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How similar are Czech and Polish?

In terms of vocabulary, how much words do I already know in Czech in view of I'm studying Polish. Is Czech more difficult than Polish? I'm doing this question because Czech course is about to be released in a few days, moreover I'm eager to learn this fascinating language. I love both Poland and Czech Republic and I hope to visit these countries one day. ^^'

August 6, 2017



I have had a little experience with Czech, and much more with Polish. I can say that it seems that there certainly are a fair amount of cognates between the two languages, which is not surprising because they are both Slavic languages.

I have just found Czech to be easier to learn and acquire than Polish in terms of grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and spelling. But then again, this might be the case exactly because I have studied the complex spelling and grammar of Polish in the first place.


Czech seems a bit easier than Polish for a few reasons. But they are both West Slavic languages, they both have seven cases, and they share similar grammatical features in terms of conjugation and syntax. Personally I think Czech also seems easier to write than Polish.


As a native Polish and Silesian speaker, I have to admit that Polish and Czech are mutually intelligible... to some extent.

You would probably have no difficulties with everyday situations (ex. asking for help or directions), but further you go, more differences appear (a friend who studies Czech told me jokingly that sometimes he wish he didn't speak Polish).

Written Czech is easier to understand than the spoken language, though.

Silesian speech, one of the most distinct dialects of Polish (or a separate language), is more similar to Czech in terms of grammar (and some vocabulary, too). Dialects near Cieszyn seem to be a interim lect between Polish and Czech; vide: https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slez%C5%A1tina_(lechick%C3%BD_jazyk)#Ot.C4.8De_n.C3.A1.C5.A1

Note the false friends - the list is very long and in extreme situations a Polish-alike word in Czech may be an antonym of an actual Polish word. Or a curse word.

As far as I know, the Czech ortography is way more logical (but it doesn't mean it is easy, for example the long and short vowels are a nightmare and even some Czech people I know have problems with them), and the pronunciation is easier (no nasal sounds, the stress is always on the first syllable).

Also grammar is more regular in Standard Czech (there are 3 genders of the 3rd person plural for most of the nouns, so you don't get confused; the case is not switching in the negative sentence; a negative particle "ne" always attaches to the adjective and the verb).

Long story short - Polish and Czech share a huuuuge amount of vocabulary, even though some of it may be confusing. Grammar is basically the same, but Czech is a bit more regular and consistent (what in my opinion makes it a tiny bit more approachable than Polish).


Interesting. I grew up in a silesian family in germany, sadly never really learned neither silesian , nor standard polish. Now I try to learn both. But I would also say that the closest to polish is the silesian speech around katowice, then the area around koźle where my family is from, however it has more in common with czech than standard polish has in common with czech. Sometimes also old polish and old czech words are the same, which are also silesian words. for example: Pozor uwaga Attention. Then there is this speech around cieszyn which seems to be closer related to czech than polish , however I still understand more of it than i understand of czech.


I'm native Polish speaker but I don't know Czech. I can say that a lot of words are similar. But I don't understand Czech. It's easier for me to understand Slovak.


I think they are same level. I'm native czech speaker, but I lived near the border with Poland. I've never learned polish, but I met polish ppl very offten and we always understand each other (I mean simple sentences) :))


Polish people and Czech people can easily communicate. There are many similar words. But it is also a minus because some of words looks similar but means something different. Because of this there are always funny things we hear.

Slovak is more similar but still even if it comes to Czech - many Polish think that there is no use to learn this language. In case you only come there, of course. When you would like to be fluent you have to study.

I am native Polish speaker and I was in Czech Republic recently. And I was there a few times in childhood, too. I can say that I understood everything from what a waiter was saying and he understood me. But it was far harder to understand dialogues in fast, everyday speech.

Personally, I would like to know at least to know some basics like greetings etc. But I don't need to.


As a native Russian speaker, who also have been learning Polish here for a while, I can say that Polish allows me to understand more in both Czech and Slovak. Mostly because of kind of same grammar. Words tend to be completelly different though. Currently I feel like I understand up to 80-85% Polish words because we have same words in Russian, sometimes with a little bit different meaning though. Czech language feels like a 60-70%, although I can still understand the context, exact meaning might be unachievable. Slovak language is somewhere near Czech, but much much easier to read and pronounce - as they have closer phonetics to ours, without rz, ą sounds etc.


I was always curious about how Ukrainian and Russian are similar. Maybe you can tell me? As a Polish speaker I distinguish them only when I hear Russian words like 'spasiba' (I don't know the spelling) or some bad words ;p


Grammar is mostly same. You know, our past and future tenses are simpler than in polish: Ja skazal(a) (mowiłem(am)), On skazal (mowił), Ona skazala (mowiła), Oni skazali (mowiłi), Ty skazal(a) (mowiłeś(aś)), My szakali (mowiłiśmy). Same goes with ukranian, same simpler tenses.

Same word endings for cases, same suffixes. Several prefixes differ, several prepositions differ. Strange (for a russian) alternation of O sound with I sound, like in "kot - kit". And many polish word roots in ukrainian. Like "podderżka" (support, word root is "derż") in russian and "pidtrymka" (word root is "trym" like in polish "trzymać") in ukrainian.

Almost same goes with belorussian. Mostly same grammar, but without O-I alternation. They have DZ sound, t'-c alternation (deti - dzeci), O-A alternation. Also many polish word roots. As for me, personally, belorussian is a little bit easier to hear than ukranian, but a little bit harder to read.

As for "Spasibo", it came from orthodox influence, reducted phrase "spasi bog" (bog zbawi?) which literally means "god saves (you)". Another way to say "thanks" is "blagodarju", which splits in to words "blago" (dobro) and "darju" (darzę). Both ukrainian and belorussian use kind of polish "diakuju" (ukr) or "dziakuj" (bel).


It only comes to people fluent in Polish like natives. Because of knowing synonyms we could guess the meaning.

I think that Czech is pretty and I recommend you to learn it. Knowledge of Polish but not in fluent level could mess it up.

  • 1634

Liebert, your name sounds like a German one. So it might be interesting for you that Polish adopted quite a lot German words where Czech uses Slavic: urlop - Urlaub - dovolená, druk - Druck - tisk, plac - Platz - náměstí ... Czech people made special efforts to replace Germanisms with Slavic equivalents, but you still can find plenty of remaining ones.

My favorite in Czech is the calque of einfach - jednoduchý (prosty in PL)


It is similar in Slovak once you move away from the standard written language into the spoken language that people actually use -- quite a few more German loans that are not "supposed" to be used (e.g. šróbovať / šraubovať for "to screw in a screw" from German schrauben instead of standard skrutkovať, or kýbeľ for "bucket" from German Kübel instead of vedro, etc.


I am Czech and I understand polish with no problems. Czech is a little bit harder, but to be honest, those languages are (at least from my czech point of view) really similar, almost as much as czech and slovak...


I am a native Czech speaker, who has been out of the country for 32 years (living in the US). I decided about two months ago to start learning Polish just for the hell of it. It is not easy, but the similarity in grammar certainly helps. I cannot imagine the nightmare for a non-Slavic-speaking person. I learned Russian as a child and of course I understand Slovak like it's my own language. I suppose it all helps when it come to Polish. Some Polish words are same as Czech words, some same as Slovak, some same as Russian and many completely different. There are also many Polish words that sound exactly like Czech words, but mean something completely different. I can already see that after two months my comprehension has improved when I watch Polish movies or entertainment. In the past, I remember having almost no problem understanding someone from Poland face to face, but simple context.


Thank you for posting this thread. I wondered how Czech and Polish sounds so similar from first glance yet in terms of grammar and vocabulary both languages are hard to acquire, at least for learners without background in slovak languages.

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