10 Essential Polish Phrases Every Expat Should Know
Before we look at some basic Polish words and phrases, here’s a little background to the language…
Polish is the official language of Poland but there are also large Polish speaking communities in the UK, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Belarus, Germany and Lithuania.
Due to its complex gender system, tricky pronunciation, and grammatical structuring, Polish is one of the more difficult languages to learn. However, there are some handy general rules, such as the stress of a word always being on the penultimate syllable. Also, in recent years Polish has borrowed notably from the English language, so while words like Komputer might be different you can generally discern what they are!
Furthermore, once you’ve learned Polish you’ll find it easier to pick up other West-Slavonic languages like Slovak and Czech.
Hello – Cześć
Goodbye – Do widzenia
Yes – Tak
No – Nie
Please – Proszę
Thank you – Dziekuje
My name is… – Nazywam się
Nice to meet you – Bardzo mi miło
How are you? – Jak sie masz?
Do you speak English? – Czy pan mówi po angielsku?
If you feel like you’ve got a handle on those terms you may want to start learning these other basic Polish words and phrases…
Good Morning – Dzien dobry
Good Night – Dobranoc
Where is the toilet? – Gdzie jest toaleta?
How much is it? – Ile to kosztuje?
I don’t understand – Nie rozumiem
Car – Samochód
Train – Pociąg
Plane – Samolot
Train Station – Dworzec kolejowy
Airport – Lotnisko
Left – Lewa
Right – Prawo
Bread – Chleb
Beer – Piwo
Wine – Wino
Juice – Sok
Waiter – Kelner
Waitress – Kelnerka
And then, of course, there are always Polish numbers to learn!
One – Jeden
Two – Dwa
Three – Trzy
Four – Cztery
Five – Pięć
Six – Sześć
Seven – Siedem
Eight – Osiem
Nine – Dziewięć
Ten – Dziesięć
If learning these basics has inspired you to really focus on becoming fluent in Polish you may find these tips helpful –
Break bad habits early on
When interacting with locals or native speakers encourage them to tell you whenever you make any mistakes in pronunciation or word usage. Once you’ve gotten into bad language habits it can be hard to break them, but by making native speakers correct you mistakes will lessen and your grasp of the language will improve more rapidly. Native speakers will also be able to help you pick up the slang or colloquial terms traditional language-learning aids usually lack.
Post-it note your possessions
Sticking post-it notes to generic objects might seem a bit nuts, but by labelling things you use all the time with their Polish names you’ll pick up new words every day. We recommend labelling them with their Polish names and the phonetic pronunciations.
For more top tips check out our next essential expat phrases post. The next language we’ll be discussing is Thai.