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Primary School teacher teaching English to polish children

Hey! I'm a Primary school teacher in England and really want to be able to help the children that are arriving into my class with no English whatsoever. I'm working (slowly) through the English to Polish duolingo course a level ahead of a student in my class so that I'm able to help him out. However I was wondering whether Duolingo planned to add in extra lessons for the pronunciation of the alphabet, and whether they are involving as both him and I are struggling to link the sounds the letters make between languages (for spelling and speaking). I already used duolingo levels to plan my French teaching with the class, which has really impressed their parents as they speak full sentences very quickly with this method. I was interested to see if there are any other Primary School teachers using this site and how it's working for your children? Also, I wanted an opinion on how accurate google translate is for Polish as I have to rely on this quite heavily for my Literacy lessons. Any other teachers, or other users got any input on this?

January 4, 2016



Google translate is ok for words, especially from Polish to English, but when you translate a sentence it doesn't make any sense :/


I use google translate all the time, but I would be very dubious about the idea of actually relying on it as a reference. It often comes up with ridiculous nonsense even with language pairs that are very close together, that you would expect to have well developed translation. You have to take everything it generates with a huge bucket of salt, as in, if you don't look at what you are reading and think 'oh yeah, that is probably what I would have said', then assume it is way off the reservation... It wholeheartedly is not accurate, not for any language combination. It is a fantastic tool, but if you have any faith in it being accurate at all, then you'd be better off destroying that faith right now!

That said, don't let me put you off using it ... It does offer a great convenience, but I don't trust anything that it comes out with, until I find at least three actual people on the internet that have said it the same way. Since I don't trust it, I test it by feeding the sentences it puts out piece by piece back into google web search, and seeing if anyone living has said anything remotely similar. It can take five or ten more minutes, but the extra confidence that you are on the right track is invaluable.


Thanks for the advice!


Not sure whether or not this would be useful, but. As far as pronouncing the Polish alphabet goes, you can download the audio that accompanies Colloquial Polish from the publisher for free, or just listen to individual tracks on the above page itself. The first fourteen tracks deal with pronunciation specifically (the first track is just a lot of introductory waffle). And if you want to see what you're pronouncing, you could also follow along with the book by going to its Amazon page and using the "Look inside" feature (click on the book's cover image).


Thank you so much for this one! I don't struggle so much with the reading but spelling and pronouncing the words correctly is what I'm finding difficult. (Plus the children laugh when I pronounce things wrong, though they have been helping me with my pronunciation which often makes me wonder which one of us is the teacher?)


Yeah, glad if it helps. :)

  • 1830

For the Polish pronunciation you may rely on Ivona. It was developed by Polish software engineers, so the Polish voices are really very good, I think the best are Jan and Jacek. You may put short sentences (up to 250 characters) on the website: https://www.ivona.com/pl/ and listen, you may even try to save mp3 files - they are stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder.

If you need an English-Polish dictionary, I suggest https://www.diki.pl/ (the other way it is not so good, probably better is f.ex. http://pl.pons.com/ )

For detailed explanations of Polish words you may like to use http://sjp.pwn.pl/ - it is a great resource, it contains detailed explanations of words, link to scans from a very good Polish Language Dictionary (Słownik Doroszewskiego - even if it is somewhat old, it is great), answers from specialists about specific words (the persons who answer the questions, are professors of Polish Language), sample phrases and proverbs, samples from the Corpus of the Language (proper usage of words taken of real texts).

The site provides also translations at http://translatica.pl/ - the quality of translations En -> Pl is not really great, but it may be better than Google Translate (at least for some cases). It seems to me that the translations Pl -> En are way better, but I have just shortly tested the site, so YMMV.

And do not hesitate to ask me a question, I am a native Polish speaker. (Alas, not a teacher of Polish.)

Best greetings!


Excellent! I will try them out too, thank you very much for taking the time to reply :)


As you are acquainted with language already, i would recommend you only use google translate to help you translate basic meanings from Polish to English and NOT English to polish. The free university of Pittsburgh online dictionary is one of the better sites that gives you not only the accusative form but the variations also. :)



Thank you! I'll give that one a go too. Do you happen to know any translation apps that are pretty good for android or apple?

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