positive attitude! I can tell you from personal experience that the Polish people will be THRILLED if you even attempt to speak to them with a TINY bit of their language. Even bad Polish will cause them to open their arms and embrace you as a welcomed guest.

It is a wonderful culture. They are a wonderful people. Keep your eyes on the prize! You CAN DO THIS!!!


^^^ this.

In my experience, even being able to more or less accurately say Cześć has got me props from Poles. Seriously.

The only problem is that, again, in my experience, Poles pretty much assume foreigners won't speak their language at all, and if you do speak it, well, you must really speak it. So if you can say a few things with a decent accent, the idea that you are a foreigner who can only say those things is bizarre to them.

I don't know if this is purely because so few foreigners bother to learn any or what, but I remember learning how to say I'm sorry, I can't speak Polish, and because I have a background in Slavic languages I managed to say it pretty well, people assumed I was just being modest, and would start to rabbit on in Polish, and I would be... 8-o because although I could understand some, it was only some, and I couldn't actually respond at all. Makes for some humorous situations.

But yeah, overall, even a very few words in Polish go a really long way.


This is so true :) It seems that the little Polish that I speak I can pronounce almost perfectly (maybe due to my interest in phonetics in general...). So my day usually looks like this: I say some simple Polish sentence and my conversation partner goes like yup yup yup in Polish, and I'm like "mhm, could you repeat that?" And nobody wants to believe me that my Polish is really not good :) Well, anyway, I can really encourage anyone to learn it. Even if you can say only three sentences every Pole will love you for it. When I first came to Poland I was a bit afraid of being met with reserve, being a German and all, but the contrary is the case. Poles know about the difficulty of their language and whoever is trying to learn has a big bonus :)


This is definietly truth. Besides hearing strangers trying to talk in Polish for us Polish people souds very sweety :)


I absolutely agree. I went to Poland when I was 18 and met a whole bunch of family for the first time. Although I grew up speaking Polish, I was uneducated and I had far fewer grammar skills than your average Polish toddler, but everyone was downright AMAZED nonetheless.


I completely agree, they love even the most cobbled together effort to speak Polish. It's very encouraging :-)


Yes, seven. Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, Locative, Vocative, Instrumental, I believe. :-) Fortunately I don't think Locative and Vocative are used that much.


and this times male, female, neutral, hard consonant and soft consonant 7x5 = 35 ;-)))

an if there is an i this makes a consonant soft and the ones in front often change completely => entire new word stem and not to find in a dictionary. Yeah!!


Don't forget singular and plural! :-) That makes about 70. :-)


You ain't seen nothing yet chlowpiec


at least its not in cyrillic


In some ways I think it would actually be easier if it were in Cyrillic, because we don't have the same associations of what sound goes with what letter that we do with the Latin alphabet. And some of those crazy consonant groups would be so much easier if they just had one letter for the whole thing. :-) I have certainly found that knowing Cyrillic has helped me, although other people might be different.


Agreed, cirillic alphabet would work better eith Polish imho


Yep (I find that alphabet easy to be honest) and the reason for it not being cyrillic is because Polish have a connection to the Roman Catholic Church and they used latin instead of Cyrillic.

[deactivated user]

    Polish is difficult because it used a different alphabet... Try to do your best, but don't worry... Polish is great... and try to speak and behave like a native from the very first day, listening to more elaborated songs (Disney's songs are great for this), phrases and so on.... I am pretty sure we all can do this!


    I'm dutch and I never had this problem with learning Polish? It's hard yes but not impossible! But I have to admit, when you're not used to hearing Polish or using different cases it can be difficult. Maybe it helps if you watch a Polish film to be more accustomed to the pronunciation of Polish language :)


    I learned the alphabet via wikipedia and a few other sources, but I agree that maybe, they should make some further improvements, but I would say that at the moment, the course is ok.


    This makes me almost decide to get Facebook! :-)


    I have added it to the Mod Locator and references Thanks for creating these extra resources :D


    Thank you for creating the FB group. My parents are fluent in Polish, but they taught me very little so it's very slow going for me with this course. I think I'm going to need a lot of support! :)


    It would be nice if DuoLingo had that capability without going to Facebook ... like LiveMocha used to be like.


    Would it be possible to implement automatic audio? With the spanish course, every time there's a spanish word, it gets pronounced. With polish I have to click on the speaker and anything that isn't a direct polish to english translation has no audio at all. Especially with all the strange pronounciation I think this would be very useful.

    Otherwise, everything is pretty great!


    I apologize if this issue has been brought up in a previous comment, I did a cursory search and did not see it. This is not an issue with DuoLingo but rather iOS and trying to type the "ą" This has been a known issue with iOS for years, and I don't believe Apple has ever addressed it. It is really annoying that every other Polish character is available on the standard keyboard except this one. I am getting notification to watch accent marks when I type an "a" for "ą." Any suggestions?

    PS Thank you so much for creating this course. I am looking to expand my very basic understanding of Polish.


    The Polish keyboard you can install on iOS is very good, if you can't find another solution.


    That did work. It's frustrating that the basic keyboard has access to every Polish character exccept the "ą" even though some of the other characters are exclusive to the Polish alphabet. I installed the keyboard and it works perfectly. When DuoLingo is expecting a response in Polish, it changes to the Polish keyboard without my intervention. Thanks for the suggestion! :-)


    Welcome! Yes, it does seem a bit peculiar - considering the a already has 8 alternates, you wouldn't think adding ą in would be a troublesome thing 8-o I don't understand at all why it's missed out. Oh well!


    Hi Edward, Are you using an iPhone? I use one too and what I did was just going to the keyboards settings and add the polish keyboard (I need to press the earth symbol everytime I want to write in Polish, but that's fine for me).


    Yes, I use an iPhone too. It's working now that I added the Polish keyboard. The nice thing with DuoLingo, is I don't have to change keyboards to see the "ą" when it is expecting typing in Polish. I do have to press the earth symbol to switch keyboards if I want to text in Polish or use Polish in any other application. :-)


    I'm a native, but I need to improve my vocabulary since being in England for a very long time can affect your mother tongue, so I would love to join! :)


    I am really happy to be in this group!!!! I have been to Poland twice, and would like some day to live there for a few months to work on my Polish.


    I would love to learn Polish for Ukrainian or Russian speakers. I often do mistakes in English spelling and this is annoying a bit. Anyway, thank you! I like to learn on this webpage so far!


    I know I'm asking for a lot since the beta version just went up, but I'm assuming most Germanic language speakers on here are having trouble with Slavik language pronunciation (or maybe you have magical powers and are studying this at Hogwarts, I don't know). I was mainly wondering if there could be more help eventually with pronunciation of certain god-forsaken letters like ł or ą. At the moment the audio is super fast for me, and I can't hear the correct pronunciation well. I'm attempting to repeat back what she's saying, but I'm pretty much just spraying the surrounding area with saliva I didn't know could be produced at that fast of a rate from my parotid glands.



    Great video for the basics of letter/letter grouping pronunciations.


    In this video sounds are natural. I recomend it.


    I have found this link very helpful: http://goo.gl/ofo805


    This pronunciation is good but very touhg. In this examples words sounds like they are in Vocative. Usually Polish is more soft-sounding.


    The ł is actually pretty easy, it's just like W in English. And W is like a V. And there is no V.


    I am excited to learn polish. It is a beautiful language. I have been to Poland once before and hope to return. The pronunciations are very difficult and I often get tongue tied. I am using Pimsleur polish level 1 to help with pronunciation, i am making flash cards of what i learn to help with reading, and i am using duolingo to increase my vocabulary. I am very new, only been learning hard core for a week now, but i am excited to start talking to people to practice what i know! (hopefully when i visit again they can understand my silly american accent)

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