Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I have had enough of this język polski.

I have had enough of never being right and failing on a daily basis.

I am frustrated with studying intensively for five months only to find that - instead of moving up to the next level - I am simply moving up 'a bit higher in the same level'.

I am tired of feeling inferior and trying to suppress my complexes (does that word even mean what I think it means any more?) about my pronunciation and my inability to express myself, because there are More Important Things Than That.

There are things I am good at! There are! There are! Really! I have a value as a person!

Why am I still swimming against the tide/running up the down escalator/banging my head against the same brick wall over and over again?

(and don't even get me started on interpreting. Don't go there. I mean it.)


Anonymous said...

No! No! Step away from the ledge..

Your journey and story is REALLY inspirational. Don't let this setback negate all the great work you have done.

I know it is really hard. Damn stupid language. Perhaps you have just plateaued (interesting combination of vowels) for a bit. Please don't get discouraged.

It's people like you that keep making me want to keep plugging away at improving my Polish so that I don't sound like a total dimwit when I come to visit in late summer.



Anonymous said...


why don't you find some nice polish boyfriend to practice the language every day?

expateek said...

Hate to break it to ya, but the plural of "complex" is, unfortunately, "complexi". Tut tut.

Don't let it give you a complex, though. That would just be silly.

Seriously, you're doing a fine job. Polish is just fiendishly difficult.

baduin said...

Polish pronunciation is rather difficult. English seems designed to separate classes, and Polish to detect foreigners.

BTW, in my practice the best way to learn language is simply to read books. That way you will learn vocabulary, orthography and get a feel for grammar - and learning grammar rules only is not enough.

Fortunately, Polish has a rather interesting literature, which is mostly untranslated, and probably untranslatable, so you get some benefit from all that learning.

For example:

Bartek Usniacki said...

chin up girl!

Polish is indeed one of the most difficult languages. After 21 years of living in Poland (which is all my life) I also sometimes have problems with expressing myself.

Hold off your inhibitions, take a few days break (I know it sounds ridiculously) and cool off - make that one step back to bounce back and make two steps forward.

don't worry, it'll get better with time...

Anonymous said...

hormonal need some Vodka.

Michael Dembinski said...

"Quitters never win and winners never quit" er... "Failing to plan is planning to fail"... er... "The word ''zrezygnować' is not in my dictionary"... I'm sure there's some profound bon mot for the situation. But given the progress, stick with it. You are a remarkable woman given what you've achieved. I salute you for it.

Norman said...

"Why am I still swimming against (...)?". I don't know, who said that, but i believe it's true: "only healthy fish swimms against..."

Norman said...

Pino, the fun thing is, i put off for days answer for Your comment in ice-cream post:
"Dobrze Ci idzie - przynajmniej podczas pisania"

Bartek Usniacki said...

I knew the saying as "if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail" - a student's motto before examinations...

Cheer up, so many bolstering comments can't be groundless. And check out Bartek's translation-babble - you're not the only one in a fix ;)

Sylwia said...

Pino, may I congratulate you on your perfect usage of język polski? If you said "Rezygnuję" I'd be worried, but since you said "Zrezygnuję" that means you're just stressed before the exams. A normal occurrence at this time of year.

You're doing really well. I'm impressed.

pinolona said...

Oh gosh, people write nice things and then I feel guilty for writing a self-indulgent whinge post instead of some decent entertainment!

Basia, thanks for the support: keep going with the study! You have family here and a good reason to be wrestling with the language!

Anon: been there, done that, given back the T-shirt. I agree though, the method is almost foolproof.

Expateek: gahhhhh now my English is going too...

Baduin: In my experience, it kind of depends on the book. I found contemporary literature with a high percentage of dialogue was really helpful in French (for one thing, it helped to see things written down that I was hearing all the time in company). I think talking to native speakers is of major importance, and that's an area where I'm falling down at the moment.
Literature post to come. Soon.

pinolona said...

Bartek: thanks... I saw your translation post, there are some interesting things there. Will come back to that one!

Anon: tell me about it. Time to finish the palinka next to the fridge.

Michael: thanks for the bons mots: can I have some in Polish for my collection?? ;)

Norman, thanks, only when writing, I check everything on google first, so I at least know if I'm going to make a mistake I'm not going to be the only one!

Sywia: oh gosh, what's the difference between 'rezygnuje' and 'zrezygnuje' then?? I thought it was just imperfective/perfective??
Disclaimer, any resemblance to real Polish in this blog is entirely coincidental...

Norman said...

pino, i might be not good at describing the diffs, as languages is definitely not my hometown, but i will try.
Imperfective/perfective is rezygnowałem/zrezygnowałem. "Rezygnuję" is present imperfect and "zrezygnuję" is future perfect (and for future continous "będę rezygnował/rezygnowała").
Back to Your writing. The only accusation i have is Your odmiana rzeczowników. But... hey! I found my self two days ago looking up - słownik ortograficzny - how do "cecha" answers questions komu?/czemu? So this is the thing many Poles have problems with... ;]

peixote said...

Perhaps you will find consolation in the thought that maybe women are just not meant to enage in the more complicated things in life?

Why, there are so many perfectly fine (and easy) activities, like knitting or taking care of the garden.

pinolona said...

No, you're right, I should give up running my own business and speaking foreign languages, get myself a nice boyfriend in the country, get pregnant and learn to bake pierogi. Why didn't I think of that before?!

ps knitting is actually really complicated: bloody knit one, perl two, drop twelve...

pinolona said...

Norman: thanks, that's what I thought: 'rezygnuję' means I'm in the process of giving up, while 'zrezygnuję' means I'm about to give up (?). I wondered whether there was some special extra connotation after Sylwia's comment (if you haven't read Sylwia's blog it's well worth it, lots of interesting linguistic nuances :/

I agree with you on the odmiana rzeczowników, bloody końcówki, they get me every time...

Anonymous said...


if you need some nativespeaker for free I am at your service.