How to Learn Polish?
I want to learn Polish...
Some of you may have already been warned by your Polish friends that the Polish language is simply impossible to learn. Since you're searching through this website, I'm guessing that you are not quite convinced and would like to check it out. And I'm going to try to convince you that learning Polish is actually possible. And it can be fun!
Before you start...
If you are no longer a kid or a teenager (their brain is like a sponge, good for them!), I'm afraid you may need to get ready for some hard work. But if you try to remember things you took up in the past, such as learning to ski or windsurf, driving a car, gardening, learning a new computer system or even the moment you became a parent, you must have found them difficult and challenging at first, but with time things got easier and easier.
The process of learning Polish is actually similar. At the beginning Polish phrases might seem like tongue twisters and the grammar might give you a headache. But that's just the first impression and with a good guide (and here I mean a good teacher!) you will find it pretty easy.
Your approach to learning Polish...
So, what's the best approach when it comes to learning Polish? Simply relax, take things easy, don't worry if you can't always get the endings right, don't look too much ahead but just let yourself gradually dive into Polish, follow simple tips your teacher gives you during your classes, take every opportunity to speak Polish and listen to the language and keep repeating full phrases. In the case of the Polish language, learning isolated words is not a good idea, as you might not know how to put them together. Therefore, especially at the beginning, you should always focus on memorising full phrases as this is the best way to learn Polish. And you will soon notice that the more Polish phrases you already know the easier it becomes for you to take in more and more and in no time you will realise it's actually not that difficult.
How to learn Polish...
Some students like learning a new lanhuage using some self-study materials, CDs, computer programmes or simply searching the net for language forums etc. You can study at your own pace, choose topics you want to learn and learn when you have time and the energy. This approach is definitely good if you already know other foreign languages and are familiar with grammatical terms so that you can see similarities between languages. It also works for people who can actually make themselves keep going. Unfortunately, I can't and it proved not to work for myself. I'm very enthusiastic to start with but after a couple of teach-yourself-sessions I can easily get discouraged by a difficult topic and tend to find excuses, such as a deadline at work or a night out with my friends that I can't miss, to not to continue studying.
You need a good Polish teacher...
From my 8-years long experience in teaching to students learning for different purposes (private, business, political etc.), I can tell that for students who never studied a foreign language (or weren't really paying attention at school!) it might be quite difficult to get their heads around our grammar and to learn Polish just by themselves. Especially at the beginning, you really need a guide who will help you get through the labyrinth of Polish endings, the pronunciation and sentence structure. And you also need someone who will tell you a bit about our culture and what makes us different from you and how this can impact the whole communication process. I'm afraid that, although your Polish friend can tell you what ending is right and what is wrong, they won't be able to tell you how you can work that out. An experienced teacher however, will share all the tips with you.
And it doesn't really matter whether you sign up on a group course or take some one-to-one lessons. What matters is that you are guided through the Polish language by an experienced Polish teacher who knows how to explain all the rules.
And undoubtedly, lessons with a teacher followed by some self-studying at home would be just a perfect combination. After all what counts is the volume - the more you are exposed to the language, the faster your progress and the better your results.
Why on earth would anyone want to learn Polish?!
The reason for learning Polish are natural and simple - people make friends, fall in love, run or want to run a business in Poland or with Polish people or you simply want to go and visit the country and be able to say a little bit in Polish at least. And even if your Polish is limited to a simple "Dzień dobry" (good day) or "Dziękuję" (thank you) this can open Polish doors and hearts for you. Polish people really appreciate foreigners making an effort to speak the Polish language. And you don't need to worry if your Polish isn't perfect. What counts is that you're trying!
So, let's not waste any more time and get started with learning Polish!