The Polish Language

Attempting discourse in the Polish language can be terrifying and humiliating, but fortunately for you most Poles, particularly young people, have a healthy command of the English language. Though you can probably get by without it, learning a few key Polish phrases will nonetheless smooth your time in the country of potatoes, cabbage and vodka, and may even win you friends and admirers.

On the downside, Polish is officially recognised as one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn. On the upside, however, unlike in English, words in Polish are actually spelled the way they are pronounced. This is a great help once you know how to pronounce each letter/combination of letters. While many letters represent the same sounds as they do in English, below we have listed those particular to Polish, followed by some basic words and phrases. Powodzenia (Good luck)!

Basic Pronunciation

ą’ sounds like ‘on’ in the French ‘bon’ 
ę’ sounds like ‘en’ as in the French ‘bien’ 
ó’ is an open ‘o’ sound like ‘oo’ in ‘boot’
c’ like the ‘ts’ in ‘bits’‘
'j’ like the ‘y’ in ‘yeah’
w’ is pronounced like the English ‘v’
ł’ like the ‘w’ in ‘win’
ń’ like the ‘ny’ in ‘canyon’
cz’ and ‘ć’ like the ‘ch’ in ‘beach’
dz’ like the ‘ds’ in ‘beds’
rz’ and ‘ż’ like the ‘su’ in ‘treasure’
sz’ and ‘ś’ like the ‘sh’ in ‘ship’
drz’ like the ‘g’ in ‘George’
'r' is always rolled

Polish Words & Phrases

Yes Tak (Tahk)
No Nie (Nyeh)
Hi/Bye (informal)   Cześć        (Cheshch)
Hello/Good day (formal) Dzień dobry             (Jen doh-bri)
Good evening (formal) Dobry wieczór (Doh-bri vyeh-choor)
Good-bye Do widzenia (Doh veet-zen-ya)    
Good Night Dobranoc (Doh-brah-noats)
Please Proszę (Prosheh)
Thank you Dziękuje (Jen-koo-yeh)
Excuse me/Sorry Przepraszam (Psheh-prasham)
My name is... Mam na imię... (Mam nah ee-myeh…)
I’m from England. Jestem z Anglii (Yehstem zanglee)
Do you speak English? Czy mówisz po angielsku? (Che moo-veesh po an-gyel-skoo?)
I don’t speak Polish. Nie mówię po polsku. (Nyeh moo-vyeh po pol-skoo.)
I don’t understand. Nie rozumiem. (Nyeh row-zoo-me-ehm.)
Two beers, please. Dwa piwa proszę. (Dvah peevah prosheh.)
Cheers! Na zdrowie! (Nah zdrovyeh!)
Where are the toilets? Gdzie są toalety? (Gdjeh sawn toe-letih)
You are beautiful. Jesteś piękna. (Yes-tesh pee-enk-nah.)
I love you. Kocham cię. (Ko-hahm chuh.)
Please take me home. Proszę zabierz mnie do domu.  (Prosheh za-byesh mnyeh doh doh-moo.)
Call me! Zadzwoń do mnie! (Zads-dvoan doh mnyeh!)
Airport Lotnisko (Lot-nees-ko)
Train station Dworzec PKP (Dvoar-jets Peh Kah Peh)
Bus station Dworzec PKS (Dvoar-jets Peh Kah Ess)
One ticket to… Jeden bilet do… (Yeh-den bee-let doh…)


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