Polish course as preparation for my visit to Wrocłav
I've been using Duolingo for a little over a year now. About a month ago I was told that I would be sent to Poland for two weeks for work. The Polish from English course having recently been released was great news for me all of a sudden.
I did a few lessons a day here as well as listening to some podcasts from polishpod101.com but nothing intensive. I got back last week.
Polish is tough! The cases and having so many different word forms really is difficult for me to wrap my head around. The Duolingo course and the super-helpful people in the forums really helped me understand this though and even though I am still terrible at it I can guess the implications of seeing a verb that ends in -sz versus when it ends in -ę. I saw a flyer for a charity that had "dziękujamy" on it and I was able to guess this meant "we thank you". Being able to piece things together, even a little, like that really helped my confidence.
The main thing that I found useful was the practice hearing Polish being pronounced. The pronunciation rules are very different to English but actually very regular when you are used to them. I have no problem understanding why Wrocław is pronounced utterly differently to the way a native English speaker would expect. I was able to read names from menus or signs with some hope of being understood. Lots of the vocabulary was of limited use but of course Duo is not a tourist phrase book and I don't expect it to be. I did get great use out of jabłko when ordering pastries from the bakery near my hotel. I was able to tell one of my colleagues that the "ryba" from the fast food van was probably a fish burger.
I had no particular plan to continue learning Polish after my trip when I started, but I now do plan to continue. It's a very interesting language and it's quite challenging.
So to the course contributors and everyone who helps out in the forums dziękuję bardzo!