If you’d like to say, “How are you?” in Polish, you would generally say, “Jak tam?” Another, though more informal way to ask is to say, “Jak leci?”
Polish (język polski) is the native language of the Poles and has a rich history of being a lingua franca in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, there are about 45 million native speakers of Polish, and in addition to being the official language of Poland, it’s spoken by significant numbers of minority groups in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Large immigrant communities that speak this West Slavic language are also clustered in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Polish is one of the official languages of the European Union, and while the Polish alphabet is based on Latin script, the language is more closely related to Czech, Slovak, and Russian. Some borrowed English words may sound familiar in Polish, but the language also includes additional letters that aren’t in the Latin alphabet. These letters are formed with diacritics to guide pronunciation. Today, Polish is the second most widely-spoken Slavic language and unites the Polish people, from the steps of Warsaw’s gothic cathedrals to the streets of the historic city of Kraków.
To build towards fluency in Polish, you should start your Polish lessons with the basics of common words and pronunciations. Then you can scale naturally towards a much more complex understanding of the Polish language. That’s why Rosetta Stone’s Polish language program has an immersive approach that introduces words alongside both visual and audio cues—to help you learn vocab in the context of true-to-life conversations. The bite-sized lessons are grouped into units that highlight common Polish conversational phrases you will need for everyday interactions, coupled with practical review that helps learners solidify their language skills.
Familiarity with Latin will help new learners pick-up Polish, because Polish derives a great deal of its vocabulary directly from Latin. There are also commonalities between the Polish language and French, Czech, Hungarian, and Turkish. That said, because the Polish language is highly inflected when spoken and has a specific subject-verb-object word order, Polish may feel more challenging for English-speaking beginning learners.
Everyone must walk before they can run, and learning Polish most definitely follows this adage. Learning Polish must begin with acquiring an understanding of Polish basics and sounds. The Polish language is not a tonal language. This means that Polish pronunciation is fairly consistent, most commonly with words that place stress on the second syllable.
With a few exceptions, Polish is phonetic. This means that most Polish words are pronounced with sounds that correspond to the way the words are spelled. For example, once you learn to pronounce the digraph cz in words such as cześć (“hello”) and klucz (“a key”), many Polish words will no longer feel like a jumble of confusing consonants. Once you begin to focus on pronouncing individual letter sounds of the Polish alphabet, and also on pronouncing blends or digraphs, you’ll acquire a confidence in speaking Polish out loud.
Your ability to refine your Polish pronunciation depends on immediate and accurate feedback on your pronunciation efforts. This feedback will allow you to hear proper pronunciation and then make any needed corrections to your own. Then you can practice until you can comfortably shape the sounds that make up the Polish language.
Each and every Rosetta Stone language lesson includes the patented speech-recognition engine, TruAccent. This powerful engine provides immediate feedback on your pronunciation, so you can align your Polish accent with that of fluent speakers. TruAccent was developed by carefully scanning and closely analyzing the speech of fluent native and non-native Polish speakers. TruAccent can be a very useful tool in helping you learn to confidently understand and be understood in Polish.
Once beginning language learners have acquired the basics of speaking Polish, it’s a natural transition to learning the longer phrases that are the backbone of so much of everyday Polish conversation. To broaden your Polish learning, you will find that it is helpful to focus on proven tactics that can accelerate your understanding of the Polish language. Rosetta Stone’s brief and bite-sized,10-minute lessons are built to do just that—scaling naturally towards comfortably speaking Polish by consistently putting vocabulary acquisition in the context of everyday situations.
Surround yourself with Polish whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.