100 Polish Words in 10 Seconds Posted by Anna 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.
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?
- pronunciation – wymowa
So, how did it go with our test Belgian guy? It took him full 15 seconds, only because he was on his fourth beer!