I bet you won't be surprised to learn that there is no single way of saying I like in Polish. In fact, there are two verbs which translate to I like - one being Lubię followed by a noun in the accusative case and the other Podoba mi się followed by the nominative case (oh, dear - those cases again!).
Use podoba mi się when you talk about your first positive impression on something as in these examples:
Bardzo mi się tu podoba. (I like it in here.) [You’ve never been here before.]
Podoba mi się ten pomysł. (I like this idea.) [This is the first time you’ve heard this idea.]
You can employ the other verb - lubię - when you’ve developed some positive feelings towards someone or something:
Bardzo lubię to miejsce. (I like this place very much.) [You’ve probably been here a couple of times and you know it quite well.]
Lubię Ankę. Jest bardzo sympatyczna. (I like Anka. She’s very nice.) [You most likely know her quite well.]
Say podoba mi się when you refer to someone’s appearance or when you find someone attractive:
Podoba mi się twoja nowa fryzura. (I like your new hair style.)
Adam mi się bardzo podoba. (I like Adam very much/I find him very attractive.)
Do you like Polish food? Great! You can then definitely use lubię when talking about your dietary preferences:
Lubię polskie jedzenie. (I like Polish food.)
Nie lubię pierogów. (I don’t like dumplings.)
Finally, use lubię when you talk about things you enjoy doing and do frequently, or you tend to do:
Bardzo lubię podróżować. (I like travelling a lot.)
Lubię chodzić na siłownię. (I enjoy going to the gym.)
On lubi się spóźniać. (He tends to be late.)
Before you go, test yourself!
And I really enjoy writing this blog for you! Hope you enjoy reading it.
Talking on the phone, especially in a foreign language can prove challenging. Let's learn how Poles answer the phone in Polish:
Halo? (There is no direct equivalent in English for halo)
Słucham? (literally: I'm listening)
You may also hear less common but definitely not infrequent:
Proszę? (which you may already know as please, you're welcome or there you go)
Tak? (this one is very confusing as it translates to yes in English)
All of the above are pronounced with rising intonation, as in a question.
Now it's your turn to greet a person you're speaking to and introduce yourself:
Cześć! Mówi Marta. (Hi! It's Marta speaking)
or it's shorter version:
Cześć! Tu Adrian! (Hi! It's Adrian [here])
When you call a company in Poland you will hear the company name first, then the name of the person answering the phone followed by słucham? or w czym mogę pomóc? (how can I help you). Check out this example:
Poczta Polska, Sylwia Nowak, w czym mogę pomóc? (Polish Post Office, Sylwia Nowak, how can I help you?)
When speaking formally, you can use the following phrases to introduce yourself:
Dzień dobry. Mówi Maria Kowalska. (Hello. Maria Kowalska speaking)
Dobry wieczór. Piotr Malinowski z tej strony. (literally: Good evening. Piotr Malinowski at this end)
Do you find Poles to be speaking fast and unclear? You're among a typical complaint made by all people learning a foreign language! :)
Speaking on a busy road or over the phone does not make it any easier for you to understand what is being said. Don't get too stressed, though. Simply master a couple of can you repeat, please phrases in Polish and you'll be all sorted. And don't panic when you are asked to repeat your own message again - Poles may have similar difficulties to work out what you are saying.
The following expressions should help you to make out the words:
Przepraszam, nie rozumiem. (I'm sorry, I don't understand)
Przepraszam, ale nie słyszę. (I'm sorry, I can't hear you)
Możesz powtórzyć? (Can you repeat, please?) informal
Proszę powtórzyć. (Please repeat) formal
Czy może pan/pani powtórzyć? (Can you repeat, please?) speaking to man/woman formally
Słucham? (Pardon?/Excuse me?)
Słabo cię/pana/panią słyszę. (I can't hear you very well) informal/formal to a man/woman
There is no better way to learn, practice and develop your language skills than via phone conversations with native speakers. This is far more challenging than a normal, face-to-face conversation so take it step by step. Get started with learning how to ask for someone's telephone number in an informal way.
Możesz mi podać swój numer telefonu? (Can I have your telephone number, please? literally: Can you give me your telephone number?)
Podaj mi swój telefon komórkowy! (Literally: Give me your mobile number!)
Jaki masz numer komórki? (What's your mobile number?)
or it's longer but equally frequently used version:
Jaki masz mumer telefonu komórkowego?
Czy możesz mi podać swój telefon stacjonarny/domowy/w pracy? (Can you give me your landline/home/work number, please?)
Remember! There is no need to say proszę as the equivalent of the English please in the above sentences. Saying them with a friendly intonation will turn them into polite questions.
Here is the most general way of requesting someone's phone number formally:
Czy mogę prosić o numer telefonu? (Can I have [your] phone number? literally: Can I ask for a telephone number?)
Follow these examples as for how to reveal your phone number to someone:
Mój numer to ... (My number is ...)
Niestety, nie pamiętam numeru telefonu w pracy. (Unfortunately, I don't remember my work number.)
Mam nowy telefon komórkowy i jeszcze nie pamiętam numeru. (I've got a new mobile phone and can't remember the new number yet.)
Zmieniłem/zmieniłam ostatnio numer komórki. Nowy numer to ... (I [man/woman] recently changed my mobile number. The new one is ...)
Next week you will learn how to answer the phone in Polish, introduce yourself and ask to speak to someone.
The two nasal vowels -ą and -ę (please excuse the need of using some serious grammatical terms here!) may put you off a bit when you come across them for the first time. No need to worry! Simply follow these rules as to how to pronounce them at the end of a word:
Think of the way you pronounce the an in fiance. Or if you happen to know some French as the on in bon voyage. They are both pretty similar to how Poles say their -ą at the end of a word. Check out these words and phrases:
z moją dziewczyną (with my girlfriend)
pozdrów ją! (say hello to her!)
ciesz się chwilą! (enjoy the moment)
wiosną/jesienią/zimą (in the spring/autumn/in winter)
płacę gotówką/kartą (I'm paying by cash/by card)
This one is straightforward as it looses it's nasal sound. At the end of a word say it like the e in yes.
imię (first name)
spóźnię się chwilę (I'm running a bit late)
idę na siłownię (I'm going to the gym)
cieszę się (I'm happy, pleased, glad)
w środę/w sobotę/w niedzielę (on Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday)
You may be puzzled when you go to a Polish church and hear a priest (and frequently those in faith too) saying a clear and nasal -ę at the end of words. This is simply incorrect. What's grammatically acceptable is just a little bit of nasal sound. However, you as a foreigner should avoid it by all means. There is no point in making a difficult language even harder for yourself!
The mystery of the -ą and -ę pronunciation in the middle of a world will be revealed some other time, so keep on reading (and listening) to our Polish phrase of the week.
Everyone wants to sound friendly, especially when they start using a foreign language with native speakers. Undoubtedly, among the first expressions you want to master are hello and how are you. Watch out for the trap of the How are you? question in Polish, though.
No matter how tempted you are to say How are you? in Polish, don't. It doesn't belong to the greeting ritual as it does in English and sounds unnecessary, unnatural and in some cases even nosy.
In fact, saying Dzień dobry (formal hello used during the day) or Dobry wieczór (formal good evening) will just do.
I bet that you were already taught by a Polish person, or came across in a Polish course book with the following phrase:
Jak się masz? or even it's formal equivalent: Jak się pan/pani ma?
Indeed, they translate to How are you? but are not really used in this meaning. If at all, you will hear it when we check someone's wellbeing after an illness or some tragic events.
However, Jak się czujesz?/Jak się pan/pani czuje? (How are you feeling? [informal/formal]) sound far more "Polish" and in place here.
Here are a couple of the How are you? phrases reserved for contacts with family and friends:
Co słychać? (How are things?)
Co nowego? (What's new?)
Co u ciebie? (What's new with you?)
Be aware! To Poles they all may sound like an invitation to a long-winded story about whatever happened in their lives, no matter whether it was good or bad. You'll hear it all. So, if you are in a rush - better avoid it!
Also, don't use them when you see someone frequently as they all carry the following extra meaning: We haven't seen for a long time or We've got some catching up to do or Tell me what happened in your life.
If you hear it, you can answer quickly with one of these phrases:
Nic nowego. (Much the same; literally: nothing new)
Wszystko dobrze. (All good)
Po staremu. (Much the same; literally: [things are] the old way)
Dziękuję, wszystko w porządku. (Thank you, everything is all right)