Monday, February 1, 2010


WARNING: Long post... sorry all, i got a little frustrated.
So... I am trying to be a good wife and soon to be mom and learn polish. For anyone that doesnt know, or cant read our last name, David is polish. Well his parents are from Poland, but David was born in Chicago... Anyway, he grew up speaking polish to his parents, and he also went on his mission to Poland. So if he wasnt fluent before, he definitely is now. The reason i write this is to explain that i feel its important for our kids to learn the language, as that is one set of grandparents primary language. However, im frustrated. Polish is hard. David laughs when he explains to me that Poles take pride in how hard their language is. David has taught me a bit, and i can generally understand when he is praying or speaking in Polish. However, I am trying to learn at home and lets just say its not going quickly. I'll just give you a run down of why polish is so hard:

1. Each word can be changed 14 different times, depending on the form of speech.

2. There are four (4) genders. (Four?? REALLY??)

3. Each preposition, and verb changes the ending of a word accordingly.

4. Not only are nouns changed, but adjectives (anything describing the noun) change as well.

5. The language is spoken in double negatives.

6. The instrumental case in english is simply a different ending in a polish word. ( Who the heck knows what the instrumental case in english is anyway... now i have to know it in polish???) ie: (english) I am taking a bus. (polish) Ide autobusem. Direct translation: I am going by the means of a bus. (WTF??? Those two words mean all that?? Again i say, WTF??)

7. In English we use adjectives to describe somethings state of being. In Polish adverbs are used instead. Now i will show you why this is difficult; because it just doesnt seem that confusing...but it is. ie: (english) I am cold. (polish) Zimno mi. Direct translation: It is cold to me. ( I wish that everyone could have been here to listen to David explain to me why those two words mean, it is cold to me. He had to break down the english sentence to describe why the polish sentence works. By the way, in the polish sentence, there is no verb, just an adverb and the indirect object form of I. Sheesh.)

Now for those of you who have read through this post...which i know is long... David asked that i put in the reasons why Polish is easy. So here goes.

1. There are only 3 tenses- past tense, present tense, and future tense.... However, there are two forms of each verb. ( So not exactly easy, since you have to know which one you are using -perfect form or imperfect form.)

At this point David is struggling to think of another point of why polish would be easy...

2. There is no filler words like : a, an, the, of. These words are all inclusive in the ever large words.

As for redeeming qualities, it seems this is it.

Now regardless of how difficult i know the language is, i still attempt to teach myself. This, however, will not go well but I push forward. Well i guess this is me throwing down, that i will learn this language. There will be plenty of tears, and probably expletives said in frustration, but i will learn it. I dont think i can put a time limit on it, but this is me making myself accountable. Thank you for letting me rant. The next time i make progress i will definitely put it on the blog. :) *sigh*


  1. I sort of know how you feel. Tim wants Taylor to know Portuguese, he went to Brazil on his mission. So he has been talking to her in portuguese. I've picked up a little bit throughout our marriage when he would speak it but it seems like when i try to say something i get it all mixed up. It might get easier when your little baby comes and David is teaching the baby. It seems like I've been able to learn more listening to Tim talk to Taylor. Keep trying, it will get easier, especially if you are so determined.:)

  2. Just so you know, I've actually learned from Ben's sister Michelle that the kids learn two languages better if one parent speaks only one language. Example: Michelle speaks English to her kids and Alberto (her South American husband) speaks only Spanish. Their two oldest (6 and 4) are fluent in both languages (as fluent as a 6 and 4 year old can be, I guess). But I can see how it is also important for you to know a little bit of Polish as well. Maybe I'll get Rosetta Stone for you for a baby shower gift. :)

  3. I just lost a monster long comment I wrote so I will try to write it again. Ugh.

    I admire you for trying to learn Polish when you don't actually have to. I tried to learn it early in our marriage because I wanted to be able to speak it to our kids, but I was too lazy and instead just learned words but not grammar. I knew loads of nouns (the main thing you need to be able to teach babies anyway) but couldn't form sentences correctly at all.

    Now we've lived in Poland for 10 years and I still am not comfortable carrying on conversations in Polish. I understand it all and CAN speak okay, but because I never studied grammar mine only comes from having listened to the language, so I have no sure sense that I'm following a rule, but it just sounds right, still leaving me feeling like I'm getting it wrong all the time.

    I love living in Poland because the kids learn English from me at home and a little Polish from Greg, but mostly are forced to learn it outside the home. This is a really good setup.

    Polish is HARD. Many (probably most) missionaries don't speak super well even after an intense course at the MTC and then spending two years in Poland. Don't expect to be able to speak it comfortably before the baby comes, or even for a few years. Maybe you will! But don't expect too much!

    The only way I used Polish with the kids is teaching them nouns when they're babies (so easy) just as you do in English and then using certain words and phrases like, "Chodż tu", "Nie wolno", "Już" etc. Now I use a lot more short sentences and commands (just out of habit, I don't try to teach them anything, of course) but I still don't actually TALK to them in Polish.

    Make sure David speaks to her in Polish and READS to her every day. You will pick up a ton this way and then you know she'll be learning correct grammar etc. anyway.

    My gosh I'm being bossy! I just mean to make suggestions, not tell you what you should do! Sorry!

    Anyway, I admire you for learning Polish. It IS very hard. Don't give up, but don't expect too much of yourself! If you ever feel like ranting anymore, I am VERY sympathetic to your plight so feel free to email me, or if I can help you or answer any questions or whatever. Just hit reply to your email notification of this comment.

    Good luck to you!!