Learning Polish beyond Duolingo - other learning aids I am using


I have been doing Polish for a while now (and some basic German). What I have concluded is that whilst Duolingo is great fun and teaches you a lot, it is not in itself (for me at least) enough. Essentially you learn a lot be repetition, but I need to know why

For instance the masculine noun kot (cat) has a plural koty. But the masculine noun ptak (bird) has the plural ptaki.

The answer is of course grammar rules and for this I have bought several books. I thought I might share details of the ones I have

Polish Verbs and Essentials of Grammar – Oscar Swan - McGraw Hill – Excellent outline details for quick reference

Basic Polish A Grammar and Workbook – Dana Bielec – Routledge – Breaks the Grammar down in more detail, explains it and has lots of exercises to do – very good in my view

Polish A Comprehensive Grammar – Iwona Sadowska – Routledge – The name says it all – 640 pages and the ultimate reference

Polish for Dummies – Daria Gabryanka – I like the For Dummies books and this is fun to use and has constant pronunciation notes

Oxford Essential Polish Dictionary – a good starter dictionary but I guess eventually I will buy a very expensive 2 volume one

Learn Polish with Beginner Stories - Kees Van den Ende – not used yet as my Polish is not good enough but stories are a challenge and this has full translation of them

Polish Tutor Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook – Joanna Michalek-Gray – A Teach Yourself Book – More advanced than the Routledge one – something to move on to later

301 Polish Verbs (Fully conjugated) – Klara Janecki – Barrons – Definitely the ultimate verb reference book

Polish English Visual Dictionary – DK – Was given to me, something I would not have thought about buying, but actually with the pictures and the free audio app it is very good and I like it

And finally

Collins easy leaning Polish Audi Course – 3 CDs – conversations in Polish which is a big help

Please feel free to add your own suggestions and reviews

Regards Dave

January 5, 2019


Thankyou for this! Ive been learning polish for about a month now and i realised the same thing. This is really helpful and will definitely be looking to get some of these resources. Do widzenia i powodzenia!

January 5, 2019

Unfortunately they are not cheap and I am lucky to be able to afford them. But I am the kind of person who needs details. I have been told by a couple of Poles I know that my pronunciation is very good, and that is completely down to Duolingo. So a mixed approach works for me

January 5, 2019

Sounds like a really good idea :)

January 5, 2019

Only a month? By the quality posts you've been sending lately I'd presume more

January 6, 2019

I have the question? Where you will be using polish language?

January 5, 2019

I have a friend in Poland with whom I speak a lot in English. But slowly Polish words and phrases are starting to be used. She is happy with my progress

January 5, 2019

An update on use of Polish. I was in Warsaw this weekend and had a meal which included two people who did not speak English. I was able to say a few sentences in Polish to them (which they actually understood) and understand some of their responses. Definitely needed the help of a good English speaker though otherwise the conversation would have been very limited, but it did make me feel that I was making some progress

January 21, 2019

Hello Dave, First time that I'm posting. Thanks so much for the book suggestions. I'm taking 3 years to try to learn Polish, starting with Duolingo and Pimsleur CDs from the public library. I started about 2 months ago. Jill

January 8, 2019


Glad to be of help however small. I think it will take me about 3 years to get competent in the language as well. It certainly is a challenge but Duolingo makes it fun to learn. There are probably other good learning tools out there as well and I was lucky in the ones I selected. I guess I am 120 days into serious learning and I still think I am scratching the surface. The grammar part will take ages to get right I know and simply memorising so much information will take time. I enjoy a challenge though...... Good luck!


January 8, 2019

Here are some useful tips and sources that might help you with mastering your Polish :)

January 9, 2019

[deactivated user]

    Hi David, thanks for the suggestions about books. I feel that I should probably get at least one, if not more.

    January 22, 2019

    I find them really useful - good luck with the Polish - it is very hard I think, but I am making steady progress and I am told by Polish people my pronunciation is good and so is my grammar.

    January 23, 2019

    Out of all of these which do you think is best for grammar rules??? I probably can only buy one book, maybe two at the max but just don't have the $$ for a bunch of language books which is why Duolingo is a blessing for me!! I try to read their small explanations on each lesson for grammar for things like pural, and the tamten/tamta etc....but yeah it is still a bit of a trouble for me! so would really appreciate if you had one that you would say has best clarified the grammar rules for you :)

    January 23, 2019

    Of the books I listed two are specifically grammar rules

    Polish Verbs and Essentials of Grammar – Oscar Swan - McGraw Hill 138 pages and I paid £13.59

    Polish A Comprehensive Grammar – Iwona Sadowska – Routledge 640 pages and I paid £44.99

    The latter one really seems to me to be definitive but it is very expensive. The first one I use the most as a quick reference as it is laid out very well but I have had a few times to go to the really big one to get an answer, but as any really big book it cam be hard to find what you want. They are complimentary and I would prefer to be with both--sorry that doesn't help.

    I think it depends what level of Polish you are at. If like me your are a relative beginner I think the cheaper one will give you 85% - 90% of what you need and that is the one I use the first and the most, but I think as my language skills develop over the next 2 years I will gradually use the larger one more.



    January 23, 2019
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