Tuesday, 24 July 2007


Currently, there are very few situations in which I am absolutely forced to converse in Polish. Communicate, yes, but ordering pretzels is not going to widen my vocabulary very far, once I've exhausted all the different flavour combinations. It's hard to remember new words from one lesson to the next, if they are a bit obscure (like chmura: cloud. It even sounds cloudy. Especially if you say it after eating cheese).

So I have decided to step up my offensive on the monolith that is the Polish language. Short of going to live on a farm in a remote village in Western Silesia and producing sheep's cheese for six months (one of the less helpful solutions which have been suggested to me), there must be other ways to practice.

In my immediate social environment, there are only two people with whom I Absolutely Have To communicate in Polish: one is the lady who comes to clean the office once a week and the other is the sacristan at the church where I go to practice the organ.
I am going to become their Best Friend. But how to expand our discourse beyond:
Hello; How are you? Where's the key? See you on Sunday; (and in the case of the the cleaning lady: Shall I go? No, no stay where you are; followed by my looking increasingly awkward while she mops around me)?

Fortunately, the language school has come to the rescue again. At the moment, we are studying clothes and shopping. Having sneaked a peek at the next part of the chapter, I noticed a section on how to compliment people on their appearance. It's time to bring out the big guns, and I have selected a few choice pieces of ammunition:
- Podoba mi się twój krawat
(I love your tie)
- Masz świetnie dżinsy!
(Great jeans!)
And, my personal favourite:
- Ładnie panu w tym garniturze
(Sir looks frightfully dashing in that suit)

With any luck, this should provide an ice-breaker, and may even lead onto a new stage: Talking about the Weather (or, in Poland, complaining about the weather).

And the miracle?

Leaving the office yesterday evening, I was amazed to see a tram on ul. Bastowa mysteriously grinding to a halt, miles from any traffic lights.
And then, like Moses parting the Red Sea, a nun quietly stepped out onto the zebra crossing...


Anonymous said...

Are trams supposed to stop for pedestrians?

Wouldn't it be very funny to dress up as a nun to see what happens! There could be a flash mob of nuns!!!!!!!!!! stopping all the trams in Krakow!

pinolona said...

worth a try, I'll be in KRK in August, let's do it!
(I don't think they are supposed to stop, no. In Brussels there are new signs up everywhere stating explicitly that the tram Will Not Stop if you walk in front of it)