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I have a question for Polish speakers

Hello, can you understand Czech and Slovakian?

July 2, 2016



I have no real experience, but my dad worked in Slovakia for a year, in a time when there was Czechoslovakia and he says he communicated just fine.


I've never talked with a Czech or Slovak person in Polish, so I don't know, but our languages are similar and you can guess some words. But be careful some, normal words in Polish are bad words in Czech/Slovak and reverse, also there're some words that sound the same/similar but mean different things, for example PL - "jagoda" - blueberry and CZ/SK - "jahoda" (I'm not sure how to spell it) - strawberry.


I never had much opportunities for that, but I'd say that to some extent, I could understand. Or at least think that I understand. Still, when I was in Prague, I felt safer using English than Polish.


To some extent yes, when I was in Czech, we sometimes used polish for example in restaurants and most of the time we were able to communicate. Slovakian I think is a bit harder to understand. However I would say it's generally safer to use english to avoid any confusions.


For me Slovakian language is easier to understand than Czech. Slovaks speak a little bit slower and more clearly.


I am not Polish myself, but I work with a load of Polish people. One of them frequently demonstrates the ability to communicate competently with Russian and Czech people, everyone speaking their own language. He only estimated 60-70% understanding though. And that is with careful selection of words for maximum understanding.

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I had a Czech colleague while studying in France and we could communicate 80% to 90% of phrases speaking each his language. In cases of misunderstanding, we were able to explain them, most often even without using other language.


Of course we can understand each other quite well. I mean, those who tend to travel as people who never leave their village would probably struggle a bit more. Slovak is a little bit closer to Polish than Czech but when I first arrived to Czech Republic, I spoke only Polish with locals and got around very well. Obviously there are a lot of false friends but once you get used to the way Czechs and Slovaks speak, it really sounds very familiar. Now I'd personally feel awkward to use English, Spanish or French when travelling across our southern neighbours' lands. Even in western Ukraine most of us only speak Polish and we're usually understood easily. Ukrainian on the other hand is not that obvious for us except for those who had studied Russian at some point.


I meet Czechs from time to time and I can't understand them. Only some words, but these are to poor to understand the conversation.

Recently I was in Croatia and that language sounded closer to polish. In bulgarian you can find some words but it is reeeealy hard to understand them.

I know a little bit of russian so when listening to other slavic languages I check the polish and russian dicionaries in my head. In Bulgaria it didn't help much.


Some words are familiar in Polish and Czech, as well as Slovakian. But, it is very little. Some basic words you'll be able to understand, but others, more advanced words, I cannot understand. It's just like "Good Day", both in Polish and Russian, it's translated to english as "Good Day", but we can understand it as "Dobry Dzien" in both languages.

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