Russian vs Polish

Ok, so I'm well aware that difficulty is very relative when it comes to languages but I'll try to narrow this down a bit.

Which language is more difficult for a native English speaker, from a grammatical standpoint, who has no experience with Slavic languages yet can read Cyrillic? Polish or Russian?

June 30, 2017


Russian is a bit more regular I believe. Sometimes I feel like Polish has as many conjugation patterns as it has words...

June 30, 2017

I heard that Polish is more difficult for English speakers. and learning Cyrillic alphabet is the easiest problem.

June 30, 2017

My personal experience is that Polish is more difficult in terms of pronunciation, reading and grammar. I am originally bilingual, but my native language is not English.

June 30, 2017

I'm native Polish speaker and I must say that what I can see Russian grammar is simpler than Polish (of course it's only my opinion). But in Russian you have to learn Cyrillic. However it's not so difficult.

June 30, 2017

[deactivated user]

    In Polish you have to learn "alternative latin" anyway. Knowing "common latin" won't help to read sometinhg like "Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz"

    June 30, 2017

    wow) it does have sense in Polish?

    June 30, 2017

    There are some rules to learn but it's not so hard :) Grammar is more difficult :)

    June 30, 2017

    [deactivated user]

      Seems like you've missed a lot about Polish.

      June 30, 2017

      I'm a Russian native speaker and I also think that grammar is easier than Polish (for example only 1 plural "they" and in past tense there are only 4 forms (Polish has 13))

      what is easier about Polish is that stress is almost always in the same place and they use the Latin alphabet

      the biggest problem with Cyrillic is not that it's hard but that you have to keep switching the layout

      July 8, 2017

      I'm a native English speaker but the Latin alphabet of Polish is so different from English that the Cyrillic alphabet is much easier to read. In my opinion anyway.

      July 8, 2017

      btw another easier thing in Polish is that unstressed vowels are pronounced the same as the stressed ones (but in Russian unstressed o is pronounced like a, unstressed e often like и, etc.)

      July 10, 2017

      And that stressing the word in a wrong way will most probably go unnoticed, as it won't change the meaning of the word ;)

      July 10, 2017

      Polish is very hard for someone whose native language isn't one of slavic ones. For example we have 22 forms of "second" aswell as pronunciation might be difficult

      June 30, 2017

      "as well" are two words, and could you develop the part about 22 forms of "second"?

      July 1, 2017

      Yeah, I'd like to see them, too. I remember I once read about 20 forms of "two". :) When I looked at them I realised that these effectively included a few words like "couple", which are close but different words. Admittedly, I do not speak Polish but if you know Russian the words are recognisable if you read them carefully (effectively, dwa suddenly switches to dwoje and dwojka at a certain point).

      If you look at English words, you could include second, twosome, twofold, twice, couple, pair, double, binary, doublet, and duo as the forms of "two".

      At least, as long as the person you are trying to shock does not know much English ;)

      July 2, 2017

      Hi :)

      "At least, as long as the person you are trying to shock does not know much English ;)" Polish numerals don't work like you think :)

      In Polish is 11 forms (numerals, nouns, pronouns) that works like numerals (they give you the number for countable nouns or quantity for uncountable nouns). But only 9 "works" with "2":

      1) cardinal numerals (dwa = two)

      2) collective numerals (dwoje = two)

      3) fractional numerals (jedna druga = 1/2, trzy drugie = 3/2)

      4) collective denumerative substantives 1)+2) (dwójka = two; para = pair, couple, dyad, twain, duo - this words don't works for 3 (trójka), 5 (piątka) or 10 (dziesiątka), of course we can say in Polish: duet (2), tercet (3), kwintet (5), nonet (9) but we don't have word for 10 and more)

      5) ordinal numbers (drugi = second)

      6) iterative numerals (dwukrotny)

      7) multiplicative numerals (podwójny)

      8) multiple numerals (dwojaki)

      9) adverbial numerals from:

      a) from 1 (po dwa = two ... each)

      b) from 2 (na dwoje = for two)

      c) from 3 (po dwie piąte = two fifths)

      d) from 4 (we dwójkę = the two of us)

      e) from 5 (po drugie/po wtóre = secondly; po raz drugi = a second time)

      f) from 6 (dwukrotnie/dwakroć/dwa razy = twice)

      g) from 7 (podwójnie = twofold)

      h) from 8 (dwojako = doubly)

      1)-3) it changes like numerals (there are 4 types)

      4) it changes like nouns

      5)-7) it changes like adjectives

      9) it works like adverbs, so it doesn't change (exc. a - like numerals)

      So forms of "two" or "second" don't count words like "couple, second, twosome, twofold, twice, couple, pair, double, binary, doublet, or duo" :) - because they aren't words with the same value and just describing different nouns

      We can count every form of "two" ("dwa, dwoje, dwójka") for each case (54+1) or just words (19+1): dwa, dwóch, dwu, dwóm, dwom, dwoma, dwa, dwie, dwiema, dwoje, dwojga, dwojgu, dwojgiem, dwu+, dwójka, dwójki, dwójce, dwójkę, dwójką, dwójko ["dwójki: dwójek, dwójkom, dwójkami, dwójkach" means "in twos" so I didn't count it because they don't connect with nouns]

      We can count every form of "second" ("drugi") for each case (63+1) ( if you count older word "wtóry", it's x2) or just words ((11+1)x2): drugi, drugiego, drugiemu, drugim, drugie, druga, drugiej, drugą, drudzy, drugich, drugimi, drugo+

      Number of numeral's forms in Polish isn't the biggest difficulty, but when and why you can use this form and not the other.

      Oh, and if we compare Polish to Russian, in Russian you have: a) 37 forms of "two" - 'два́' and 15 words: два́, две́, дву́х, дву́м, двумя́, дво́е, двои́х, двои́м, двои́ми, дво́йка, дво́йки, дво́йке, дво́йку, дво́йкой, дво́йкою, b) 37 forms of "second" - 'второ́й' [but I don't know if this is official division] (if you count 'друго́й' x2) and 12 words: второ́й, второ́го, второ́му, вторы́м, второ́м, второ́е, втора́я, втору́ю, второ́ю, вторы́е, вторы́х, вторы́ми

      BTW, only "2" is this complex; from 5 is a lot easier: Russian - 25/13, Polish - 29/ 13+1 (only because we have vocative) - so it's the same structure

      +1 (dwu+) - means that when number = 10^3, 10^6, 10^9 etc. you need use this form, eg. 2000 = dwutysięczny rok 2001 = dwa tysiące pierwszy rok

      May 5, 2018

      That's great! :D

      July 2, 2017

      I have found Polish harder. Russian has a different alphabet, but everything else about Polish has been harder and Cyrillic is still easier than Polish irregularities and pronunciation.

      June 30, 2017

      HOW DID YOU HAVE A CHINESE COURSE WHEN IT'S NOT OUT? (I'm not mad just panicking)

      November 17, 2017

      It's been out for like a day or two now.

      November 18, 2017

      Thank you everyone!

      June 30, 2017

      Polish, Russian and Czech are considered a Category 3 language for a native English speaker. Chinese Mandarin is a category 4 which is considered the hardest. Interestingly Farsi and Arabic are level 3 with German a Category 2 and French, Italian and Spanish a Category 1 (the easiest) category.

      I studied Polish first then Czech. I found Czech much easier than Polish. Polish has exceptions to the exceptions for rules! Czech is far more regular with noun declension. I have friends who learned both Polish and Russian and they all say Polish is harder.

      July 5, 2017

      Mandarin is not even remotely as hard as any Slavic language. The pronunciation is tough, but once you conquer that, it's free-wheeling all the way. No morphological changes. Likewise Japanese is significantly easier than any Slavic language.

      May 4, 2019

      Both Chinese and Japanese might be easy in grammar but are are very complicated to learn because of their scripts!

      May 4, 2019

      I find Polish considerably harder. Although both languages have complex case systems, I find that in Russian, there are fewer cases that require a modification of the words. I also find that Russian has more borrowed English words than Polish, which makes the vocabulary a bit easier to master. (English words adapted to Russian are also a great way of learning Cyrillic faster)

      I really enjoy both languages though, and one thing is for certain: knowing a bit of one makes it much easier to learn the other.

      July 1, 2017

      [deactivated user]

        Actually, Russian and Polish are from quite different branches of slavic languages. Many similarities you'll discover will confuse you rather then help. The language pair is full of 'false translator friends'.

        For example: czas~час = time~hour, dosadny~досадный = expressive~annoying. And most famous: uroda~урод = beauty~ugly.

        July 2, 2017

        Even within the same branches there are always plenty of false friends. Polish is very similar to Czech and Slovak yet there are numerous misleading or even opposite meanings, the famous false friend being the Polish verb "szukać" (to search) that in Czech means "to shag", not to be too vulgar.

        July 2, 2017

        Well, at least Polish has regular stress patterns, with Russian you have to learn it all by heart and it is phonemic (e.g. 'писать' means either 'to write' or 'to piss' depending solely on which syllable you stress :P). Also, vowel reduction patterns in Russian.

        October 29, 2017

        Just learn the one you like/need more, not the easier one.

        June 17, 2018
        Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.