The Polish language is not an easy language to learn, but it is great fun to learn in real-life situations. Making the effort to learn some of the Polish languages will not only boost you above the average tourist in the locals’ eyes, but it can also be an amazingly fruitful and fun experience in itself.
The Polish language uses the Latin alphabet as in English; however, you will find a few extra letters, formed from Latin letters but with an additional slash or a hook. A few letters you won’t find are q, v, and x. The only exception to this rule are direct translations from other languages and, of course, slang and marketing language.
The Polish language is terribly difficult to master; however, learning a few key phrases will definitely smooth your time in Cracow. Crucial to achieving this will be learning how to pronounce each letter or combination of letters, especially those which don’t exist in your alphabet. Many letters represent the same sounds as they do in English. Unlike the English alphabet with 26 letters, the Polish alphabet has 32 letters. Polish consonants, vowels, and diphthongs are sometimes really hard to comprehend and at times you will not believe that the word/phrase and the pronunciation match.
Polish is a tough language. Unlike English, Polish is pronounced phonetically, any first attempts at which will have you sounding like you are whispering, gargling and choking simultaneously. Once you understand where to break the word, and that the second-to-last syllable is always stressed, you will do okay by keeping the following in mind.
Basic Polish Language:
Yes – Tak (tak)
No – Nie (n’yeh)
OK – Dobrze (‘dough’ plus a ‘b’ then ‘she’)
Please – Proszę (prrosheh)
Thank you – Dziękuję (diyen’kooyeh)
Thank you very much – Dziękuję bardzo (diyen’kooyeh barrdzo)
Hello – Dzień dobry (diyen dobrri)
Hi – Cześć (chesh’tch)
Good morning – Dzień dobry (diyen dobrri)
Good afternoon – Dzień dobry (diyen dobrri)
Good evening – Dobry wieczór (dobrri v-yechoorr)
Good night – Dobranoc (dobrranots)
Good Bye – Do widzenia (do vee-dzen’ya)
Excuse me – Przepraszam (pshe-prrasham)
Never Mind – Nie szkodzi (n-ye shkodjee)
Where is the toilet? – Gdzie jest toaleta? (g-jeh yest twa-leta)
I don’t speak much Polish – Nie mówię dobrze po polsku. (n’yeh moovyeh dobzheh po polskoo)
For those who wish to get more involved, there are a number of excellent language schools and Polish courses for foreigners, many of them providing translation services, which may be necessary if you plan to stay any length of time in the city.
It is making itself known as a world tourist destination, many language schools in Cracow offer Polish language courses. For those who are planning to stay a little longer in Cracow, enrolling in a language school will prove to be very useful, particularly to those who are in the city to do business or to study.
If you plan on taking lessons, these are generally available either as part of a class or privately. Cracow is a university city, with a great academic tradition, and is filled with language schools to choose from, many of which are loaded up with foreign students during the summer months. There are great deals to be made, and prices are extremely competitive compared to the rest of Europe. Many students come to Cracow to learn languages other than Polish, as the teaching, in general, is of a high standard, the accommodation is good value, and the city itself is an excellent attraction, with plenty of things for students to do in the night.
Accent School of Polish – Located at 10 Kącik Street, Cracow. Accent School offers a range of Summer Courses to suit all levels. These classes are complemented with explorations of Polish culture, touching on all kinds of fun topics.
British Council – Located at Rynek Głowny 6, Cracow. Situated in the medieval Gray Mansion on Main Market Square, The British Council, the world’s largest English language teaching organization, has a center in Cracow, where it is involved in cultural projects, teaching English and teacher training.
Gzegzolka School of Polish – ul. Sw. Tomasza 1, Cracow. A new language school uses methods by a renowned linguist and speech and language therapist from Cracow, to help pronounce those tricky Polish vowels.
Jagiellonian University School of Polish Language and Culture – Located at Garbarska 7A, Cracow. The Jagiellonian University School of Polish Language and Culture, part of the Center for Polish Language and Culture in the World within the Faculty of Polish Studies, organizes short-term individual courses, two-week intensive courses, one or two-semester non-intensive courses, and “Semester Abroad” as well as summer programs.
Maly Rynek – Maly Rynek 3, Cracow. This language school on the charming Little Square offers an excellent variety of courses including one-to-one and group lessons. There are plenty of languages to choose from English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese and Polish.
Prolog – Located at Bronowicka 37 Street, Cracow. It is one of the very best language schools in Cracow, Prolog enjoys an excellent reputation thanks to the quality of its teachers and teaching materials, some of which they have developed themselves in line with EU funding.
The International School of Cracow – Located at Lusina, Street SW. Floriana 57, Cracow. The International School of Krakow (ISK) is a non-profit private school that provides education to expatriates and Polish nationals.
Varia Polish Language Center – Michalowskiego 2/3 Street, Cracow. Varia Polish Language Center is anything but a traditional school – focusing on motivating students to success that grows and keeps on growing.