Polish Language Blog

The Mythical Polish Plumber Posted by on Jun 16, 2008 in Culture

My favorite politician, Nicholas Sarkozy went to Poland a few weeks ago and chatted with the Polish honchos in charge, namely, with one of the ducks – Lech Kaczyński. (The surname “Kaczyński” comes from the word “kaczka” which means “a duck” in English.)

While in Poland, my favorite politician made the announcement of opening the French job market to the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004. And that also includes Poland.

This immediately made me think of the mythical Polish plumber. You see, the French are very afraid of Polish plumbers. Not sure exactly why. Maybe they have a phobia of Slavic men brandishing pipes and plungers. But when Poland joined the EU, there was much concern in France over Polish plumbers heading west.

Unfortunately, the French forgot that their difficult language is not as popular among Slavic plumbers as it used to be, and worried needlessly. The plumbers spoke mostly English and went to Ireland and the UK instead.

True, Poland always had strong historical ties with France, but after the fall of communism those ties have been shifting towards English speaking countries. And Polish plumbers were not stupid, they read the newspapers, listened to the news and had no intention of going to France in the first place.

This French fear of Polish plumbers was exploited by the Polish National Tourism Office a couple of years ago with this hilarious ad:

Translation: I’m staying in Poland. Come on over!

The model in the photo is indeed Polish, his name is Piotr Adamski, and isn’t he just adorable?

But now, starting July 1, Polish plumbers can go and fix pipes in the Land of Frog Eaters.
I wonder what kind of advertising campaign this turn of events will inspire.

Today’s word:

plumber = hydraulik (comes from the Greek words for “water” and “pipes”. Simple, isn’t it?)

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  1. Ai:

    Hi Anna, tks for visiting my blog. Anyhoo, I had fun reading this polish plumber entry. My hubby told me about this story before but u made it more clear to me the whole thing.

    pretty nice blog here.

  2. Anna:

    If you have any questions about Polish, or what not, just ask! I know how impatient husbands can be when it comes to explaining things 😉

  3. Tom Maholski:

    I’m a third generation American from Polish decent. As most of my group, I know very little Polish. But I know a lot about Polish food. I’ve studied Russian and German, but I’ve never been able to find material to study Polish. A podcast would be a big help.

  4. Thomas Westcott:

    Anna, ‘Hydraulik’ is another word that is a false friend. For me hydraulics is fluid power using pressurized oil as a means of transmitting the power.

    Just out of curiosity, how rigidly are the crafts separated on a construction site? If a Polish plumber was installing a whirlpool bathtub, Does he have to have an electrician hookup the electrical wiring?

    Could you please send me your email address whereby one could send you ideas about articles for your blog. Thanks.

  5. dallas plumbers:

    I read your blog and I feel that the information about “The Mythical Polish Plumber” share here it’s nice…

    thanks for sharing with us …

  6. geffmars:

    Nice Blog.

    Thanks for sharing with us

  7. Denver Plumber:

    Ho ho ho — delightful story!

    This one is more a joke about the French than the Polish. I’m just glad that all those hardworking Polish plumbers can now go make an honest living in a place where they can get semi-decent wine.

  8. fresno plumber:

    It is very well information about polish plumber. All people want always to know all about things that you have been described here. It is very valuable that is very nice post! I will bookmark this blog as i have fresno plumber business.

  9. Plumbers, plumber service, plumbing problems, find a plumber, water leaks, drain problems:

    Hi Anna,
    Cool Post, My first contractor flaked out and never gave me an estimate after I spent hours explaining to the plumber and electrician what I wanted done. Now I am trying to get the plumber and electrician’s estimates and have them lined up to work on a specific date. “Professional courtesy” because the bid was under the flakey contractor has impeded the process. I want to save the “surcharge” my contractor would charge and just hire the plumber and electrician by myself. Why is this so hard? What is the secret code to get this done??!! I want to save myself the money, especially since the bids are already done and they know what I want/need done!
    Catch you again soon!