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Getting Started Learning Polish Words

written by: Stephanie Mojica • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/5/2012

Polish is one of the most popular Slavic languages in the world, second only to Russian. Mastering the specific sounds of any Slavic language can take time, but is well worth it if you live near, or plan to travel to a Polish speaking country. Start learning letters basic Polish here.

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    Polish is a Slavic language and spoken primarily by people in the European nation of Poland. There are a concentration of speakers in the United States, Canada, and other nations such as the United Kingdom. However, almost all native Polish speakers still live in Poland, and more than 97 percent of that country's population is fluent in the language. It is estimated that between 40 and 48 million people worldwide speak Polish.

    The alphabet and sound of Polish has some similarities to Russian. However, Polish is unlike many languages in that there are not as many regional differences from one part of the mother country to another region. In recent years, learning Polish has become more popular as tourism and commerce have opened in the formerly Communist nation. There are a number of free resources and ways to get started learning Polish words.

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    Polish Alphabet

    The first objective for any Polish language learner, whether you wish to learn just a few Polish words or become conversationally fluent in the language, is to get familiar with the Polish alphabet. Listening to the sounds is the only way to really be able to speak Polish, though those who might just want to be able to recognize signs during a trip may not want to devote hours to listening to the Polish alphabet. It is also important to remember there is no Q, V, or X in the Polish alphabet. There are several Polish ancestry sites that enable people to hear and read the Polish alphabet as well as basic Polish sounds.

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    Polish Greetings

    There are a number of ways to greet new friends and business associates in Polish. Those who would like to hear the pronunciation can register for the "Listen and Learn" section for free at Meetings and Greetings: Speak Polish.

    Hi: Cześć

    Bye: Cześć

    Good morning/good day/good afternoon: Dzień dobry

    Good evening: Dobry wieczór

    Goodbye: Do widzenia

    See you later: Do zobaczenia

    See you tomorrow: Do jutro

    Nice to meet you (to a man): Miło Pana

    Nice to meet you (to a woman): Milo Panią poznać

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    Polish Numbers

    Most college and high school language courses start with learning numbers, and an individual study effort of Polish words should include the same. Numbers are a great way to drill yourself in the basic building blocks of any language, and Polish numbers can be found online for free. You can register at Polish Numbers: Speak Polish Numbers to hear the actual numbers pronunciations for free. For those just getting started, the following is a selection of Polish words regarding numbers:

    0: zero

    1: jeden

    2: dwa

    3: trzy

    4: cztery

    5: pięć

    6: sześć

    7: siedem

    8: osiem

    9: dziewięć

    10: dziesięć

    11: jedenaście

    12: dwanaście

    13: trzynaście

    14: czternaście

    15: pietnaście

    16: szesnaście

    17: siedemnaście

    18: osiemnaście

    19: dziewiętnaście

    20: dwadzieścia

    100: sto

    1,000: tyśąc

    Million: milion

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    Cultural Background

    Poland has a rich culture that is filled with art, religion, and food and dates back more than 1,000 years. Popular Polish foods include sausages such as kielbasa and the meat-filled dough appetizer pyzy. Nobel Prize winning authors such as the poet Czesław Miłosz are natives of Poland, a nation which has worked to preserve its identity since the 1989 fall of Communism.