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THE 3T’s – WE SUGGEST HOW TO LEARN POLISH EFFECTIVELY

Today is January 2022 – you’ve probably heard this question: ‘Do you have a New Year’s resolution?’ Although on the one hand, you say to yourself: ‘Enough of these resolutions, of which nothing comes from’, you subconsciously wonder, what will be your priority this year? Therefore, if learning Polish is an important goal for you that you would like to focus on in 2022, here are our suggestions on how to effectively achieve it!

THE 3 T’s: TARGET, TIME, THANKS

TARGET

Research shows that a target should be defined, realistic and measurable, which means that when learning Polish, it is worth to first clarify your current knowledge of the language, and then determine the level that you would like to achieve in the given time. It is essential for the success of this target that the level you want to achieve is reasonable. There is nothing more frustrating about learning a foreign language than imagining yourself as a participant in a lively conversation once you have only just started your Beginner Polish course. Setting a high goal for yourself causes unnecessary stress and troubles.

So what to do? Verify your current level, which you can check by taking a test or come to the Polish Language School KLUB DIALOGU and talk to the teacher. At the beginning, take up small challenges. Depending on your needs, try to define your progress at the level of 2-3 modules, so that you always have the opportunity to adjust these achievements and set new goals. You will not pass the State B1 Certificate Exam immediately, but by taking small steps, you have a great chance to do so in the future!

TIME

Time is a very important element in achieving our targets, as it allows us to concentrate on the task at hand and prevents postponing it ‘for an eternal tomorrow’. As in the case of the target, time must be realistic, i.e. give us space to complete the full cycle of the process: learning, practice, and feedback. Properly defined time forces us to be specific and organised. Remember, however, that too short a time frame will not allow you to complete the process, and too long a time frame will blur its possibilities, and after some time you will not remember your priorities.

THANKS

Don’t ignore the powerful influence of another person on your Polish language learning process. We instinctively hide our ‘resolutions’ from others because it protects us from embarrassment if something goes wrong. The involvement of other people, however, in our learning has a huge impact on its effectiveness. The support and feedback of people you can rely on can be very useful and can strengthen relationships, and thanks to this your learning will become more regular and consistent. It’s like losing weight, where positive support – from anguish – can turn into a healthy habit. Thanks to others, we can often achieve our goals!

Additionally, it is best to use qualified assistance. This is where the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU comes in handy, which offers a wide range of courses at various levels and intensity.

Christmas in Poland is preceded by a long period of preparations and events that begin four weeks before Christmas itself. The period of spiritual preparation for Christmas is called ‘Advent’. Advent is an important time in the Christian church in anticipation of the birth of Jesus and his coming at the end of the world. This year, this began on 28th November. On 6th December, we celebrate ‘Mikołajki’ in Poland. This is the only day of this kind, especially for children who expect little gifts left in their slippers by Santa Claus when they wake up in the morning. In addition, in December, children in schools and kindergartens take part in ‘Jasełka’, or nativity play performances, and the cities shine with the light of a thousand beautiful Christmas lights.

Three weeks later, it’s Christmas time.

This is a special time for many Poles. Christmas traditions are very important in Poland. These customs are nurtured and passed down from generation to generation so that they can still give the holidays a solemn and family feel.

The most important family event is the evening of 24th December, when Christmas Eve is celebrated. The whole family sits down to the Christmas Eve dinner, which does not start before the first star shines in the sky. An extra plate is always served with supper for an unexpected guest, and there is hay under the tablecloth – a reference to the birth of Jesus in the stable. Before eating, family members share a wafer, expressing their best wishes to each other. This custom emphasises the special bond that binds loved ones together, as well as the readiness to forgive and reconcile with each other. During the dinner, 12 meatless dishes are served, and depending on the region of Poland, these are: borscht with dumplings, fried carp, cabbage with mushrooms, vegetable salad, potatoes, carp in jelly, dried fruit compote, kutia, poppy seed cake and cheesecake. After supper, all well-behaved people are visited by Santa Claus (in Warsaw), Aniołek – a little angel (in Krakow), or by Gwiazdor (in Poznań) 😊. One of these 3 people can also leave gifts under the tree that’s lavishingly decorated with ornaments (baubles, tinsel, a star, gingerbread, etc.). At midnight begins Midnight Mass, a very solemn mass in the church, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas in Poland is, next to Easter, the most important religious holidays. Celebrating these special days in December culminated a warm, joyful, and family atmosphere. Cultivating Polish Christmas customs is conducive to strengthening the bonds between family members and emphasising national identity, but also gives the celebration of Christmas a unique beauty that can be longed for many months.

The arrival of the 2020 pandemic was a shock for many of us. In March 2020, our school closed for what we all thought would be only a little while. However, the following days showed that the situation was not improving, and it was in fact getting worse. And although we were very worried, we managed to switch to online lessons within a week. It was not an easy task for us at all. The lack of more appropriate equipment and materials turned out to be a big challenge, and we soon found out that this was just the beginning of our complicated adventure with remote learning…

The new teaching conditions required new investments. Purchasing computers, video cameras and microphones, adjusting our program and new internet applications required time, special commitment and intensive work of the entire KLUB DIALOGU team. We asked our students questions about the quality of online learning and, thanks to their creative and constructive responses, we decided to make further investments.

Currently, Polish language courses at KLUB DIALOGU school, as well as group and individual online lessons are conducted at the highest level, which is greatly appreciated by our students. The purchase of interactive boards for each classroom and the acoustic soundproofing of the rooms has adjusted our school to allow for hybrid classes. It is convenient for those students who, due to business trips or illness, cannot attend their course in person and do not want to miss their lessons.

Additionally, modern interactive boards make learning Polish at school and online faster and more attractive. On these boards you can not only write, but also use it to display multimedia presentations, movies, websites, or exercises and interactive applications. After the lesson is over, the teacher can send the lesson notes online to all students. Interactive boards are an excellent teaching aid, thanks to which students are more interested in the lesson and can focus on a specific topic.

Come and see for yourself how the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU has changed for the better, for you!

On 1st August every year there is a special event. This time is called Godzina ,,W”. What is this exactly? Godzina ,,W” was the codename for the date and time that began Operation Tempest in German-occupied Warsaw, and so the Warsaw Uprising. The time exactly was 5pm, 1st August 1944. This is why, on 1st August at 5pm one can expect to hear sirens, with many people gathered on the streets and even people and cars coming to a complete standstill. 

Of course, the history of World War II in Poland is rich, it’s deep and it’s very sad. It’s impossible to explain anything in detail in a short article, but we’ll begin with a short explanation about what happened before the Warsaw Uprising. 

On 31st July in 1944, during a briefing of Home Army’s general staff at 67 Pańska Street, General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, commander of the Home Army, received a report from General Antoni Chruściel, commander of the Warsaw district, regarding a supposed successful Soviet breach of German defenses just outside of the Praga suburb in Warsaw. The information was actually false, but on its basis,at 5:45 PM, Bór-Komorowski gave Chruściel an oral order to begin Operation Tempest on 1 August 1944 at 5:00 PM.

Why was 1st August at 5pm the chosen date and time? Well, it was initially decided that the Uprising would take place in the early morning, but in July 1944, Chruściel decided that it would infact take place at 5pm. This is due to the fact that at that time, there was a lot of street traffic, meaning that the soldiers could could much more easily blend into the crowd and get to the meeting points safely, whilst in the meantime also transporting guns and ammunition. At 5pm there was also enough sunlight left for the operation to go as smoothly and accurately as possible. The exact day, however, was to be decided the day before the fighting were to begin. 

The order was issued by Chruściel at around 7:00 PM – just an hour before military curfew. As a result, it was delivered between 7:00 and 9:00 AM the next morning to district commanders. Group commanders received it between 9:00 and 13:30 PM. In the afternoon the total number of messengers delivering the order reached 6000. There were posters on the streets with the simple title ‘Polacy!’, as an appeal to the Polish people, to tell them that the long-awaited fight-back was to shortly commence. 

Not all units managed to keep the mobilisation a secret until 5:00 PM… First shots were fired at a German patrol at 13:35 PM on Krasiński Street in Żoliborz. The Germans quickly brought a tank and a few armored vehicles with machine guns. While sweeping the area, at 5:30 PM on Suzina Street, the German patrol surprised a Polish unit who were taking weapons from a stash. Fights started before 5pm in reportedly at least 8 different instances across Warsaw. 

Ultimately, the Germans were not able to stop the Uprising from happening. This is the general history from this mind-blowing, brave fight and difficult time for not only Warsaw, but the whole of Poland. 

Now, there are many things to commemorate 1st August 1944. For example, a memory plaque was placed on the building at 68 Filtrowa Street, where Antoni Chruściel signed the original order that lead to this incredible event. There’s also a street in Warsaw called Al. Godziny ,,W”. 

One of the most noticable signs of honour and respect we have for this in Warsaw is that every year on 1st August at 5pm, almost everything comes to a standstill, and with sirens blazing, Polish flags flying in the breeze, we stop to think about and remember this miraculous event in history. 

What is the best way to learn Polish? That’s a question without a definite answer, but of course there are many effective and fun ways to conduct language lessons that are a pleasure to take part in. At KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners, we always strive for interactive and interesting lessons, making learning a difficult language like the Polish language easier. This is especially true during the summer time, when we have intensive Polish language lessons that include outdoor activities!  

We just finished the ‘Introduction to Polish’ group course, which was designed to open the students up to the basics of the Polish language, being a course at A0 level. Besides lessons at the school, the students actively learned also during practical classes, involving outdoor adventures. There was a lesson in Hala Mirowska where the students did shopping in Polish, after which there was a joint meal preparation with the ingredients bought! 
Why do we think this kind of lesson is useful? Of course, learning the details and getting to the nitty gritty of vocabulary and grammar is very important to be able to even do these lessons, and this kind of Polish lesson takes place in the classroom with textbooks, notepads and worksheets. However, the reason most people learn foreign languages is to actually use them in everyday situations! 
What’s more, as part of this intensive course as with others, we also went to a café and ordered coffee, to restaurants and learning by play – we made game boards in Polish and played them with the group.   

A ‘Beginners’ course like all other summer group courses, includes tons of attractions planned to make learning effective, interesting and unforgettable, but most of all, is the best way to learn Polish as a foreign language! 

‘Intermediate Conversations’ is an intensive group course, which is all about starting to really speak Polish and get a hold of the sometimes complicated grammar involved in learning Polish as a foreign language. Such a course is always very useful to the students who participate in it. This is due to the fact that at a fast pace it is possible to learn Polish grammar in structured yet super enjoyable environment with others who really want to learn Polish, devoting time and strength a few hours a day. The classes are full of interactive games both in and out of the school setting, such as: going to a museum, parks, doing ‘social research’, etc. These ‘lessons’ often don’t feel like lessons at all!  

Check all dates for our summer courses and see for yourself. Of course, all of our students are invited to the exceptional events that we hold all summer round!  

Our passion at KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners is and always has been sharing the Polish language, as well as our special traditions and everyday life in Poland. That is why we have prepared an information-filled BLOG for you to enjoy – READ AND LEARN WHEN YOU WANT. 

On our blog you will find many articles, exercises, audio recordings and interesting links on various topics and suited to different levels of Polish advancement (from A1 to B2) for self-study. Some of our articles contain short questions to check correct understanding of the text. We encourage you to leave a comment or ‘like’ the article you enjoyed. It will give us inspiration and motivation to continue working for you! 

The internet is full of blogs – what makes ours different? What kind of articles do we write? We write about Warsaw, about our country in general and interesting facts that may not be so widely known! You can find anything that could interest you on the blog, and as a foreigner learning Polish, which is, as we know, not always the easiest task, having these articles, short and long, available to you for free 24 hours a day, it is one of the best ways to learn alone. As mentioned, there are some questions below articles to practise even more. The best part is that you can leave comments and ask your own questions, too! The questions can be about the topic of the article itself, or about the Polish language, like grammar questions, or a question about a specific structure or sentence. We will always be happy to respond and be in touch with you. 

So, what are you waiting for? Read and learn when you want!  

GO TO BLOG

Easter is a joyful time for many, definitely not including for Poles! In Poland, we have many special traditions associated with this time, and we are always happy to share these with others who are not from Poland, and don’t know everything in the Polish language to understand this busy yet beautiful time of new life and beginnings! 

The first sign of Easter approaching in Poland is many branches and dried flowers being brought to church. One week before Easter, Palm Sunday (‘Niedziela Palmowa’) takes places. This is why churchgoers being ‘palms’, willows, made of colourful dried branches to Church. Spring cleaning takes place and Poles paint hard-boiled eggs (‘pisanki’). This egg painting is said to come from a ritual that is over 5000 years old. Easter baskets are brought to the church to be blessed which contain the ‘pisanki’, meat, bread, spices, cake and an Easter Lamb (‘Baranek Wielkanocny’) made of plastic or sugar. 

On Easter Sunday, there is a mass at church at 6am – the Resurrection mass. Families gather together to eat breakfast and wish each other ‘Wesołego Alleluja’! More Polish delicacies emerge: yeast-cake (‘babka’), cake with icing and dried frits and nuts (‘mazurek’) and cheesecake (‘sernik’). Take note of all the new words in the Polish language during this time of year and learn basic Polish! 

Easter Monday is where a lot of fun can really be had. In Poland, we have the tradition of Wet Monday (“Śmigus-Dyngus”), where children throw water over each other in the street 🙂 (You also should be careful).

What else is there to know about Easter celebrations in Poland? Well, there are many new and different words associated with Easter and spring time in the Polish language that a foreigner may have never heard before this time of year comes around. 

As we know, unfortunately this year, Easter will not be the same as some of us remember it as. There may not be the big family get together for breakfast and not even Śmigus-Dyngus, but there are things we can do to compensate for that. It won’t be easy to share our traditions with foreigners during the pandemic, but, at KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners, we believe in the new beginnings surrounding Easter celebrations and spring time. That’s why we love to share our culture with our students and other foreigners, as well as the Polish language in Polish courses. 

Instead of the big family get together, you can always learn Polish online or in person at school or study by yourself instead! You can pick up a text book, or write down notes during all Easter preparations and study them all on the day itself! It`s like a perfect Polish course for you. A lot of our language learning comes down to self-study and time spent reviewing new and interesting words.

In our Polish classes, we prioritise not only the Polish language but also immersing our students in our culture. There isn’t a better way to learn than to also have fun! 🙂 

It is well known that to learn a new language, especially from scratch, it is very helpful to be in the country where it is predominantly spoken. That doesn’t mean, though, that it is impossible any other way! An important point to make is that, although the Polish language is said to be ‘one of the most difficult languages in the world’, it has similarities to other languages, making it already a totally realistic goal to learn the Polish language, even to a completely fluent level. 

The Polish language borrows aspects from German, English, Yiddish and Russian. Of course, Polish words and phrases function differently than in those languages, but there are many similarities. In addition, the Polish language has a lot of internationalisms, so when it comes to vocabulary, learning Polish may facilitate learning other languages in the future! These similarities alone encourage Polish language learning from a beginner level without even being in Poland. 

You have to try to speak and use even basic Polish as often as you can. If there is no one to speak to – then speak to yourself. Force yourself to think in Polish. Even if it’s just a few words here and there in the car on the way to work, in the supermarket try to recall names of foods in Polish. Eventually it will become a habit. Listen to songs in Polish and sing along with the artist. Maybe this isn’t the way to reach fluency, but there are ways to combat that, too.

In KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners, we hold a lot of online Polish courses, starting from A0 (complete beginner) to B2 level (upper intermediate). You can take part in these classes from anywhere in the world. We offer both group and individual lessons so you can definitely find what you’re looking for. Group Polish courses are perfect if you are wanting to interact with others on the same level as you are; you can easily learn from mistakes and the mistakes of others, as well as from achievements. Homework will help you keep in touch with your learning on a regular basis so you won’t lose any of the knowledge you have acquired. What’s more, individual Polish lessons allow you to focus on your specific needs and requirements with our highly qualified teachers of Polish as a foreign language, meaning you can go as quickly or as slowly as you want in your Polish language learning. The motivation of having these classes can help you keep in mind that consistent learning is important, as you see the results of your hard work, even though you are not in Poland full-time. After all, motivation is always a good place to start, but never something to rely on! 

You don’t need to remember everything. Poland is a country with several popular dialects and even Poles use certain phrases differently, and sometimes have to question what the other person means. The most important thing is to determine: what do I need Polish for? Maybe while shopping, maybe at the children’s school, maybe I would like to read Polish newspapers or to talk to Polish colleagues with fluency in their language, too. All of these skills are trained as part of group courses and individual lessons in KLUB DIALOGU.

You have to focus on your goal and learn vocabulary and phrases related to this specific topic. Our teachers will help you set the initial goals, and while learning, we can make changes and add other interesting things for you to enjoy and learn, too. Polish really is a language that you can learn without necessarily being in Poland. It’s at time difficult and confusing, but it’s also full of interesting words, phrases and structures. Polish people love it when you speak Polish, so why not surprise them in a different country where you live together? Everything is possible! Good luck!

We know that Polish is said to be a difficult language to learn. Non-native Polish language speakers are often put off by simply hearing this. That’s why it’s always necessary to start the journey of learning Polish with a fresh mindset! At the beginning it can be hard, whether that is a mental thing, having heard the Polish language is difficult for foreigners grammatically, technically or in terms of vocabulary. On the other hand, it can be due to the fact that some people simply don’t have the natural ability to quickly grasp languages (although that is always a barrier that can be broken!).

Once the most difficult part is past you, meaning the beginning of starting learning Polish, satisfaction is instantly met! Catching the first words in Polish conversation you hear, understanding what someone is asking and the first time you respond… it’s a feeling that money really cannot buy, and the determination that was put in to push through those difficult first times was worth it! With us at KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners, we help you push through barriers from the very beginning with lessons of basic Polish that aren’t only course book based, but also very interactive, with games and fun conversational classes both at school and online. 

How fast one can learn Polish depends on the ability and motivation. We should rather not speak of the time frame, but of the journey itself. Let’s say, after a course consisted of 100 hours of Polish lessons you can deal with general life situations, you can say what you feel and ask about things. After another 100 you can write and read with understanding. After about 500-hour course in total you are able to take B1 Certificate exam. Age shouldn’t be an excuse to start learning a new language from the very beginning, taking into consideration, that online lessons are very convenient.  

Now, we can mention motivation. Motivation is generally more; motivation is always a great place to start but it is never something to rely on. Motivation always comes and goes. It can last seconds, days or months, but determination the thing to always keep in mind. You can go to Polish classes twice a week, even have an every day course of Polish, but if you don’t study alone and practise in real life situations, the likelihood of real progress is minimal. When you have motivation for something for a real reason, such as work-related matters, family, even perfectionism, then you are always inclined to learn faster. At KLUB DIALOGU in Warsaw we arrange outings that include going to shops, museums and different events that involve our students being in situations where they have to speak to native Polish speakers in Polish to practise their Polish in everyday yet calm settings. These methods have been proven to work and help foreigners in learning the Polish language faster. We use all our engagement and experience during individual, group and online courses.

Learning especially basic Polish is often a faster process for someone with Slavic origin, due to some similar grammar styles, phrases and words. This can sometimes be deceptive though, because words can mean something completely different, and even similar grammar concepts can be confusing because they aren’t actually the same. We see daily in KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners that Slavic people progress faster, but those from other countries like English speaking countries, Spain and Italy, to name a few, can also learn Polish very fast and reach a relatively fluent level within a couple of years, after having started from basic Polish. Living in Poland massively helps in the process of learning our language but now when you can learn Polish online, you can take this advantage and practice from every place on the globe, when you are right now.

Come to KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners to see for yourself just how fast and effectively you really can learn Polish! It doesn’t have to take years and years; if you are full of passion for languages and have determination, you can really do anything! 🙂 

The Polish language is our passion; we love teaching it to foreigners who are passionate about Polish language and who are determined to learn. Living in Poland, one of the best things someone could do would be learning Polish to at least a conversational level. Of course, many people now speak English and it is possible to get by speaking it, however, in more official circumstances or in every day life, this is sometimes not possible. Given the many positives of learning Polish, why do some people struggle with it? The main reason, it seems, is the fact that Polish is said to be one of the most difficult languages to learn, and having a closed mindset before starting to learn Polish can very often make it difficult to push down barriers, and to find the real passion for our language for all that it is. At KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners, we know and understand all of the different issues with learning Polish and we are accustomed to helping you break your barriers and guiding you on your journey to falling in love with the Polish language!  

What are some things that are difficult about our language? It’s true, that Polish is made up of some complex grammar structures and difficult pronunciation. This needn’t put someone off delving deep into the world of Polish learning, because once one masters the pronunciation of our special letters and groups of letters, it really isn’t that hard! In Polish, we have six extra letters than the English alphabet, containing nine interesting characters: Ą, Ć, Ę, Ł, Ń, Ó, Ś, Ż and Ź. The diacritical marks are fundamental in pronouncing each of these letters as they all have quite a different sound to what you may expect from the English alphabet. We also mentioned the groups of letters, meaning SZ, CZ, DŻ, DŹ, DZI, RZ etc. Each cluster forms a different sound said as one in a given word. Perhaps it seems overwhelming, but students almost always pick these up very quickly and are able to immediately form sentences and speak with great pronunciation!  

Something that can also throw learners of Polish as a foreign language off guard is that so many words have one diminutive form at least. You may hear them often in more relaxed situations, as they’re used to express affection or friendly vibes. This is also true for Polish names, and family members and friends almost always use these diminutive forms to refer to one another. That is why sometimes it can be confusing to hear someone’s name in a completely different way. It is still the same name, however! For example, the female name Małgorzata can be changed most commonly into Małgosia and Gosia. Joanna into Asia, Krzysztof into Krzysiek and so on (the list could really go on forever. The name Anna can be changed into at least 8 forms! Maybe these things would seem strange or even difficult if you’re a foreigner embarking on your Polish language learning journey, but we promise that this is actually a wonderful aspect of our language! Practically every noun can be changed into a diminutive form!  

As it tends to be known, in Polish we have seven declinations: nominative case, genitive, instrumental, accusative, dative, vocative and locative. It wouldn’t be fair to say that this is easy to learn and doesn’t take practice (both in Polish classes and self-revision and learning), but once these are learnt to a decent level, this is when it is really possible to speak with a level of fluency and confidence in Polish in many different situations. We tend to teach these in detail during the A2 level courses. Free word order, using ‘się’ and other slightly more difficult aspects of Polish are also more intensively taught at this level. This is precisely why it’s worth to stay determined and not give up at the first hurdles of learning Polish, because we can guarantee that once our students continue to be conscientious and put continuous effort in, Polish isn’t as bad as it ‘seems’ and is said to be! It really is the same with learning any foreign language. It might not always be easy but it is most certainly worth it.  

If you’re motivated to learn Polish, join us at KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners for individual and group courses, that are not only tailored to your needs, but are also informative and what’s more, super fun and make learning seem like a complete pleasure as apposed to a chore! We are looking forward to seeing you to teach you our wonderful language and learn about your culture, too!