Polish phrasebook

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Kurt Bauschardt
Polish (polski) is the official language of Poland, a country of 38.5 million people and is also used by some of the 10 million Polish diaspora around the world. It is understood and can be used for communication in the western parts of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. Polish is a Western Slavic language and the closest similar languages are those of Poland's neighbours: Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian. The first two are most easily understood by a speaker of Polish, even though they have somewhat different interpretations of the Latin alphabet.
The language is unique in that it retains the nasal sounds lost in other Slavic languages and uses a unique diacritic mark, an ogonek (a "little tail") attached to a and e to express them. It is also noted for its consonant clusters with similar-sounding affricates and fricatives, some of which may cause some serious pronunciation difficulties. On the other hand, there are only 8 vowels in Polish, (a, e, i, o, u ,y + nasals ą, ę) as compared to some 20 in RP English and the pronunciation follows a set of rules, so it can be read from the spelling of a word.
Like other Slavic languages, Polish is highly inflected and allows much discretion in its word order. For example, Ania kocha Jacka, Jacka kocha Ania, Ania Jacka kocha, etc. all translate to Annie loves Jack, a sentence that cannot be further reordered without changing the meaning. This may cause some confusion for speakers of positional languages such as English. Polish has seven cases, three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) in singular and two (virile and non-virile) in plural. There are three tenses (past/present/future) and 18 verb conjugation patterns so as you can see the grammar may be a little challenging.

Pronunciation guide

Phrase list

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