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Polish Language

Short Course for Beginners

Pronunciation guide

Alphabet Alfabet
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U W Y Z a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u w y z

Q q and V v are used in foreign words only. X x is used in some historical names too. Vowels (Samogoski) a as in father nasalized vowel, similar to French "on" [How to pronounce: Nasal vowels] e as in bed nasalized 'e', like rang [How to pronounce: Nasal vowels]; becomes just a long "e" at the end of words. i as in marine o as in lot see u u as in boot y good approximation sound is myth Consonants Spgoski b c palate d f g h j k l m n as in bed as in boots somewhat as in catch, pronounced with the tongue touching the front of the as in dog as in fun as in go see ch as in yak as in keep as in lead as in womb as in mother as in nice as in canyon; sounds just like the Spanish ""

p q r s t v w x z

as in pig as kw, see k and w respectively (rarely used) no approximate sound in English but try ring as in song somewhat as in wish as in top see w (rarely used) as in vote as ks, see k and s respectively (rarely used) as in haze as in seizure as zh in English loanwords or treasure

Digraphs and trigraphs

ch ci, dzi, ni, si, zi sz cz rz d d szcz

Digrafy i trigraphs

as Scots say in loch as a /d/// followed by an i as in shackles as in witch see as in John, voiced version of cz voiced version of sz + cz is a common combination - just think freshcheese.

How to pronounce

Jak wymwi

Emphasis is usually on the penultimate syllable, with only a few exceptions; non-Slavic words, the first and second plural forms of the past and conditional tenses of both aspects and names that end in -saw are stressed on the third-last syllable. Devoicing occurs with b, d, g, w, z, and voiced digraphs in the word endings and in consonant clusters. Thus jabko 'an apple' is really pronounced japko. Nasal vowels are really nasal in certain configurations only. Other than that, they are om/on for and em/en for . To approximate them, say a or e normally and then the say the n sound as in the -ing endings. Link those two sounds together and voila you have a nasal vowel. Voiceless plosives k, p and t are not aspirated, unlike their English counterparts. -Cz, D-D, -Sz. This is a little more difficult. The English sh/ch sounds are between / and sz/cz respectively - the former are softer, and the latter are harder.Cz is really just an affricate consisting of t + sz (or t + sh in English). D is a voiced and d is a voiced counterpart of cz, so another way to learn cz is to de-voice the J sound you know from John. Rolling r is the sound you will most probably never learn. Approximate it with the r you know, whatever it is. Or if you are really determined, read about the alveolar trill and the alveolar flap. After you know how to pronounce letters and digraphs, just pronounce all letters as you see them.

The most common curse word in Polish is kurwa, which can mean a variety of things damn, bitch, fuck, {insert any word}, and can even serve as a comma. Foreigners may think that Poles are being aggressive when they say the word, but it can be used in a variety of non-hostile ways, such as "Will we go to the store kurwa (replaces a comma) or will we not?" It may also be used by someone if they approach you and need to ask you for something, but realize they cannot communicate with you. Most likely, they're not being confrontational. Kurwa ma is another variation you may hear from time-to-time. It means something similar to 'fucking hell'. If you use kurwa, make sure it's at the appropriate time and some Poles will laugh at you for already learning the most important word in Polish.

Phrase list Lista fraza

Basics Podstawy
1. Hello Informal - Cze (Tch-esh-ch) Formal - Dzie dobry (Jeyn Dobry) 2. How are you? Jak si masz? (Yahk sheng mah-sh) 3. Fine, thank you Dzikuj, dobrze. (Jenkoo-yeng dob-zhe) 4. What is your name? Jak masz na imi? (yahk mah-sh nah eem-ye) Note: meaning in Polish 'What is your given name?' (not a surname) 5. My name is ______ . Nazywam si ______. (Nah-zivam sheng ____) Note: in Polish when you introduce yourself you should start from given name followed by surname (in informal situations just given name) 6. Please. Prosz (PRO-she) 7. Thank you. Dzikuj. (Jenkoo-yen) 8. You're welcome Informal - Nie ma za co (nye ma za tso) Formal - Prosz (PRO-she) 9. Yes. Tak (tahk) 10. No. Nie (nye) 11. Excuse me. (for getting attention) Przepraszam. (pshe-pra-sham) 12. I'm sorry. Przepraszam. (pshe-pra-sham) 13. Goodbye Informal - pa (pah) Formal - Do widzenia (do vee-dze-nya) 14. I can't speak Polish [well]. vye [dob-zhe] po pol-skoo) Nie mwi [dobrze] po polsku. (nye moo-

15.Do you speak English? Czy mwisz po angielsku? (chi moo-vish po ang-gyel-skoo?) 16. Is there someone here who speaks English? Czy kto tu mwi po angielsku? (tch-y ktosh too moo-vee po ang-yel-skoo) 17. Help! Pomocy! (po-mo-tsy) or Ratunku! (ra-toon-koo) 18. Good night Dobranoc. (doh-brah-nots) 19. I don't understand Nie rozumiem (Nyeh roh-zoom-yem) 20. Where is the toilet? Gdzie jest toaleta? (g-jeh yest twa-leta)

Talking to somebody

Rozmowa z kim

Can you help me? Czy moe mi pan m / pani f pomc? (Tchih MO-zheh mee pahn / PAH-nee POH-moots?)



1. Leave me alone. Zostaw mnie. (Zostaff mnieh) 2. I'll call the police. As in summoning - Zawoam policj! (ZAH-voh-wam poh-litz-yeh) As in using a phone - Zadzwoni na policj (ZAH-dzvohn-yeh nah poh-litz-yeh) 3. Police! Policja! (po-litz-yah) 4. Stop the thief! Zatrzyma zodzieja! (zah-tschy-matz zwoh-TZIEHyah) 5. I need your help. Potrzebuj pomocy. (poh-tscheh-BOO-yeh poh-mohtsi) 6. It's an emergency. To naga potrzeba (toh NAH-gwah poh-CHEh-bah) 7. I'm lost. Zabdziem. (zah-bwon-TZEE-wehm) 8. I lost my bag. Zgubiem torb. (zgu-BEE-wehm TOHR-beh) 9. I lost my wallet. Zgubiem portfel. (zgu-BEE-wehm pohr-tvehll) 10. I'm sick. Jestem chory. (YEH-stehm hoh-ry) 11. I'm injured. Jestem ranny (YEH-stehm rahn-ni) 12. I need a doctor. Potrzebuj lekarza. (Pohtschehbooie leckaschah) 13. Can I use (your) phone? Czy mog zadzwoni (od pana/pani)? (tshy moh-gheh zah-tzvoh-nitz (ohd pa-nih [fem.]/pah-nah [masc.])



Comma is the decimal point in Polish, and space is used as a thousand separator. For negative numbers, the minus sign is before the number. The currency symbol is z (sometimes also PLN where different currencies are involved or, incorrectly, PLZ) and it goes after the amount. Common abbreviations are tys. for 'thousands' (SI: k), mln for million (SI: M). Miliard or mld is a billion, and bilion is a trillion (as in the old British notation). Examples: 1,000,000 is 1 000 000, 3.141 is 3,141. PLN 14.95 is 14,95 z, and the Polish public debt is -700 000 000 000 z or -700 000 mln z or -700 mld z or 0,7 bln z.

Numbers (liczby / liczba )

0 zero (ZEH-ro) 1 jeden (YEH-den) (pierwszy) 2 dwa (dvah) (drugi) 3 trzy (tzhih) (trzeci) 4 cztery (CHTEH-rih) (czwarty) 5 pi (pyench) (pity) 6 sze (sheshch) (szsty) 7 siedem (SHEH-dem) (sidmy)

8 osiem (OH-shem) (smy) 9 dziewi (JEV-yench) (dziewity) 10 dziesi (JESH-yench) (dziesity) 11 jedenacie (yeh-deh-NAHSH-cheh) (-nasty) (jedenasty) 12 dwanacie (dvah-NAHSH-cheh) (dwunasty) 13 trzynacie (tzhi-NAHSH-cheh) (trzynasty) 14 czternacie (chter-NAHSH-cheh) (czternasty) 15 pitnacie (pyent-NAHSH-cheh) (pitnasty) 16 szesnacie (shes-NAHSH-cheh) (szesnasty) 17 siedemnacie (sheh-dem-NAHSH-cheh) (siedemnasty) 18 osiemnacie (oh-shem-NAHSH-cheh) (osiemnasty) 19 dziewitnacie (jev-yent-NAHSH-cheh) (dziewitnasty) 20 dwadziecia (dva-JESH-cha) (dwudziesty) 21 dwadziecia jeden (dvah-DZHESH-chah YEH-dehn) (dwudziesty pierwszy) 22 dwadziecia dwa (dvah-DZHESH-chah dvah) (dwudziesty drugi) 23 dwadziecia trzy (dvah-DZHESH-chah tshih) (dwudziesty trzeci) 30 trzydzieci (tzhi-JESH-chee)(trzydziesty) 40 czterdzieci (czterdziesty) 50 pidziesit (pidziesity) 60 szedziesit (szedziesity) 70 siedemdziesit (siedemdziesity) 80 osiemdziesit (osiemdziesity) 90 dziewidziesit (dziewidziesity) 100 sto (setny) 200 dwiecie (dvyesh-SHCHEH) (dwusetny) 300 trzysta (trzysetny) 400 czterysta (czterysetny) 500 piset (pisetny) 600 szeset (szesetny) 700 siedemset (siedemsetny) 800 osiemset (osiemsetny) 900 dziewiset (dziewisetny) 1000 tysic (tysiczny) 2000 dwa tysice (dwutysiczny) 1 000 000 milion (milionowy)

number _____ (train, bus, etc.)

numer _____ half p/poowa (poow/powova) less mniej (mnyay) more wicej (VYEN-tsay)

numer _____ (pocig, autobus, itp.)

Time Czas
now teraz (tehras) later pniej (poozniehy) morning rano (ranoh) afternoon popoudnie (popo-oodnye) evening wieczr (viehtzoor) night noc (nohtz)

Clock time Zegar

12-hour clock is used in informal speech only, 24-hour clock being used in all other situations. Common date formats are : 25.12.2006 (short: 25.12.06) , 25 XII 2006 r and 2006-12-25 (ISO-compliant). Time of day can be expressed with: rano (in the morning), po poudniu (in the afternoon) and wieczorem (in the evening). today dzi/dzisiaj (jeesh) yesterday wczoraj (f-chore-eye) tomorrow jutro (yoo-troh) this week w tym tygodniu (f tyhm tyghodnioo) last week w poprzednim/zeszym tygodniu (f pohp-shed-neem tyghodnioo) next week w nastpnym/przyszym tygodniu (v nastenpnym tyghodnioo) Monday poniedziaek (poniedziawehck) Tuesday wtorek (vtorehck) Wednesday roda (shrodah) Thursday czwartek (chvartehck) Friday pitek (piontehck) Saturday sobota (sobota) Sunday niedziela (nyehjehla)

Months miesicy
January stycze (stitshen) February luty (loot-ay) March marzec (mazhehtz) April kwiecie (kviehtziehn) May maj (mai) June czerwiec (chehrviehts) July lipiec (lipiehts) August sierpie (siehrpiehn) September wrzesie (vjehciehn) October padziernik (pazchiehrnick) November listopad (listohpaht) December grudzie (grootziehn)

Writing time and date

6:00 a.m. - 6:00, 6:00 p.m. - 18:00

Czas pisania i data

In formal letters (documents) you should use date in format [dd-mm-yyyy] (e.g. 16.10.2010). In official document headers date is lead by name of place where document has been created [name of place] , [dnia (or short dn.)] [dd-mm-yyyy] (e.g. d, dnia 16.10.2010). Sometimes you can find date in format : 12.10. br. Its mean 12 (day) 10 (month) biecego roku (present year) .

black white gray red czarny (char-nay) biay (bee-ah-way) szary (sha-ray) czerwony (chair-vo-nay)


blue yellow green orange pink brown

niebieski (nyeh-bee-es-kee) ty (zhoh-tay) zielony (zhielony) pomaraczowy (po-mar-an-cho-vay) rowy (roo-zho-vay) brzowy (braw-zho-vay)

Languages Jzyki
German English French Spanish Italian Russian niemiecki(nyemee -aitskee) angielski(anghyelskee) francuski(frantsooskee) hiszpaski(hishpanskee) woski(vwoskee) rosyjski(rhoseeyskee)



car samochd, auto (sah-MOH-khoot, OW-toh) taxi takswka (tahk-SOOV-kah) bus autobus (ow-TOH-boos) van van also wz meblowy (vooz meh-BLOH-vih) truck ciarwka (chahn-zhah-ROOV-kah) trolley wzek (VOO-zehk) tram tramwaj (TRAHM-vai) train pocig (POH-chohnk) subway metro (MEH-troh) ship statek (STAH-tehk) boat d (wooch) ferry prom (prohm) helicopter helikopter (heh-lee-KOHP-tehr) airplane samolot (sah-MOH-loht) airline linia lotnicza (LEE-nyah loht-NYEE-chah) bicycle rower (ROH-vehr) motorcycle motocykl (moh-TOH-tsihkl) carriage (lead by horses) kareta (kah-REH-tah) railway (or tram, metro ) carriage wagon (Va-gone)


Rozkad jazdy

time table, schedule rozkad jazdy (ROHZ-kwahd YAHZ-dih) [wheeled], rozkad lotw (ROHZ-kwahd LOH-toov) ( [by air] route trasa (TRAH-sah) from where skd, od where to dokd, do departure wyjazd, odjazd (wheeled), wylot, odlot (by air) arrival przyjazd (wheeled), przylot (by air) hour, time, date godzina (godz.), czas, data holidays, Easter w dzie witeczny (w dni witeczne), w wita, w Wielkanoc at night noc (nots-oh) stop przystanek (pshi-STA-neck)

station stacja (stats-ya), dworzec (dvo-zhets) regular connection kurs osobowy, kurs zwyky accelerated connection kurs popieszny connection poczenie change przesiadka (PSHE-syahd-kah) find wyszukaj, szukaj, znajd (vih-SHUH-kai, SHUH-kai, znaij)

Bus and train

autobus i pocig

How much is a ticket to _____? Ile kosztuje bilet do _____? (...) One ticket to _____, please. Prosz jeden bilet do _____. (...) Where does this train/bus go? Dokd jedzie ten pocig/autobus? (...) Where the train/bus to _____ depart from? Skd odjeda pocig/autobus do _____? (...) Does this train/bus stop in _____? Czy ten pocig/autobus staje w _____? (...) When does the train/bus for _____ leave? Kiedy odjeda pocig/autobus do _____? (...) What time (when) will this train/bus arrive in _____? O ktrej (kiedy) ten pocig/autobus przyjeda do _____? (...) domestic krajowy international midzynarodowy ticket bilet check the ticket kasowa bilet reservation rezerwacja 1st (2nd) class pierwsza/druga klasa entrance wejcie exit wyjcie train pocig platform peron track tor train car wagon train compartment przedzia place miejsce row rzd place near window miejce przy oknie for (no) smoking dla (nie)palcych sitting place miejsce siedzce lying/sleeping place miejsce lece/sypialne



How do I get to _____ ? Jak dosta si do _____ ? (...) ...the train station? ...stacji kolejowej? (...) ...the bus station? ...dworca autobusowego? (...) ...the airport? ...lotniska? (...) ...downtown? ...centrum? (...) ...the youth hostel? ...schroniska modzieowego? (...) ...the _____ hotel? ...hotelu _____? (...) ...American amerykaskiego konsulatu? Where are there a lot of... Gdzie znajd duo... (...) ...hoteli? (...) ...restaurants? ...restauracji? (...) ...bars? ...barw? (...)

...sites to see? ...miejsc do zwiedzenia? (...) ...museums? ...muzew? Can you show me on the map? Czy moe pan/pani pokaza mi na mapie? (...) street ulica (...) avenue aleja road droga boulevard bulwar highway autostrada place plac round rondo bridge most Turn left Skr w lewo. (...) Turn right Skr w prawo. (...) left lewo (...) right prawo (...) straight ahead prosto (...) towards the _____ w kierunku _____ (...) past the _____ min _____ (...) before the _____ przed _____ (...) Watch for the _____. uwaaj na _____. (...) intersection skrzyowanie (...) north pnoc (Pn.) (...) south poudnie (Pd.) (...) east wschd (Wsch.) (...) west zachd (Zach.) (...) uphill pod gr (...) downhill w d (...)



Taxi! Taxi!, Takswka! (...) Take me to _____, please. Prosz mnie zawie do ______. (...) How much does it cost to get to _____? Ile kosztuje przejazd do _____? (...) Take me there, please. Prosz mnie tam zawie. (...)

Lodging Zakwaterowanie
Do you have any rooms available? Czy s wolne pokoje? (...) How much is a room for one person/two people? Ile kosztuje pokj dla jednej osoby/dwch osb? (...) Does the room come with... Czy ten pokj jest z... (...) ...bedsheets? ...przecieradami? (...) ...a bathroom? ...azienk? (...) ...a bath? ...wann? ...a shower? ...prysznicem? ...a telephone? ...telefonem? (...) ...a TV? ...telewizorem? (...) May I see the room (first)? Czy mog (najpierw) zobaczy pokj? (...) Do you have anything quieter? Czy jest jaki cichszy? (...) ...bigger? ...wikszy? (...) ...cleaner? ...czystszy? (...) ...cheaper? ...taszy? (...)

OK, I'll take it. Dobrze. Wezm go. (...) I will stay for _____ night(s). Zostan na _____ noc(e/y). (...) Can you suggest another hotel? Czy moe pan/pani poleci inny hotel? (...) Do you have a safe? Czy jest tu sejf? (...) Where is/are locker(-s)? Gdzie jest/s szatnia/szatnie? (...) Is breakfast/supper included? Czy niadanie/kolacja jest wliczone? (...) What time is breakfast/supper? O ktrej godzinie jest niadanie/kolacja? (...) Please clean my room. Prosz posprzta mj pokj. (...) Can you wake me at _____? Czy moe mnie pan/pani obudzi o _____? (...) I want to check out. Chc si wymeldowa. (...)

Money Pienidze
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? Czy mog zapaci amerykaskimi/australijskimi/kanadyjskimi dolarami? (...) Do you accept credit cards? Czy mog zapaci kart (kredytow)? (...) Can you change money for me? Czy mog wymieni pienidze? (...) Where can I get money changed? Gdzie mog wymieni pienidze? (...) Can you change a traveler's check for me? Czy moe pan/pani wymieni mi czek podrny? (...) Where can I get a traveler's check changed? Gdzie mog wymieni czek podrny? (...) What is the exchange rate? Jaki jest kurs wymiany? (...) Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? Gdzie jest bankomat? (...) Can you change me this for coins? Czy moe mi pan/pani wymieni to na monety?



eat je food jedzenie A table for one person/two people, please. Poprosz stolik dla jednej osoby/dwch osb. (...) Can I look at the menu, please? Czy mog zobaczy menu? (...) Is there a house specialty? Czy jest specjalno lokalu? (...) I'm a vegetarian. Jestem wegetarianinem. (Yestem vege-tarian-em) I don't eat meat. Nie jem misa. Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) Czy mogoby to by podane "dietetycznie" (mniej oleju/masa/smalcu)? (...) fixed-price meal ? (...) la carte z karty, z menu (...) breakfast niadanie (...) lunch drugie niadanie/obiad/lunch (...) dinner obiad/kolacja(supper) I want _____. Poprosz _____. (...) I want a dish containing _____. Poprosz danie z _____. (...) chicken kurczaka (...) beef woowiny (...) fish ryby (...) ham szynk (...) sausage parwk, kiebas (...)

cheese serem (...) egg, eggs jajkiem (...) salad saatk (...) (fresh) vegetables (wiee) warzywa (...) (fresh) fruit (wiee) owoce (...) bread chleb (...) bun, roll buka toast tost (...) noodles makaron (...) rice ry (...) potato ziemniak, kartofel beans fasola (...) pea groch, groszek onion cebula sour cream mietana red/green pepper czerwona/zielona papryka May I have a glass of _____? Poprosz szklank _____? (...) May I have a cup of _____? Poprosz kubek _____? (...) May I have a bottle of _____? Poprosz butelk _____? (...) coffee ...kawy (...) tea (drink) ...herbaty (...) mint mita sugar cukier juice sok (...) (bubbly) water woda (gazowana) (...) May I have some _____? Czy mog dosta troch _____? (...) salt ...soli? (...) black pepper ...pieprzu? (...) butter ...masa? (...) Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server) Przepraszam? (...) I'm finished. Skoczyem. (...) It was delicious. Byo bardzo dobre. (...) The bill, please. Prosz rachunek. (...) water woda (...) orange juice sok pomaraczowy (...) Coke (soda) Kola (or Cola) (KO-lah) One more, please. Jeszcze raz prosz. (...) Another round, please. Jeszcze jedn kolejk prosz. (...) When is closing time? O ktrej zamykacie? (...)



Do you have this in my size? Czy jest w moim rozmiarze? (...) How much is this? Ile to kosztuje? (...) Price. Cena. That's too expensive. Za drogo. (...) Would you take _____? Czy wemiesz _____? (...) expensive drogo (...) cheap tanio (...) I can't afford it. Nie sta mnie. (...) I don't want it. Nie chc tego. (...) I'm not interested. Nie jestem zainteresowany. (..) OK, I'll take it. W porzdku, bior. (...)

Can I have a bag? Czy mog dosta siatk? (...) I need... Potrzebuj... (...) ...toothpaste. ...past do zbw. (...) ...a toothbrush. ...szczoteczk do zbw. (...) ...soap. ...mydo. (...) ...shampoo. ...szampon. (...) ...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen) ...rodek przeciwblowy (na przykad aspiryn lub ibuprofen). (...) ...cold medicine. ...lekarstwo na przezibienie. (...) ...stomach medicine. ...lekarstwo na odek. (...) ...a razor. ...maszynk do golenia. (...) umbrella. ...parasol. (...) ...sunblock lotion. ...krem przeciwsoneczny. (...) ...a postcard. ...pocztwk. (...) ...postage stamps. ...znaczki pocztowe. (...) ...batteries. ...baterie. (...) ...writing paper. ...papier listowy. () ...a pen. ...dugopis. (...)



Polish street signs are pictograms. There are no 'one way', 'yield', etc. signs written in words. I want to rent a car. Chciabym wynaj samochd. (...) Can I get insurance? Czy mog dosta ubezpiecznie? (...) stop (on a street sign) stop (...) one way ulica jednokierunkowa (...) yield podporzdkowana (...) no parking zakaz parkowania (...) speed limit ograniczenie prdkoci (...) gas (petrol) station stacja benzynowa (...) petrol (any kind - in general) paliwo (...) unleaded gasoline benzyna bezoowiowa diesel diesel (dee-zehl), olej napdowy (ON), inform. ropa (ROH-pah) motor oil olej silnikowy

Authority Urzd
I haven't done anything wrong. Nie zrobiem nic zego. (...) It was a misunderstanding. To byo nieporozumienie. (...) Where are you taking me? Dokd mnie zabieracie? (...) Am I under arrest? Czy jestem aresztowany? (...) I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. Jestem obywatelem amerykaskim/australijskim/brytyjskim/kanadyjskim. (...) I want to talk to the American embassy/consulate. Chc rozmawia z ambasad/konsulatem amerykaskim. I want to talk via English translator. Chc rozmawia przez tumacza jzyka angielskiego. Can I just pay a fine now? Czy mog po prostu teraz zapaci kar? (...)