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Today/Dzisiaj widzę świat w różowych kolorach:))))

Posted on 13. Apr, 2014 by in Grammar, Phrases

If I said to you, “She’s pulling my leg”, you wouldn’t immediately think a female companion of mine was tugging on my limbs, or, if before a particularly testing encounter, I wished you would “break a leg”, that I was being unnecessarily and uncharacteristically (I promise) malicious. That’s because we are speaking in idioms, short phrasal combinations of words that, over time, have gained a figurative meaning in English, and there is no shortage of them in Polish either.

Just like English, Polish idioms have evolved to have their own meaning, and while many of these reflect the meaning of an English idiom, and many even sound the same, there are also a whole host of unique and new idioms in the Polish language. Not only can they be great fun to learn, but using them can give your speaking a real twist that will impress the native speaker no end. In fact, language teachers often use idioms as an indicator of an advanced language level in their students.

Below are a list of common (and some not so common) Polish idioms, their literal translations (in []), their closest English counterpart (if there is one!), and, if it might be needed, a hint towards their meaning.

Jak sobie pościelisz, tak się wyśpisz. [The way you made your bed is the way you will sleep in it] (You made your bed now lie in it, you reap what you sew).

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Nudne jak flaki z olejem. [Dull as tripe in oil] (Dull as dishwater): Meaning something is extremely boring.

Jasne jak słońce. [Clear as the sun] (In English we could say either ‘Clear as day’ or ‘crystal clear’).

Kopnąć w kalendarz. [Kick the calendar] (Kick the bucket).

Jest to cnota i cnotami trzymać język za zębami. [The best virtue among all virtues is to keep one’s tongue behind one’s teeth] (Silence is golden).

Darowanemu koniowi w zęby się nie zagląda [Don’t check the teeth of a horse you received as a gift] (Don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth; be happy, no matter what your gift was).

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Zrobili mnie w konia [I was made into a horse] (I was taken for a ride)

Zimny jak głaz. [As cold as stone] (As cold as a cucumber)

Złej baletnicy przeszkadza rąbek u spódnicy. [A bad ballerina blames the hem of her skirt] (A bad workman always blames his tools)

Nie wywołuj wilka z lasu. [Do not call the wolf from the forest] (Let sleeping dogs lie)

Widzieć świat w różowych okularach. [See everything in bright colours] (Always look on the bright side of life)

Tonący brzytwy się chwyta. [A drowning man clutches at a cut-throat razor] (The drowning man clutches at straws)

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Porywać się z motyką na słońce. [To jump at the sun with a hoe] (To bite off more than you can chew)

Raz na Ruski rok. [Once in a Russian year] (Once in a blue moon, or once in a while)

It is all very well learning these by heart, but it’s also important to understand where and when they are appropriate. Imagine using an idiom like ‘kick the bucket’ during a funeral speech in English; it definitely wouldn’t go down too well.

One good way I have found to practice these with close Polish speaking friends, who, when you say something out of place or inappropriate, will usually find the whole thing fantastically amusing.

What is your favorite idiom? We can see if there is possibly one that people like the most? Share it with us in comments below!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

“Palace Stairs” back in Poland!

Posted on 05. Apr, 2014 by in Arts, History

Today a little bit of current Polish news! Another work of art returns to its rightful owner!Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego), a valuable Francesco Guardi painting looted during World War II has been safely returned to the National Museum in Warsaw.

schody_palacowe_guardiegoWe all know this is just a fraction of Poland’s war-time art losses. It is estimated that during WW II Poland lost about half a million works of art and that has successfully restituted several dozen in the last few years.

The painting titled “The Courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale with the Scala Dei Giganti, seen through the Arco Foscari” (Dziedziniec Pałacu Dożów z Scala Dei Giganti, postrzegane przez Arco Foscari) known as ‘Palace stairs’ (Schody pałacowe) was looted from the National Museum in Warsaw in 1939.

The painting was previously on display in the National Gallery in Stuttgart. On 31st March 2014, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski received the painting from his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Berlin.

From 1949, Francesco Guardi’s painting was mentioned in Ministry publications presenting cultural goods exported from Poland between 1939-45. It was registered in the database of objects lost to plundering in WWII maintained by the Ministry of Culture .

In 2010, the Department of Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture prepared a restitution request, which was filed by the National Museum in Warsaw – the pre-war owner of the image.

Francesco Guardi’s Palace Stairs is an oil painting measuring 32.8 x 25.8cm. On 13th March, 1925 it was bought by the National Museum in Warsaw from Leon Kranc, a collector. Until the outbreak of World War II, the work was exhibited in the museum building at 15 Podwale Street. In the summer of 1939, in the face of impending war, the painting was hidden in the basement of the Museum. Shortly after the occupation of Warsaw, German forces began systematically requisitioning and exporting cultural goods.

Based on documents found in the German archives, the painting was transferred to the cultural goods repository in Wiesbaden on 24th December, 1945, and then to the Central Collecting Point in Munich. Later on, the canvas went to the University of Heidelberg as an object of unknown origin. In 1980, Palace Stairs was deposited in the Kurpfalzsche Museum in Heidelberg, and then to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, where it remained until recently.

The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage maintains the national database of war losses, which now includes nearly 63 thousand paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The list include works by artists such as Rubens, Rembrant, Durer, Wyspiański and Matejko.

To this day, thanks to the efforts of the Ministry, 26 objects have been returned to Poland, including Aleksander Gierymski’s “Żydówka z pomarańczami”, and Julian Fałat’s “Przed Polowaniem w Rytwianach” and “Naganka na polowaniu w Naświeżu”, among others.

The Ministry is currently working to regain 46 objects.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Prima Aprillis!

Posted on 01. Apr, 2014 by in Calendar, Countries, Holidays

april-fools-day-wallpaper-11April Fools’ Day is called as Prima Aprillis in Poland. It is celebrated on April 1st.

The traditions and the customs are followed as same as other countries. It is a day full of jokes and fun for the people of Poland. They plan for huge hoax stories to fool the media, public institutions and government by fooling them until the situation gets more serious. People love to play pranks on their friends, relatives and also on strangers.

In addition to being a day of pranks, April Fools Day celebrations often involve dressing up in costumes (przebieranie się). The traditions and the customs are followed as same as other countries. It is a day full of jokes and fun for the people of Poland. They plan for huge hoax stories to fool the media, public institutions and government by fooling them until the situation gets more serious. People love to play pranks on their friends, relatives and also on strangers.

April Fools Day in Poland is largely a holiday for children, but adults also get in on the fun. In recent years, Polish media has also taken part in the April Fools Day celebrations.

Poland’s top vodka producer goes non-alcoholic! Poland Today ran an exclusive news story telling of how the country’s “alcohol market is set to undergo a dramatic shake-up by Easter” with a new non-alcoholic vodka.

“The government is likely to be amongst the first to place an order. According to government alcohol policy adviser Andreas Niemakac, the Prime Minister is behind the initiative to reduce occurrences of embarrassing episodes at state functions, fuelled by over-enthusiastic imbibing of the nation’s favourite spirit.”

“‘It’s not only the Polish dignitaries” said Mr Niemakac. ‘Foreign VIP’s, less used to drinking vodka, can sometimes over-indulge. The ambassador of a leading EU country once ended up standing on the table singing ‘You’ll never walk alone’ with his trousers on his head’.”

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)