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100 Polish Words in 10 Seconds Posted by on May 22, 2008 in Vocabulary

We’ve already established that Polish is not an easy language, and anyone who has ever tried to master the seven cases of nouns, pronouns and adjectives surely can agree.

So, imagine my surprise, when a friend announced he could teach 100 Polish words to anyone in less than 10 seconds. Anyone. Less that 10 seconds. Yeah, I really wanted to see this.

To prove that no magic was involved, I was assigned the task of locating a suitable test subject. We stopped for coffee (but since this was Belgium, it wasn’t really coffee, but hot chocolate and beer), and in one of the local watering holes, found a willing victim. I mean, a volunteer. Ready to learn 100 Polish words in 10 seconds.

The trick turned out to be surprisingly easy. So easy that in fact, you too, will learn 100 Polish words before you finish reading this story. I guarantee it!

Like most European languages, Polish assimilated a whole bunch of words from all kinds of foreign sources. Some from Yiddish, some from French, and the bulk of the load – from Latin. Luckily, the same Latin words also migrated into Spanish, and French, and English…

So, what’s the trick? Those Latin loan-words end in –tion in English and in a few other languages. In –cion in Spanish. In –tie in Dutch.

And in –cja (pronunciation “tsya”) in Polish.

For example:

Just remember that the English “c” becomes “k” in Polish. And “q” turns into “kw”. And voila! You just learned a whole bunch of words in one of the most difficult languages in the world.

Of course, there are exceptions to this method, but what would learning a new language be without exceptions, anyway. Right?

So, how did it go with our test Belgian guy? It took him full 15 seconds, only because he was on his fourth beer!

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Comments:

  1. Evan Quinlan:

    Wow, I didn’t know that all -tion words came from Latin! What a revelacja.

  2. cheveux:

    Because I have the opportunity to make a stay from time to time in Gdansk, I tough it would be interesting for me to learn the Polish language, in order to be more integrated amongst the polish people. That is the reason why I try to follow a Polish course, but my main problem is to master a minimum of the Grammar, which seems very difficult to understand for a French native…
    Maybe to work with you will make possible to improve my knowledge..Thank you in advance for your possible future ccoperation… Best regards. Yves Cheveux

  3. Anna:

    Yves!
    Thanks for stopping by! If you have any particular grammar questions, just let me know, and I’ll do my best to explain it for you. I promise I’ll make it as painless as possible 😉
    And I LOVE Gdansk! That’s my hometown! See, we’re practically friends already ^^

  4. aharrat brahim:

    hi,
    really this site is one of the best .
    as am concerned to learn polish , i find that this method ” 100 polish words in 10 sc ” is more important , because we change the old methods to find more eaziest ways to assimilate and to improve our knowledges .
    so thank you very much foryour great services.
    */* i am from morocco .

  5. helen:

    what a fantastic blog page – so interesting. we are going to Poland for the third time this year, this time to Mragowo (Swidnica in 2004 and 2006). In our languages department at school we had Mr Gregorowicz, a lovely man, but he was busy teaching the pupils!! Glad to have found this, this will help and answer all the questions I wanted to ask Tomasz. Bardzo Dienkuje. Forgive any mistakes

  6. m heery:

    hi,.,i know lots of polish guys and the all speak some english, but i asked them ALL to tell me or help me as i plan to go holidays to poland, but not one of them were of any help,. i have helped these guys get jobs in irleand and thier wives or girlfriends as well.,i kep asking about food or waht beach resort is best or what city is best for al around fun,..to be honest i decided to go to kenya at least they speak english and are more hospitable,..mike

  7. Anna:

    Helen!
    super! Mrągowo is great! I need to look up if they still have the Piknik Country music festival there. I used to make the trek for that every year from Poland back in the days! Oh the memories… I think a post about Mrągowo is in order!

    Mike,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences. But you know what? Sometimes Polish people abroad are a bit ashamed to admit how little they know about their native land. I’m NOT joking!
    So, tell me what you want to know, and I’ll do my best to help you out! Poland is a great place to go on vacation. And of course, I will use my subliminal, psychic powers to convince you to visit the most beautiful city there – Gdańsk. Forget Kraków! Gdańsk is where it’s at! 😉

  8. m heery:

    oh am goign to kenya now,.as i say these guys here were so unhelpful as i was so curious to see auswich and places that were famous,.yesterday i help 2 young guys aged 19 to chrge their battery on the motor bike the bought , but i asked the older guys to obilge me and i was shocked they wre not interested helping the young guys.,in other words not very obliging to help the youger folk.,,.maybe its me thats wrong,.but i help most of them with getiign jobs and tax problems but it sure is not reciprocated ,.any no worreis,.bye mike

  9. Guy:

    Hi Anna,

    I’m from Belgium 🙂 … I’m ready to learn these 100 Polish words in 10 sec. Where I can find them ?
    🙂

    Great blog !
    Guy

  10. Anderson Fleming:

    Nice one!

    I am interested in fast learning of vocabulary (can’t beat 100 words in 10 seconds though, although I memorize about 100 words in any language in about 40 minutes…), and was wondering if you have come across mnemonics for Polish words and/or grammar? I haven’t studied Polish yet, but it’s on my list.

  11. m heery:

    i just do not know about polish people,. i need a guy to work for me next week so i texted my polish so called friend and asked him to ask his mate who i know maybe free . all his help was GO ASK HIM UR SELF, even though the share the same house and he is datign his sister, he sure ebats me their moodiness,.we ahve a polish girl working 3 night in our biggest pub in tonw and now noone goes there , all she has to do is say hi may i help ,.but she was great in the beginning,. i just wonder about them,.mike

  12. Penny Whitmer:

    How do I pronounce the last name “Bottge” ?

  13. carlo:

    give me a 100 words end with ing

  14. yajvendra:

    really a nice blog .I have started learning polish few days back .I am a person with a technical background and i feel great to see that in literation also we can use logic if we are keen observer of things 🙂 thxs for such a nice help 🙂

  15. Danielle Fabin:

    i am polish and i live in pennsylvania in the us. and my papa’s dad came from poland 2 pennsylvania on a boat. and we dont speak polish but i learnd how to from this website and now i teach my family how to speak it. and im only 15

  16. Ola:

    To my suprise, there are some people that want to learn my native language, meaning Polish. I’ve never thought that someone would find it interesting and useful but you guys did! Actually I know four foreign languages and I avoid as complicated ones as Polish. What I mean by that is almost every part of the speech in Polish is inflexional. Additionally there are different grammar forms for genders as well. But dont give up please. If you want some help with your Polish, just mail me karisha@wp.pl.

    good luck!
    Powodzenia!

  17. Mr.Pwn:

    LOL… I sorta understand but C is not pronounced k. C is Ts but if its Ć then its Ch so im not sure what you mean by C becomes k. And You were right about the Q thing tho 😛 so its
    Informaseya
    staseya
    Educaseya
    Thats the pronounciantion 🙂

  18. Natalka (Natalie):

    I am Natalka,Natalia,or Natalie!
    I am Canadian/Polish.I live in Polska/Poland.
    GO POLSKA GO! Yup!~

  19. Smyrna:

    Hello!

    I’m Smyrna from India. In my recent days i visited Poland. That was my first trip to Poland. And i found Polish language to be really very hard to hear and learn. It seemed to be very tedious for us to understand even a single word. But i wanto tell that i’m really interested in learning Polish. My friends in Poland are helping me in learning Polish- but still i want to learn it perfect. I just know two languages- tamil and English. In addition i really wanto learn Polish.

    And this blog is really really working out in learning the Polish language. In all your articles you have provided with polish sentences and their translation. Even though we learn the phonetics and accents in the beginning i’m not able to cope up with the pronounciation still. Could you please help me in this case? I would be grateful to you, if you could help me with this problem.

    Thank you!

  20. marta:

    I am polish so this was not that hard

  21. david:

    Yes, interesting. I am using many methods all at the same time to learn two new languages, Polish and Hungarian. My progress is disppointing but in the end I am learning some words and phrases. I find it helpful also to cross translate between polish and hungarian

  22. Kelsi Monroe:

    Very interesting details you have mentioned , thanks for posting . “The surest way to get rid of a bore is to lend money to him.” by Paul Louis Courier.