Polish Language Blog

Słownik Motherlode Posted by on Jan 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

An important message from our favorite guest blogger – Barb from Canada:

Attention all learners of Polish! I have hit the słownik motherlode. Mr. Oscar Swan has created simply the greatest słownik ever for learners of the Polish language!! It is everything I have ever hoped for, wished for, longed for…

As we all know, Polish is a highly inflected language. Declension tables for nouns (rzeczowniki), adjectives (przymiotniki) and pronouns (zaimki) overflow my Polish learning file. Conjugation (koniugacja) tables for verbs (czasowniki) come in a close second. When using a traditional polish słownik, you are required to enter the “root” form of the word you are looking up. There are MANY times when I have absolutely no idea what the root form is. I also struggle to use all the correct diacritic marks. Is that spelled with a ż or a ź … you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.

Well, Mr. Swan (or is it Professor Swan?) has answered all my prayers. He has created a dictionary which will recognize ANY form of a noun, verb, adjective and diacritic marks can be suppressed. Amazing, right??

It gets better. A simple click on “View Tables” and the entire inflection table will be revealed. The first time I experimented with the site, my heart started racing and I thought I would have a heart attack (zawał) from all the excitement. This is simply the best słownik in the world. You can thank me and Anna later.

Here it is: The Most Amazing Słownik Ever

There’s more. Click on “biblioteka” or “gazeta” and prepare to be amazed. Prof. Swan has assembled a collection of Polish literature, short stories, daily newspapers and created an interactive Polish library. Every word is linked to the dictionary. If, during your on-line reading you stumble on a word you don’t know, simply click on it and the dictionary will reveal its meaning. No typing required!

In my opinion, a great place to start your reading adventure would be with Opowieści mojej żony by Mirosław Żuławski. It’s a collection of short stories which Prof. Swan has ranked as “intermediate” in difficulty.

I “heart” this man.

PS. Message from Anna – if this is not just the best way ever to start the New Year, I don’t know what is!
Barb, thank you so much for this. We “heart” you!!!

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  1. Lil:

    It’s sure looks like a great project, but… I wonder about the copyright/intellectual property rights to some of the more contremporary texts included in full in the library section.

  2. mrtom:

    I agree, the dictionary is impressive. I also liked the library and I hope it will be extended.
    I wonder how many people with no Polish roots are interested in learning the language.

  3. Gabriel:

    I HAVE TO agree. Co za dobry slownik! 😀

  4. Emma:

    Dziękuję bardzo Barb!!! (and Anna)

    This will greatly assist my “postanowienia noworoczne” to actually get to grips with Polish once and for all!!

    mrtom – I have NO Polish roots, nor any other particular reason to learn Polish! We have a number of Polish colleagues at work and they were the reason that I started but now I’m just learning for me as I find the language interesting (plus i’m a bit mad!!!)

  5. mrtom:

    Emma – thanks for your answer. That’s great that you like Polish. It’s the most beautiful language in the world (followed by English, of course 😉 ). I’m convinced it must be pretty hard to learn. I’m glad it’s my first language 😉

  6. Haroon:

    Is it real or am I dreaming?

  7. Haroon:

    Hi Anna,

    It’s a question that’s been bothering me for a while, it’s about kinship terminology, and since I have not idea how to contact so I’m leaving it as a comment here.

    What are the correct terms for extended family in Polish? For example in English a child of my first cousin’s would be my ‘first cousin once removed’ however in Pakistan (where I come from) they would simply be my nephew or niece. Same goes for my mum’s or dad’s first cousin, who in English again would be my ‘first cousin once removed’ but in the languages of the subcontinent they would simply be an ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’.

    How does the system work in Polish or other Slavonic languages? How does one resove tricky relationships like the above, or the following: grandma’s sister, brother’s wife, wife’s sister, or even wife’s sister’s husband. Languages from the subcontinent tend to be very specific about them.

    I’d be very glad to read from you. Thanks for the great blog.

  8. Anna Ikeda:

    Hi Haroon!
    There is a post about that already on the blog:

  9. Haroon:

    Thanks a lot Anna 🙂

  10. ag:

    Many thanks for the link to the dictionary, it’s great!

  11. Rick Henry:

    This is an EXCELLENT resource. I’ve had a hard time finding a decent dictionary in my local bookstore. This fills the void quite nicely!