Learning Polish. Week 10 or thereabouts

I’ve been learning Polish for more or less ten weeks and it’s time for an update as to my progress or lack thereof.

Finally, I am making some slight progress. I can almost make a sentence. Yep, it has taken me this long, but I’m starting to say things like ‘mam dużego psa’ (I have a big dog) or ‘mam czarnego kota’ (I have a black cat).

This is surprisingly difficult in Polish. In Spanish, a non-inflected language, it is simple.  ‘I have a black cat’ is ‘tengo un gato negro. There is no messing around with endings or worrying about cases. ‘Gato’ and ‘negro’ are used as found in the dictionary.

Polish is inflected, so to say ‘I have a black cat’, you have to remember that both ‘black’ and ‘cat’ are in the accusative case, and then construct the sentence accordingly.

‘Cat’ in the dictionary is ‘Kot’. As ‘kot’ is in the accusative and is masculine, you add an ‘a’.

‘Black’ in the dictionary is ‘carny’.  ‘Kot’ is accusative and masculine, and  ‘carny’ must agree with ‘kot’  and becomes ‘czarnego’.

This is different for plurals, female nouns and so on.

So finally, I’m starting to have an idea of how the language is built, or how to construct ‘small’ sentences.



How hard is Polish to learn?

While idly surfing the internet for Polish related links I came across a post with a title along the lines of ‘why Polish is easy to learn’. The gist was that Polish was just as easy to learn as any other language. Easy used in the sense of time taken.

Hmmm. The FSI have classified languages into groups according to the time needed to learn them, and this can be found (as always) in a rather dry wiki entry. The gist is that out of four groups Polish is positioned within the third category. i.e. it takes significantly more time to learn Polish than say Italian. It is not harder but it takes longer.

I’m sure that the FSI know their onions, but how about a random and impartial survey of one person trying to learn Polish and a language like … Italian!?

I’ve been learning the days of the week in Italian and Polish.

Let’s compare and contrast.

I wanted to learn the days of the week in both languages and also how to say ‘on Monday’ and so on. (I pretty much knew the Italian anyway).

Firstly, the days of the week in Italian are lunedi, martedì, mercoledì, giovedì, venerdì, sabato, domenica.

To say ‘on Tuesday’ or ‘on Tuesdays’, ‘martedì’ or ‘di martedì is used.  (In Spanish this is ‘ los martes’ and ‘el martes’.   A similar sort of vibe).

So for example, ‘On Friday we needed to bring our cat to the vet’ would be something like ‘Venerdì abbiamo bisongo di portare il nostro gatto dal veterinario’.  If anyone reading this could correct this sentence, that would be peachy.

As it happens, it was a simple case of an ingrowing claw. Easy to resolve. However, as anyone who has had to stuff an angry cat into a catbox will know, a trip to the vet is a harrowing and time consuming experience for all concerned. As is trying to coax an angry cat from under the bed. This is the kind of thing I deal with in my spare time … And this particular moggy is calm compared with another cat of ours (sadly now in the great cattery in the sky). Gardening gloves and teams were needed to take him the the vet.

Now, onto Polish. The Polish days of the week are :

poniedziałek, wtorek, šroda, czwartek, piątek, sobota, niedziela.

So far. So good.

But if you want to say ‘on such and such a day’ some of the word endings change giving:

w poniedziałek, w wtorek, w šrode, w czwartek, w piątek, w sobote, w niedziele.

And if you want to say ‘see you on such and such a day’, the endings change again. I haven’t learn ‘t these yet, but as an illustration ‘see you on Sunday’ (or c u on Sunday as my son might write) becomes:

‘do niedzieli’.

Now that this quick analysis is over, I think I’m fully equipped to answer the question of whether  Polish is indeed more difficult to learn than Italian. And I would say:

Probably not.

But is it more time-consuming to learn??

I should coco. Certainly for me. Interesting. Yes! Fun. Yes! Time consuming. YES!


Moon Face.