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  5. Why do people learn polish?


Why do people learn polish?

Hi, as I'm myself a Polish native speaker, I was wondering why do you guys want to learn such untypical language? Do you have a family/friends of Polish origin or are you just a bunch of masochist who like to be confused by strange rules even we (natives) don't get? Sorry for bad English BTW.

December 11, 2016



I'm just a masochist who like to be confused by strange rules;


Lot's of general reasons, depending on the person!:

  • Poland has a long, complex, interesting and tragic history. Their land is interesting, culture is interesting, people are interesting. And along with a reputation of perseverance, Poles have an overall positive modern image.
  • Huge diaspora, one of the largest in the world. Polish ancestry and Polish speaking communities are in Canada, U.S.A, U.K and beyond. About 20-30 million+ have Polish heritage around the world. And understandably, people have a desire to connect further with their roots.
  • The language itself is intriguing and pretty sounding.
  • Some folks require it for career reasons.
  • Other folks might have married into a Polish family and would like to be able to engage further with in-laws and spouse.
  • Many aspire for a unique challenge of tackling a difficult language. Or, they enjoy pursuing something different and original, compared to popular languages like Spanish, Italian and German.
  • It is claimed that it makes a great foundation into the Slavic language world, or at least makes it a tad easier in retrospect.
  • And then you have learners who are simply fans of well known Polish bands or artists.
  • Poland has a lot of neighbors too (Lithuania, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia - that little land there -, a sea away from Scandinavia) so it would be no wonder that cross-languages would occur as well.

I'm sure I am missing other reasons, but nevertheless, there are many and they are good ones in any case.


I am learning Polish because it is something I have wanted to to for 60 years. My father's parents emigrated to the U.S. and spoke very little English. I always wished I could know more about them. Today there are such wonderful resources for language learners that were not available when I was young. Plus the Cold War and the Iron Curtain meant that if you studied a Slavic language, you were either suspicious or destined for a job with the CIA. Here's to progress!


I am not learning Polish, but I have considered it. I go to school in a town with a large Polish community.


I am Russian and it is interesting to learn how another Slavic languages function, about their similarities and differences. And I love Polish pastry! ;)


I'm glad I'm not the only one learning Polish for no particular reason! I've been wanting to learn a second language for a while now. I just graduated college, so i thought now is a good time. I want to learn Spanish since it's so useful here in the States. However, I'm Polish by heritage and thought it would be fun to learn some basic vocab. Now I've just been sucked in! I love the challenge, the sound of the language, and Polish culture. I'm going to be attending grad school in the fall, so come Summer time, I'm hoping to quit my current jobs and do some traveling before I start school again. Poland is the first place I want to visit!


I learn Polish because very few people learn Polish and I dig the challenge.


Xagh, I am so curious about your language learning story. I wish this site had a communication function. Wow, the two following commentators as well.


Attempting to learn Polish is a very effective way to make so many other languages seem so much easier...


I learn because I want to visit Poland and be able to talk to native speakers. I also wish to write music in Polish


I just enjoy the challenge, the sound, the great feeling of using the language and most of all, the fact that I've been learning it completely from scratch.

It is very refreshing because I don't really know other Slavic languages well, so there are no cognates. Most of the time when I learn new Polish vocabulary, the words are completely new. This makes it a challenge to memorise and all the more rewarding when I can successfully recall and use it.

In Romance languages (e.g. Spanish and Portuguese) it is possible to guess the meaning based on the cognates of the one to the other.

So Polish to me is fresh, beautiful, difficult, stubborn and eclectically exquisite all at once.


Polish girlfriend of course. But I also kept doing it because I like that it is completely different from anything else I know.


It's a really beautiful and intriguing language, and I feel like I'm learning a lot more than just how to speak Polish.


I'm french and I'll move to Poland for my job for one year, that's why i'm currently learning polish!


Some members of my family have connections to Poland, so we had a Polish self-study book lying around at home, and well - I guess I figured why not? That was more than ten years ago, before you could find all kinds of great, free resources online.

Eventually I abandoned it and went on to learn various other languages. Polish will always be the first language I pursued as self-study though, and when I tried to decide which languages to do on Duolingo after Spanish, picking up Polish again looked like a fun idea.

It's also kind of like figuring out the various quirks of the grammar.


Bo mieszkam w Polsce a według mnie język polski jest bardzo piękny i ciekawy :)


Well, in my case Polish isn't really untypical because I'm a native Lithuanian and Russian speaker. My decision to learn Polish was influenced by geography, culture and Slavic languages themselves. Imo, every Slavic speaker should learn at least one additional Slavic language. Can't say that I'm a masochist though, Polish is hard for people who aren't used to Slavic languages; so far it seems pretty logical to me. Still, I found a couple of kind of little difficult things. The first one is script. I struggled to read words in Latin script and I was writing them in Cyrillic script at first and in Cyrillic I could read them better. Later I got used to Slavic words in Latin and reading became much easier. The second one was and still is grammar. It takes some time to remember how I should write words, imo Polish grammar is harder than in other popular European languages.


Korzenia rodzinnowe, dziedzictwo, fakt że jestem taka przyzwyczajona do języka polskiego (zrobiłam tak dużo, że byłaby strata czasu i energii jęsli zdecyduję się że poddam się, ), chociaż nie znam wszystkich. Wciąż jest mi brak słów. :P Dla mnie, wymowa nie jest taka trudna, choć czasami mam jakiś problem z tą. Dla mnie, polska gramatyka też nie jest taka trudna (bo, jak napisałam w górze, jestem przyzwyczajona). Dlatego dla innych ludzi, szczególnie tych, którzy nie znają żadnego słowiańskiego języka, nauczenie się polskiego może być dla nich komplikowane. Jeśli chodzi o te reguły, nie są dla mnie beznadziejne, ale czasami mogą być męczyduszami. :P Ale staram się pomyśleć pozytywnie o polskim. Uwielbiam język polski, zawsze będę się uczyła polskiego, i nigdy nie będę się poddała. Koniec gadania.


I'm just some slavaboo who is obsessed with Chopin tbh. Not much reason other than that.


because it's pretty


Because I've got family who cant speak English that when they visit, iw ant to communicate with them properly. plus, im around a lot of polish people and it's uncomfortable not knowing the language.


At this point, I'm second guessing myself because it makes me want to cry. I guess i like a good challenge!


A masochist would not learn Polish but German (I am native speaker). I'm started learning Polish because I love the Slavic languages. And because I want to know the Indo-European languages better, I love the feeling of recognizing familiar roots and structures: Polish byc, with present tense jestem: English be and is, German bin (I am) and ist (he is), Latin fui < bhu-bhu-ai (I was) and sum (I am), Old Greek phyo < bhu-o (I grow) and eimí < esmi (I am)... fascinating!


Why is German so 'masochist' in your opinion. I started learning it few years ago and I found many structures, proverbs that are similar to Polish ones. The language itself (at least Standard German) does not seem to be very difficult. But this is an opinion of a man that reads only contemporary German press and watches TV. I have no contact with older German or dialects. I haven't read Schiller. Only Goethe but even this in Polish translation.

I like the word vertreten = ver + treten, występować = wy + stąpać (treten) or zdradzać (verraten). Zdradzić = z + (d) + radzić (raten), verraten= ver + raten(radzić)

There is one philosophical question in Polish. One can be (Ja jestem). Here we use the word to be. But if we want to negate it we need to change to be into have. "Nie ma mnie". As if this sentence could be only said by third person.

Also I have this problem. "Nachts sind alle Katzen grau?" Whay "grau" instead of "schwarz". In Poland the most popular version of this proverb is "Nocą wszystkie koty są czarne" with "black".


Just a common stereotype in my opinion. English native speakers consider German difficult because of the gender system and the cases. For people having the same elements in their own language German appears pretty logical.


If the origin was from John Heywood's book of proverbs (1546) as 'When all candles be out, all cats be grey' then your problem is turned on it's head :-)


For example Plurals: Ok, Polish is also a bit strange here, but all in all there are three to four endings that you put at the end of a word and you have the plural. With some strange sound changes in some cases. In German you have: 1) -e: Ding - Dinge 2) Umlaut + e: Nacht - Nächte 3) -er: Kind - Kinder 4) Umlaut + er: Mann - Männer 5) -en: Frau - Frauen 6) Nothing: Mädchen - Mädchen 7) -s: Junge - Jungs, also: Jungen, and I bet I forgot something. The adjectives: I often hear that foreigners have huge problems with strong and weak declension (we call it this way, I do not know if it is correct in English). You say "ein schnelles Pferd", with s, but "das schnelle Pferd" without. And the verbs: ok, those are horror in English too. Ablaut, different stems and roots... Don't get me wrong, languages are my passion and I love the diversity and there are few things more interesting than Indo-European Ablaut (for example ergativity), but sometimes this fascination is like "ah, wonderful... but who the hell invented this?! And what is wrong with me that I find this fascinating?"


Hey, but I am a Polish native speaker, not English. That might be a big difference. Also till now I have been learning English (as first), German (as second) and French. With knowledge of both firsts the latter seems to be rather easy to handle

I know about this rules and they does not fear me. This declension: weak, mixed, strong - I needed to do few exercises and I got it. The rules are applied rather consistently, so not a big deal. Additionally many German cases matches Polish counterparts - this is also a convenience .

The one stupid thing that irritates me is this so called n-Deklination. I often forget that der Soldat but every other case has -en ending. But one can live with it. It is enough to check it in Wikidictionary. Sometimes it is hard to remember correct order but with time and with a help from the rules it is possible to do.

The only thing that is cumbersome is something that is absent in Polish but appears in many Western European languages. The articles. When to use them and when can I skip them.


Probably it is, as Polish still seems to be at least not the easiest language. You already are used to the idea, that language can do things one might not expect. Also with Polish and English I can imagine you have a good basis for languages that might seem confusing to others. But imagine someone learning German who speaks e. g. a Romance language as mother tongue, that has neither nominal cases nor strange vowel changes and fixes (quite) regular endings at the stems for different forms. German must be a shock, as the stem of a word itself changes much more. Old Greek, by the way, does this a lot more, but as it is still very archaic, there are rules you can easy recognize: manthánô - I learn with émathon - I learnt, lanthánô - I am hidden with élathon - I was hidden, tynkhánô - I meet with étykhon... Or Ablaut, stéllô - I send with éstalka < *éstlka - I am in the state of having sent. Having never learnt German as a foreign language I do not know if similar rules are as easy recognizable in German as in Greek, only as a native I can say: I am glad I already know German.

As for the articles: This is one of the things, where one might wonder whose idea that was. So many languages work perfectly without. And they always do things you do not expect, they work different in every single language. What does it tell about me that I love articles?


German is pretty easy to me..but I am also a native Dutch speaker. It is like Portuguese to Spanish speakers to me xD.


To know the mystery about "Tower of Babel"?! :D


I'm currently learning Polish, and the reason I'm learning it is actually quite simple. There's a movie that I watched (and due to the movie I met my current significant other) which is a Polish movie (Sala Samobójców if you were wondering). I found the language to be very pretty and it isn't a language that I lot of people want to learn like French or Spanish for example. I don't have any family or heritage from there though. I also find the long words and complicated spelling to me a challenge, and I enjoy challenges.


so i can keep up the language my mum gave to me, and so we can talk together in her language


I started learning Russian, just as a challenge after French Latin and German at school but I couldn't cope with the alphabet, so I switched to Polish.

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