International day of action on climate change

Posted on 21. Sep, 2014 by in Countries, Culture, Nature

An international day of action on climate change (Międzynarodowy Dzień działań w sprawie zmian klimatu) brought tens of thousands onto the streets of New York City today, with organizers predicting the biggest protest on the issue in five years.

About 100,000 people, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and elected officials from the United States and abroad joined the People’s Climate March, ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations hosted summit in the city to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment (redukcja emisji dwutlenku węgla, które zagrażają środowisku).

Image by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition on Flickr.com

Image by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition on Flickr.com

Organizers billed the event as the largest gathering (największe zgromadzenie) focused on climate change since 2009, when tens of thousands gathered in Copenhagen in a sometime raucous demonstration that resulted in the detention of 2,000 protesters.

The march comes days after the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that August 2014 was the warmest on record (Sierpień 2014 był najcieplejszy w historii), some 1.35 degrees Fahrenheit (0.75 C) above the 20th century global average of 60.1 F (15.6 C).

The Global Day of Action (or GDA) is the collective name (nazwa zbiorowa) given to all the organisations, groups and individuals around the world who come together for the Global Day of Action on climate. It has occurred every year since 2005 at the time of the annual United Nations Talks on climate change (the COP or “Conference of Parties” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC). People from all around the world have come together on the same day to demand urgent action on climate, and climate justice, from the governments of the world meeting at the annual climate talks. Obviously it’s not possible for thousands of people from all around the world to come together literally in the same place so the Global Day of Action has consisted of demonstrations and events all around the world on the same day – or as near as possible to that as circumstances allow.

Over 100 countries and even more organisations have already taken part in the GDA. Poland is one of these countries!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Everyone knows word “mama”, no matter what language you speak!

Posted on 14. Sep, 2014 by in Countries, Grammar, Polish Language, Vocabulary

There is a word, and only one, spoken the same way in nearly every language known to humankind. That word, of course, is “mama.”

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That’s me with my first baby daughter…:) I’m such a lucky mama!

“Mama” is one of the many words children use to refer to their mother. You see the same or similar word being used across various languages. When native English speaking children start talking, they start calling their mothers “mama”, “momma” or “mom”. In German, Russian, Greek, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese Romanian and Dutch mother is “mama”. In French it is “maman” and in Italian, Swedish and Norwegian it is “mamma”. Of course, pronunciation can vary a little, but they have the same sound of consecutive m’s and a’s.

What is the reason for this word to be similar across all these different languages? In linguistics “mama” and the other versions are formed with a sequence of sounds that are said to be easy to produce for children that are just beginning to babble. During language acquisition and specifically the babbling stage, children are experimenting with the different sounds they can make with their mouths and therefore produce nonsense sounds. The most convenient sounds are those that the baby can easily produce when beginning to learn a language. These simple sounds of babble are rendered when consonants with the sound /d/ or the bilabial /m/, /p/ and /b/ are followed by a simple open vowel /a/. This holds true for the words used for father, which are “papa”, “baba” or “dada.”

Here are some different words used to describe mother in Polish:

matka

mama

mamusia

mamunia

mamuś

mamuśka

mateczka

mateńka

matula

matusia

mamulka

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Have you heard about milk bars in Poland?

Posted on 03. Sep, 2014 by in Countries, food, Places to eat

Image by prizepony on Flickr.com

Image by prizepony on Flickr.com

Milk bars or bary mleczne in Polish were government-subsidized cafeterias (dotowane przez rząd stołówki) from Eastern Europe’s Communist days. These no-frills eateries were created in an effort to provide affordable, hearty meals for laborers whose companies had no canteen. Vegetarian, milk- and other dairy-based dishes were served because there was a surplus of these products and a scarcity of meat. Hence, the name “milk bar.”

A few still exist and are subsidized by the Polish government in major cities like Kraków and Warsaw, but they are few and far between, which is unfortunate because the food, while plain, can be filling, cheap and a blessing for “starving” students, artists, the elderly, homeless and others watching their pennies.

When visiting Poland, a milk bar is not to be missed. Kraków is said to be the birthplace of the bar mleczny, when Pod Bańką (Under the Milk Churn) opened on the main market square on May 30, 1948 in the townhouse now occupied by Szara Restaurant (Restauracja Szara). Originally, no hot dishes were served. Instead, this was the place to enjoy a .25-liter glass of milk with a straw (szklanka mleka ze słomką) .

As traditional restaurants became nationalized and many of them were forced to close, milk bars became increasingly popular and they sprang up across the country offering milk (mleko), milk soups (zupy mleczne), yogurt (jogurt), curd cheese (twaróg), omelets and flour-based dishes like pierogi (omlety i dania na bazie mąki, takie jak pierogi). By the mid-’60s, milk bars flourished and meals at them were often included in a worker’s salary. When things really became desperate under Communism, many of these eateries chained the cutlery to the tables to prevent theft, disposable dishware was and is still used, and salt and pepper is dispensed in plastic cups with a spoon.

These days, since meat is no longer rationed, many milk bars serve dishes like bigos, but a holdover from the old days are the no-nonsense elderly ladies, often in bib aprons and houseslippers, taking your order impatiently and gruffly, all adding to the milk-bar experience. With the collapse of Communism, many of these milk bars went bankrupt and closed (Wraz z upadkiem komunizmu, wiele z tych barów mlecznych zbankrutowało i zamknięte). But, if you look very hard, and ask around, you can still find some real jewels like Bar Górnik, Bar Targowy and Pod Temidą in Kraków, and Bar Mleczny Familijny, Leniwa Gospodyni and W Komitecie in Warsaw. But go early before the best dishes run out!:)

 Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)