https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Learning Polish through the reverse course

Hi guys, (or should I say Cześć!) (<sub> ̄▽ ̄)</sub>

So I’m trying to learn Polish with this “English for Polish speakers” course (as I know it will take some time until the Polish course will be ready) and it’s a very amusing experience for me, so far.

Learning a foreign language from scratch with a reverse course like this is not exactly easy, when the only word you know in that language is „dobranoc”. Still, I really enjoy doing this, as it’s something completely new to me and I am quite motivated to collect more & more information. ᕙ(⇀ ‿↼‶)ᕗ

Up until this point I’ve been studying French, Spanish and a bit of Italian and they are not that hard to learn if you have the necessary passion & motivation (and the time). Not to mention they are all similar. Now, with Polish, I feel that I stepped into a totally new world, where everything is so much different and almost impossible to pronounce, haha. So basically, all those funny-looking letters ą, ć, ę, ł, ó, ń, ś, ż seem so strange to me and the pronunciation of all words sounds like some elves and dwarves are having a war inside my head. (((༼•̫͡•༽))) ʕʘ̅͜ʘ̅ʔ But somehow I think this is one of the things that make me feel attracted to Polish: the fact that I have no idea what the words mean, how they sound, how do I have to use them, etc. (the whole process of learning a new language). Although I never thought that I’d feel “attracted” to cz, dz, sz, rz. (⊙.☉)

The only disadvantage of using this course is that I can’t hear the words, so I have to find other methods to compensate for this: I’m using text-to-speech websites, such as: http://www.oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php?sitepal

I will also share with you this amazing channel with Polish subtitles that I have recently discovered: https://www.youtube.com/user/SmileAndDiscoverLife (you might find interesting videos here)

And I stumbled upon this awesome American guy, David Snopek (with Polish ancestors) who learned Polish all by himself – so he’s an inspiration to me. http://www.linguatrek.com/
& https://en.bibliobird.com/ (on this site you can learn English as well, so you might find some useful stuff over there)

Other helpful websites that I use: (that I’d also recommend to you if you want to learn English or any other languages)

http://mylanguages.org/learn_polish.php

http://www.surfacelanguages.com/language/Polish

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/polish.htm

• courses from memrise: http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/polish/

• online dictionaries

• anki http://ankisrs.net/

Now, my questions are: If you could give me one piece of advice, what would it be? What’s the best way to learn Polish? Do you have any books you can recommend to me? Do you have any tools I could use? I’ve already heard that part with “Don’t start with the grammar!” so what should I do? Do I start memorizing words / phrases in the beginning? ¬_¬

Oh, and is it true what they say: that Polish is one of the hardest languages to study? And that if you want to succeed you have to master the “whole” language and live among Poles? ‘Cause otherwise Polish people won’t understand a thing of what you’re trying to say? Is accent that crucial? I’m really curious about these things. く(^_・)ゝ

Sooooo, any learning materials & resources / book titles / movies / music suggestions that you have for me will be much appreciated! Thank you in advance and the best of luck with your language learning to all of you!

P.S.: If you need any help with other languages, feel free to contact me, as I have long lists with useful tips / websites / resources.

Dziękuję! ヽ( ^^)人(^^ )ノ

Annie

P.S.2: Thank you all for your kindness and support! >^・ェ・^<

September 3, 2014

52 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/yuioyuio

Hi, Annie! Sometimes things seem more difficult or strange than they really are. As far as pronunciation goes, just try to forget your English instincts ;) But you already have a grasp of a few other languages and that helps a lot! All you need to do is to find some rules is other languages you are familiar that can be applied to Polish. So basically, just as in Italian, you pronunce literally what you see, letter by letter. Then let's think about ą, ć, ę, ł, ó, ń, ś, ż – you have already been making some of these sounds, they were just spelled differently: - ą is similar to the sound in the French sont
- ę is similar to the sound in the French quinze
- ł is just how w is pronounced in English
- ó is just how oo is pronounced in English, eg. in boost
- ń is similar to the sound in the Italian sognare
- ż, rz are similar to the sound in the French bijou
- sz is similar to how sh is pronounced in English, eg. in shell
- cz is similar to how ch is pronounced in English, eg. in catch
and so on...
Anyway, if you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them in the discussion – I'm sure someone will answer. Also, if you ever need any help, feel free to ask me on my stream ;) And good luck! Powodzenia!

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Thank you for your explanations! I really hope that Polish won't be as hard as it seems now at the beginning! :) I guess I'll just have to get used to the pronunciation of the words, step by step, with a lot of patience & practice. Dziękuję bardzo!

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Honiarez

Hej! :) Fingers crossed! It's great that you are learning Polish. Pronounciation is very important, but do not worry about the accent. Natives find it a little bit funny when you make it wrong, but we will still understand you :) Great site for learning words and native pronounciation in various games: https://babadum.com/ It is created by Poles. You need to pick a language of menu and then a language to learn. The whole interface is very simple and pictured. If you have any problems do not bother to ask! We are here for You!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Dziękuję bardzo! I know that website, it's awesome! :D

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Honiarez

Bardzo proszę :) I dziękuję za Lingota! Have a nice time while learning Polish!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/trottoar

wowowow! That website is awesome, I didn't know about it!

November 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/M4rt4a

Cześć! I do not often hear about people wanting to learn Polish so I'm always glad to find one ;) It's definitely a hard to learn language but nothing's impossible with motivation. The most important thing is to find an enjoyable way of learning and then it'll go smoothly. And I'm sure many people told you that already but Polish people do not really care much about the accent. I mean - as long as they'll be able to understand what you're saying it's all good. But you don't have to stress it too much 'cause to be honest I know people who moved here years ( and I mean YEARS) ago and they do not have better accents than people who just started learning. I personally think the biggest problem with communication may be not the fact that you do not have polish accent but the fact that people here in Poland do not have much contact with foreigners who learn Polish. There are simply not so many of them and because of that we mostly hear the language spoken by people who are native and we are not used to listening to it with different accents. But because of that it is always really good to see someone making an effort to learn. So do not get discouraged and have fun learning. (try tongue twisters sometimes - even a great number of Poles cannot say them but it's extremely fun) And well if you'll want to practice your Polish skills (or Spanish for that matter even though I'm only the beginner ;) ) feel free to contact me ;) Powodzenia!

November 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Thank you so much for your insight! :)

November 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ekosiacka

Witaj :) It's really nice to read that somebody is interested in learning Polish, because I think it's quite unpopular, hard and not very useful language. Unless you're going to visit Poland (come on, I bet you'll enjoy it :3 ). The best way to learn Polish (in my opinion) is practising with someone who knows Polish (no ❤❤❤❤, Sherlock!) :) He will correct you, show step by step what is worth knowing at the beginning in conversations (eg. in the shop, at the airport, in a casual conversation etc), which verbs are common (a little bit of grammar is necessary) and keep an eye (or ear :D) on your pronunciation. Unfortunately I have to tell you that Polish conjugation and declension are horrible (even some native Poles have problems with that :D). Let's take a simple example: It is a BALL. - To jest PIŁKA. There is no BALL. - Tu nie ma PIŁKI. I see the BALL. - Widzę PIŁKĘ. I'm talking about my new BALL. - Opowiadam o swojej nowej PIŁCE. I'm going with my new BALL. - Idę z moją nową PIŁKĄ. One small word, so many possibilities :D But it's true that Poles are delighted to hear foreigners talking Polish and they forgive you all mistakes and bad accent, as long as they understand what do you want to tell them. At least more or less. :D I can recommend you a repertoire of Dawid Podsiadło. He has the same songs in both Polish and English (eg. "Trójkąty i kwadraty" - "ST"). He has really beautiful voice and lyrics. Try http://www.tekstowo.pl/ if you want to know polish translations of english songs and (sometimes) english translations of polish songs :) I also encourage you to watch Disney movies in Polish with subtitles. That's how I'm learning Spanish :D If you want to chat with Pole, feel free to write (I love Game of Thrones too :3).

Powodzenia i nie zniechęcaj się, bo początki bywają ciężkie! :) Good luck and don't be discouraged, because beginnings are difficult! :)

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Yes, I do want to visit Poland one day soon ^.^ Thank you for those tips, I will keep them all in mind! You're right about Polish conjugations, they seem pretty scary & complicated! But they also make me so curious that I want to know more and more about how everything works in this language :) (Btw, that example with the ball is hilarious, but I won't let myself get discouraged by it!:D)

I'll search for more songs from that guy, I really like his voice & style! :) And your suggestion with Disney movies has crossed my mind a lot lately, I should try it (but only after I'll be able to understand more Polish). In the meantime I guess I can use it for my Spanish too :D

Muchas gracias for your answers and encouragements, I truly appreciate them! Good luck with your Spanish! :)

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ellizeusz

Instead of Disney (which can be quite hard to understand if you're a beginner) I can recommend watching Polish version of "Peppa Pig". https://www.youtube.com/user/PepaPoPolsku/videos It's very simple and enjoyable (at least for me, I'm watching the Spanish version ;)) And on this channel you can find other simple shows - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiBOwnOXuL1i-7_YVo6JvhA/videos

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ketoacidosis

One of the hardest things is probably learning how to read each letter. I found the words with lots of consonants together a bit tricky. The word for "bee" is "pszczoła." The word starts with five consonants, "pszcz." Once you learn how to read and pronounce letters, it isn't too difficult.

One book that I think is very helpful is Elementarz. It starts by going through simple Polish words and sounds, goes through all of the letters, and then has stories. The book is entirely in Polish, so knowing some basic words would be useful.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/luless

I know a guy named Pszczoła working abroad. His coworkers were not able to pronounce his surname, so he told them something like that: "It is the sound when you are opening soda can or beer + 'owa' ".

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

My Polish is very elementary, though given a sufficiently patient person I can have a surprisingly good conversation (Russian + Croatian + a little Polish + a lot of patience and gestures ;)). However, my experience is that even a little time investment will be well repaid.

Poles are always so pleased if you speak even a few words, so whatever you learn will go down well. We have quite a lot of Polish immigrants in my area, and even saying Cześć or Dzięki usually gets a really impressed/pleased response. The fact that you learned even a few words of their language, which has this formidable reputation as being so hard, means a lot to people!

Good luck!

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/M4rt4a

That could not be more true. It's not only the language reputation but also the fact that the idea of someone wanting to learn Polish seems unusual to most of us (at least that's my experience and observation of people around me). And we're always happy to see someone's effort even if it's only a few simple words, it's always nice ;)

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Thank you! Good luck to you as well! :D

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/gab_dk

I can highly recommend the books from Oscar Swan! You can find the first book as pdfs here and more cool and useful material on his website: http://polish.slavic.pitt.edu/ Then later I recommend getting the book Intermediate Polish by him too :)

September 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Thaaaank you, that is amazing! I only knew about their dictionary, but these pdfs are just brilliant! Muchas gracias! :D

September 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/maciek

Hi, it's great that you want to learn Polish. But i think, without pronunciation it's quite hard. So at the beginning I recommend this site: http://www.learn-polish.pl/polish_lesson.php especially Alphabet and Vocabulary sections. And http://doyouknowpolska.com/ if you want to learn some colloquial phrases.

Good luck! Maciek

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

These sites are great, thank you! Good luck to you too!

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ellizeusz

Cześć :) You could also check this youtube channel if you want to practise the pronunciation and listening to the language https://www.youtube.com/user/PolishPod101/videos. And maybe www.lang-8.com for practising writing in Polish. As for your other questions - in bigger cities many people know English, so you don't have to speak Polish very well if you want to visit the country, but if you want to live here longer then knowing some basics is really important. And don't worry about the accent, from my experience we are just so happy to hear foreigners speak our language that we don't really care if you say things correctly ;) If you'll have more questions or if you'll want to practise something etc. don't hesitate to ask, I was actually studying Polish so I would be very happy to help you (or anyone really) learn it :) Powodzenia!

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Oh, that channel looks like fun, muchas gracias! ^.^ About lang-8 I've heard before but I still haven't used it, I will take it into consideration :) I hope to visit Poland pretty soon (it's such a beautiful country) so yes, it's on my list of visiting places in the near future! Thank you very much for those tips (they made me feel better) and you are very kind as well! Good luck at your learning! :D Oh, and are you studying Polish at college?

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ellizeusz

No problem, I'm glad I could help :) And yes, I was studying Polish at the university for quite some time ;)

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

That's great! Ok then, if I'll have any questions as I'm practicing my studies, I will turn to you :)

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sjalistra

I don't even speak polish that good and I've been here for 20 years (born and raised here as well) have fun!

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

That's quite motivating, haha! ^.^ Thanks for your opinion! :)

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Valerie1301

Hello :) I am always very happy to see people who want to learn Polish :D I want to tell you that's not as difficult as it may seem at the beginning. I mean, of course, it's harder than English but I'd say it's on the same level as French, considering grammar and pronunciation. I suppose, the hardest part of grammar is noun conjugation but you don't have to worry about it too much, because even if you use wrong form, Polish person will be able to understand. I'd say verb conjugation is more important, but I suppose if you memorize the conjugation of some verbs you'll be able to conjugate new verbs intuitively.

I'd recommend you watch Polish films with Polish subtitles - it may help you to learn the proper pronunciation. For example here you can find some subtitles: http://chomikuj.pl/ajaa66/napisy

If you have any problems or questions, I am willing to help, so feel free to message me :) Powodzenia!

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Dziękuję bardzo! :) Wah, I can only hope for Polish to be on the same level as French, that would make things so much easier for me! :D

Could you recommend me some good Polish movies? Merci Beaucoup!

September 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Valerie1301

Well, I don't watch a lot of Polish movies, so there's not much I can recommend, but one of my favourites is "Płynące wieżowce". Also "Hel" was pretty good. "Sala samobójców" is interesting. "Nocne graffiti" is older (1996) but in my opinion quite good. If you like history, I'd recommend "Katyń" and "Kamienie na szaniec" :)

September 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/WK99

Powodzenia! Good luck! :) It's always nice to see someone who wants to learn Polish. I don't really know what I could advise you that the others haven't said already.... here's a few lingots to motivate you, though :) Hopefully the Polish course will be underway soon. I've been thinking to volunteer for it myself for a while, actually. Hm.

September 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Thank you! It would be great if you could volunteer! :D

September 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/WK99

Alright, I'll write to them asap.

September 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CrankyOldLady

Honestly, as a polish person who's been learning both Spanish and English for quite some time, I've had the opportunity to compare them to each other and to my mother tongue both. And it actually helped me realize how similar Spanish and Polish are in pronunciation. If you look at their alphabets, they sound almost identical. Because of that the words seem dry and sharp. I've taught several Spanish-speaking people English and each time noticed how much easier it is for them to learn Polish. Many English speaking people cannot get rid of their accent even after many years of speaking Polish/living in Poland. I isn't true, however, that they're impossible to understand. And while Polish is not easy, it's hardly the most difficult out there.

November 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Spanish and Polish similar in pronunciation? Wow, that's an interesting point of view, I've never heard anyone making this comparison! :D Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, now I'll try to think about Spanish every time I learn some new Polish words and see how that works ^.^

December 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HannaSu

If it's true, maybe I should start to learn Spanish :D

December 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

You can try it :D

December 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/moonplkr

Annie, It depends on what level you want to reach. Are you interested in reading Polish books, or just to talk freely on the street with Polish ppl?

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

For now I just want to start being familiar with the language, so basically I want to understand people and be able to talk to them. But I'd also like to read articles / books in Polish at some point in the future. (Oh, and I really want to understand the lyrics of some songs!)

September 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HannaSu

Powodzenia! It's the middle of the night and my brain seems to have some problems with thinking so I can't come up with any ideas how to learn polish. I know how difficult and tricky can be learning in the reverse course - I sometimes use various applications for japanese people who want to learn english. Anyway, if you want to talk with another polish person feel free to contact me. :)

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

So you're trying to learn Japanese? Awesome! :D I've also studied Japanese for one year with a teacher but as I was running out of time back then, I had to drop out of the course. Now I'm planning on starting all over again with Japanese. If you want, I can share with you my learning materials :)

September 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HannaSu

Oh so nice to find someone who has experience in learning Japanese :D I can share with you my learning materials too! I've been learning for more than 4 years and recently passed JLPT exam :)

September 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Oh, you're more advanced than me! Congrats on your exam! :D (P.S.: I sent you a friend request on fb)

September 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HannaSu

Thank you ^^ (I thought I've already replied -.-')

September 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/spxki

Hey. It's awesome to see people like you trying so hard to learn polish! I really hope that you will succeed. Well as it is middle of the night i can't really come to think about writing anything better ^^'''. Powodzenia and feel free to write on my stream if you will need help.

September 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SalamandraJe

The best idea is to visit Poland for few months and find some friends for tandem :-) (If you're going to visit Cracow - I'm ready for chat)

October 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Yes, that would be a good option, Poland is definitely on my list of places to visit in the near future :D

October 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Amko321

Hey, that's great! Keep up the good work. But do you progress quickly with this quite unusual reverse learning method, in addition with the help of the other websites? That would really interest me.

February 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Emma-C.

How many levels of Polish are there in Duolingo? Usually, I track the percentage of fluency, but it would be fun to see how many levels I have left to complete!

August 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/arekolek

For Polish pronunciation try this text-to-speech website: http://www.ivona.com/pl/

You can hear Ivona announcing train arrivals and departures on many train stations throughout Poland, so I guess you can rely on it.

And if you're interested in "news" from Poland I can recommend http://www.wykop.pl/ It's kind of like reddit. I was looking for something similar in Spanish, but I guess they don't have it.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Marekmiesz

Hi, I can think about few tips, but there is one for now: If you can not find the pronunciation, you can have many recorded by native speakers on www.forvo.com. You can also ask users for the pronunciation of specific words - eg. surnames. Maybe I could record some for you :)

September 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AMDJ223

Dziękuję bardzo! That would be great, you're so kind! :D

September 27, 2014
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