"Tack, vithaj" (pronounced more or less the same as this sentence) means "Thank you, white shark" in Swedish :D
This perfectly sums up my problem now I have started to learn more than one language...
Is "witaj" less formal than "witamy", or are they just two equivalent words that mean welcome?
witamy = my witamy (we welcome)
witaj = ty witaj (you are welcome here)
witam = ja witam (I welcome)
witajcie = wy witajcie (you - plural - are welcome here)
Witam and witamy are more elegant than witaj and witajcie.
Yes. Just like in English (to welcome someone). In other languages, like Spanish, it is a verbal phrase (dar la bienvenida a alguien)
For example when you first time in real life meet some person and you want be sure that this is correct person:
- Cześć, to ty jesteś Tomek? (Hello, you are Tom?)
- Tak, cześć/witam (Yes, hello/welcome) - in this situation hello will be better word.
First part it is answer and second is greetings.
If someone said, "May I come in?"
Would, "Yes, welcome," be the answer?
Is "welcome" the response to thank you in Polish, as well as a greeting that expresses a warm reception?
This is quite a strange word in Polish. For example you can either say "Witaj!" (kinda like "you be welcome here"? hard to translate...) or "Witam!" ("I welcome you here"). I think it should rather start the conversation than be an answer to "May I come in?". I'd rather imagine "Tak, tak, oczywiście, zapraszam" (yes yes of course, I invite") as an answer here ;)
Moreover, as "witam" should rather be said by the host, it somehow shows an uneven relation, where the person saying "witam" is higher. For example, it is a common mistake for which students may get scolded, to start an e-mail to a university teacher with "witam". That may be considered impolite. Generally it's hard to use by a person non-native to the culture, and it's hard to describe its usage. I feel that I may have rather confused you more rather than explained something... maybe someone can answer that better.
A response equivalent to "you're welcome" would be "Proszę bardzo", also "Nie ma za co" (There's nothing to (thank) for" or "Ależ proszę" (slightly old-fashioned).
That's a clear and gracious explanation, actually. Thank you very much!
'Witam', 'witaj' and all the rest are best explained by the English 'greetings', I think
In English "yes, welcome" sounds weird to me. "Yes, you are welcome" would sound better and make sense.
But 'witam' doesn't mean 'you are welcome', just 'welcome' or 'greetings'. It's not a response to 'thank you'.
(I agree 'tak, witam' is a little odd)
Zapraszamy can be found on the doors of half the shops in Poland, meaning we welcome you. So, I've always understood 'tak, witaj!' as a greeting if somebody asks to share a table, or use an empty seat next to me on the train? Although, in both cases, I would just say 'Prosze!'
"Witaj" is generally a surprisingly difficult word to translate and to use... I guess "hi" can work, although I don't exactly love this translation. But ok, added.
How would "witaj" be used in real life? Like when you say "welcome" for someone walking into your store? Or saying "you're welcome" when someone said "thank you" to you?
The first one. Only that... that would have to be someone that you know, not a stranger ;)
"witać" is generally surprisingly difficult in usage. In your situation "Witam" (more like "I welcome you") would feel safer.
Depends on the context. "Proszę bardzo!" is like "Here you go!", while "Nie ma za co" is like "There's nothing to thank for".
Oh, thought Tak means Hello! Wow! I bet all of you guys are doing GREAT!!