How to Say ‘You’re Welcome!’ in Polish

Posted on 04. Oct, 2008 by in Culture, Vocabulary

Like I said in the comments to the previous post, it’s official, I have the best readers ever! Thank you so much for all your kind words, and even more – for your suggestions.

Today’s post is inspired by a comment made by Thomas in the post below. Remember his problems with finding the Polish equivalent to “you’re welcome”? I couldn’t believe what kind of nonsense he found in his dictionary, and so I decided to do some googling of my own and see what I could come up with.

While there are quite a few free on-line dictionaries (which in my opinion are a better choice than on-line translators), the one that I like the best is Ling.pl.
It’s not just one dictionary, what Ling does is to compile answers to a query from every source in its database. Or at least that’s how I think it works.
Knowing Polish is not really necessary to use the service. Just type a word in (use the Polish letters they show you if it’s a Polish word), hit enter and then waddle through the multitude of results. From what I’ve seen, Ling also includes definitions from the dictionary that Thomas had mentioned – Ectaco, which personally, I have found to be less than perfect, to put it gently. Very gently.

So how do we say “you’re welcome!” in Polish? There are a couple of ways to do it. Ling (if you have the patience to read through the definitions after you punch in “welcome” into the search box) gives these two:

Nie ma za co means something like “nothing to it” or “that’s nothing.”
Proszę bardzo is the same as “please.”

Both are used to answer when somebody’s thanking you, like this:

  • - Dziekuję bardzo! – Thank you so much!
  • - Nie ma za co. – You’re welcome! (audio)

Then I wanted to find out if one of these phrases was more popular than the other, and so yesterday, I got on the phone and called ten random businesses and administrative offices in Warsaw and beyond, and asked a bunch of idiotic (but still plausible questions). I wanted the people to spend some time on looking for an answer to give me a reason to thank them profusely and then listen to their responses. Apart from one very rude woman at a certain institution of higher learning in Warsaw, which because I’m such a great gal, shall remain nameless, who hung up on me almost immediately, everybody was extremely nice and helpful.

They patiently searched for a solution to my imaginary problem and when I finally showered them with a slew of “dziekuję bardzo”, five responded with “nie ma za co”, two said “proszę bardzo”, one said “nie ma sprawy” (no problem) and one – “z przyjemnością” (with pleasure).

So, the conclusions?
Poles are very conscientious when it comes to acknowledging somebody’s thanks and use a variety of expressions to do. And I definitely don’t like the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Their loss, because I am seriously considering going back to school. For real.

On the other hand, the good ladies at the University of Warsaw were super patient and super polite. I spoke to two, one said “nie ma za co” and the other – “proszę bardzo”. So there you have it.

photo: urbanlegend

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14 Responses to “How to Say ‘You’re Welcome!’ in Polish”

  1. michael 5 October 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Thanks for the dictionary link. I am afraid it still didn’t tell me what zakalec was :-( .

  2. Anna 6 October 2008 at 6:11 am #

    Hi Michael!
    I just searched for “zakalec” on Ling.pl and this is what came back:

    zakalec
    n masc C ciasto z ~cem sad cake.
    slack-baked cake/bread

    In other words (and here Anna’s talking) a really nasty cake. ;)

  3. Kenia 8 October 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    Hi Anna!
    How many languages do you know?! I’m a reader of your swedish blog and now I’ve seen that you also have the polish one! It’s awesome!!
    I’m a fan of languages too, but I just know English, Spanish and French so far, swedish is on it’s way =)
    You’re amazing!!

    Cheers,

    Kenia

  4. Anna 8 October 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi Kenia! :)
    Spanish and French? Whoa! French I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot Pole (or a Hungarian, for that matter). THAT is one difficult language!
    So we both know 3 languages well, and are learning others, right? Which means we are BOTH amazing, right? ;)

  5. thePOLSKIblog 8 October 2008 at 6:44 pm #

    Zakalec IS a very bad cake, one which didn’t really work…. You wouldn’t serve it to your guests at your birthday party.

    Check out more Polish language tips at http://www.thepolskiblog.co.uk – hopefully they’ll complement Anna’s tips.

  6. Kenia 9 October 2008 at 9:20 am #

    Hi Anna!

    Oh yes, French is a tough language, but it’s easier when your own language is Spanish, like in my case, the grammar is very similar. I would never dare to learn those languages with another alphabet and FINNISH either, I’m not that courageous!! =D

    Cheers

  7. michael 9 October 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    Szanowna Pani!:-)(Anna)

    Have you ever eaten zakalec and what is it like?

    Michael

  8. Anna 10 October 2008 at 6:19 am #

    Hi Michael!
    You crack me up! LOL! No, Szanowna Pani Anna has never eaten zakalec. Zakalec was not meant to be eaten by women. Women normally throw zakalec out and start baking a new cake. However, if zakalec is served to a man, he must bite into it, smile, look happy and while trying to suppress his gag reflex say “oh, honey, this cake is wonderful!”
    Are we clear? ;)

  9. Michael 10 October 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Zakalec is the name for a cake that didn’t turn out properly? One that has gone flat or is “sad”?

  10. Michael 10 October 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    would it be funny if i went into a polish shop and asked if they had any zakalec?!!!

  11. Fernando 10 January 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Witaj,
    Mam na imię Fernando. Jestem hiszpański. Moja żona jest po polskiej i zakochali się w niej, I fell in love with Polska, polską żywność i polskich obyczajów. Uwielbiam podróże również tam. Moja żona jest z Olsztyna. Ja jestem wciąż trudny do nauki języka polskiego. To jest bardzo trudnym językiem. Moja gramatyka jest złe, ale staram =)

    Cieszę się, że znalezienie tego bloga.

  12. Carlos Vigo 16 September 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    That’s exactly the answer i was looking for. Muchas gracias!!!

  13. Do$a 19 September 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    hi hi :)

    zakalec… Ja bardzo lubię zakalce, takie surowe ciasto jest dobre(oczywiście dla niektórych), ale potem brzuch boli… :p
    Strasznie podoba mi się Twój blog, Kasiu ;***
    Będę go czasami odwiedzać i sprawdzać jakieś nowości i komentować-ma się rozumieć!
    Rzeczywiście język polski jest bardzo trudny dla obcokrajowca. W szczególności te odmiany przez osoby i przypadki.My Polacy mamy to jakby we krwi(chociaż małe dzieci przez długi czas mylą osoby-to jest zabawne!).

    PS.Czy nic się nie stanie jak będę pisać po polsku? Angielski mi raczej średnio wychodzi i nie chcę się zbytnio zbłaźnić ;P

    Naprawdę świetny blog ;*

  14. upholstery brisbane 14 September 2011 at 10:13 am #

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