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Polish (język polski) is the native language of the Poles and has a rich history of being a lingua franca in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, there are about 45 million native speakers of Polish, and in addition to being the official language of Poland, it’s spoken by significant numbers of minority groups in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Large immigrant communities that speak this West Slavic language are also clustered in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Polish is one of the official languages of the European Union, and while the Polish alphabet is based on Latin script, the language is more closely related to Czech, Slovak, and Russian. Some borrowed English words that may sound familiar in Polish, but the language also includes additional letters that aren’t in the Latin alphabet, formed with diacritics to guide pronunciation. Today, Polish is the second most widely-spoken Slavic language and unites the Polish people, from the steps of Warsaw’s gothic cathedrals to the streets of the historic city of Kraków.
With over twenty-five years of experience, Rosetta Stone understands that learning a language is a journey and not a destination. That’s why our Polish language-learning program is built to teach the language and not just the words, scaling gradually with bite-sized, contextualized lessons that build upon what you already know to introduce new concepts and vocabulary.
Learn More About the Polish Language
One of the fascinating things about the Polish language is that it is widely-spoken and its status within Poland cements the country as the most linguistically homogeneous in Europe. More than 90% of Poland's citizens speak Polish as a first language and, while there are several regional dialects, most Polish speakers can easily understand one another.
Polish also derives a large amount of vocabulary directly from Latin, so familiarity with Latin roots will make the language easier to digest for beginners. There is also overlap between Polish and French, Hungarian, Czech, and Turkish words. However, because the language is highly inflected and has a subject-verb-object word order, it may feel more challenging to learn at first for English speakers.
One of the best ways to learn Polish basics is to start with the common words and phrases that are the building blocks of conversations. Rather than memorizing a massive list of vocabulary words, Rosetta Stone encourages language learners to practice common Polish conversational phrases in the context of the daily situations in which you might use them. From ordering in a restaurant to greeting someone at a local shop, your immersive Polish lessons are presented in an environment rich with audio and visual cues. This method, which Rosetta Stone refers to as Dynamic Immersion®, lets you stimulate deeper connections to Polish that will improve recall and build confidence.
Learning Polish Basics and Pronunciation
One of the fascinating things about the Polish language is that it is widely-spoken and its status within Poland cements the country as the most linguistically homogeneous in Europe. More than 90% of Poland's citizens speak Polish as a first language and, while there are several regional dialects, most Polish speakers can easily understand one another. Polish also derives a large amount of vocabulary directly from Latin, so familiarity with Latin roots will make the language easier to digest for beginners. There is also overlap between Polish and French, Hungarian, Czech, and Turkish words. However, because the language is highly inflected and has a subject-verb-object word order, it may feel more challenging to learn at first for English speakers. One of the best ways to learn Polish basics is to start with the common word
Before you can run, you have to walk and learning Polish definitely follows this adage. Language learning should begin with an understanding of Polish basics and sounds. Polish is not a tonal language, and pronunciation remains mostly consistent with words that usually place stress upon the second syllable.
With just a few exceptions, Polish is phonetic, meaning that most words are pronounced with sounds that reflect the way that they are spelled. For instance, once you understand how to pronounce the digraph cz in words like cześć (“hello”) or klucz (“a key”), Polish words will no longer feel like a stew of confusing consonants. As you focus on pronouncing individual letter sounds from the Polish alphabet as well as blends or digraphs, you’ll begin to feel confident speaking Polish out loud.
This is where Rosetta Stone’s method can transform your language learning. Our patented speech recognition engine TruAccent® fine-tunes your pronunciation by comparing your voice to that of native and non-native Polish speakers. Because Rosetta Stone believes the key to feeling confident speaking a language is to practice pronunciation daily, this feedback tool is embedded in every Polish lesson. As you progress in your language learning journey, you’ll continuously get feedback on your pronunciation and begin to feel confident speaking up for yourself in real-world conversations.
s and phrases that are the building blocks of conversations. Rather than memorizing a massive list of vocabulary words, Rosetta Stone encourages language learners to practice common Polish conversational phrases in the context of the daily situations in which you might use them. From ordering in a restaurant to greeting someone at a local shop, your immersive Polish lessons are presented in an environment rich with audio and visual cues. This method, which Rosetta Stone refers to as Dynamic Immersion®, lets you stimulate deeper connections to Polish that will improve recall and build confidence.
Learn how to ask "Could you recommend a local restaurant?" from a native Polish speaker.
Learning Polish for Beginners
Polish is a Slavic language, which is an entirely different branch of the Indo-European language tree. This means that the language’s roots are far from the Germanic origins of English, so—with the exception of modern words—there isn’t much crossover between English and Polish vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. While this may make Polish a bit of a challenge for beginners, it can also be a refreshingly clean slate for language learners, uncluttered by misleading false cognates.
1. Learn Polish words in context
The goal of language learning isn’t just about acquiring the words to say. It’s about learning how to thrive in real conversations with native speakers. Rosetta Stone understands that the best way to do this is to encourage learners to speak Polish and practice in immersive learning environments that mimic the situations you’ll encounter.
2. Don’t worry about word order or articles
The Polish language doesn’t have articles, those pesky identifiers that can make English grammar difficult for non-native speakers. It also doesn’t strictly adhere to word order, so you can be flexible with how you construct a sentence in Polish and be reasonably certain you’re still conveying the same meaning. Both of these features can make learning Polish basics a little easier for beginners.
3. Polish verb tenses are straightforward
Compared to English and a few other languages with complicated verb structures, Polish verb tenses are reassuringly simple. There are just five in total, although Poles would say there are just three tenses and two verb aspects. Learning to conjugate verbs comes with some other rules, but for beginners getting the hang of the basics of verb tenses will come with minimal confusion.
4. Speak Polish daily
The most significant thing you can do to advance your language learning is to practice speaking Polish every day. That’s why Rosetta Stone makes it easy for language learners to learn Polish anytime and anywhere with lessons that sync across devices with an award-winning mobile app. Rosetta Stone also offers live tutoring sessions where you can engage with native speakers who will help you build the confidence to speak up before you head out.
Immerse Yourself in the Polish Language
For the most part, how quickly you progress in learning Polish will be a factor of how much time you’re willing to spend studying and speaking the language. However, there are a few ways you can practice immersing yourself in Polish to accelerate your understanding and jumpstart your ability to recognize patterns within the language.
Play Polish video games
You may not be aware of this, but Poland has a fantastic reputation for producing amazing video games. Nearly 12 million Poles identify themselves as gamers and some of their most popular games like “The Witcher,” have become a global phenomenon.
Watch Polish TV and movies
Polish content has gained in popularity in recent years, and you can find a few TV shows and movies on streaming providers or YouTube. Turn the subtitles off and focus on picking up nuances of the language and culture that you may not have noticed yet in your Polish lessons.
Listen to Polish radio, podcasts, and audiobooks
Catch news and music by tuning into a Polish radio station like Jedynka, or download a popular Polish podcast. There may be some Polish audiobooks for more advanced learners that you can download or checkout from the library, but you can also use Rosetta Stone features like Stories that let you listen to native speakers online or offline.
Explore Polish food
Polish food has a lot more to offer than perogies. From robust stews and soups like rosol, to cabbage dishes like gołąbki and bigos, cooking up some traditional Polish food in your kitchen is a tasty way to immerse yourself in the language and culture of Poland.
Benefits of Learning Polish
What makes learning Polish an attractive language? Try a few of these benefits on for size.
Polish helps you learn other Slavic languages
As you’ll discover with other languages, it’s all in the family. Learning one language can help you branch out easily into other languages that share the same roots. From Russian to Czech, learning Polish can make other languages from the same region a little more accessible.
Build an appreciation for Polish culture
Whether it’s the popular heavy metal music scene in Poland or the delicious perogies that really appeal to you, learning the Polish language is also about connecting with the culture and its people.
Make travel to Poland easier
Knowing the language makes travel safer and more convenient, and that’s undoubtedly true in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. Poland’s breathtaking mountains and pristine forests remained behind the Iron Curtain for decades, and UNESCO has several world heritage sites in both Warsaw and Krakow that are a huge draw for both travelers and historians alike.
Being bilingual is good for your career
Of course, having another language on your resume is a good career builder, but knowing Polish can be an advantage especially for those doing business in central or Eastern Europe. The Polish economy is strong and expanding rapidly, so the language is in high demand.
Polish influence is on the rise
At more than 50 million speakers, the Polish language is the second most widely-spoken language in Europe and the second most spoken Slavic language after Russian. If you plan to study abroad or travel around Europe, knowing Polish will definitely come in handy.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Polish whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.