What are the useful hacks that make learning Polish easier for people from different cultural background?
In this discourse we strive to discuss the motivation, obstacles and methodological approach that accompany learning of Polish as a second Language (JPJO). As Polish is not so popular language as for instance German or French, the triggers that drive the motivation to learn it are determined by pragmatic nature. The tendency of perceiving Polish language as an investment that may bring a desirable output in the future is more and more distinct since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some people coming to Poland — like for Example Erasmus students are obliged to take part in Polish language classes. Fortunately, after completing the respective course — regardless of the faculty — each foreigner can obtain valuable ECTS points. Setting aside from the considerations that we introduced at the outset of our discussion, many people consider Polish language as still devilishly difficult and worth learning only under the specific circumstances. In this article, we try to decipher the implicit reasons for taking up Polish online classes. At the same time, we make an attempt to adopt an unbiased stance on factors that hinders Polish language acquisition, especially from people of strongly different cultural background.
The evolution of motivation for learning Polish as a foreign language after 1989
It is commonly known that the interest in learning Polish among foreigners was not significant. The desire to delve into the complex — and sometimes tricky — world of Polish grammar and vocabulary confined to the small number of migrants coming from developing countries and the milieu of scholars who dedicate their scientific efforts to topics elated to Slavic philology. After the collapse of communism, the situation has inevitably changed. By the reason of this fact, we may get the impression that there are bright prospects for Polish as a foreign language. Why is this presupposition more pregnant than ever?
Firstly, more and more people perceive Polish as a valuable asset that may enrich their career opportunities. Surprisingly, such a practical attitude does not only characterize Ukrainian expats in Poland, but also people coming from exotic countries, like Turkey, Vietnam, Japan and China. It became more distinct than ever that knowledge of Polish no longer stems from the sheer passion of zealous individuals, but may be the source of tangible benefits in the future! So why not take online Polish lessons with one of our tutors? Who knows, maybe the adventure of learning Polish will level up not only your personal, but also professional life?
The concrete examples of motivation that many foreign students that participate in Polish language and culture summer courses are linked to the past of their families and enriching the spectrum of academic, professional and even scientific chances. People that come from Russia and Kazakhstan emphasize the practical implications of learning Polish like for example employment and study options and broader access to scientific literature that was composed in Polish language.
Then again, there are a lot of members of Polish diaspora in Argentina who stress the emotional background of improving Polish language skills. One can hardly imagine stronger genuine motivation than discovering the enchanting stories between the records from the diary of the grandmother, let alone the competitive edge in some sectors where linguistic skills belong to the most important prerequisites. Such a warm attitude towards Polish language makes the daily work of the language teacher so much easier. In this case, the contribution of the teacher should encompass providing spurs to deepen the knowledge of Polish autonomously in the future and sustain a friendly atmosphere.
The common challenges that foreigners encounter when learning Polish as a foreign language
No wonder why many foreigners perceive Polish as difficult language to learn. Nevertheless, the influence of grammar and pronunciation on the palpable language difficulty may depend on broader cultural context. In this paragraph, we analyse obstacles that people from Turkey and Vietnam come across.
So, let's begin. As we stated at the beginning — Polish language is commonly taught in the academic environment, especially when it comes to tailor-made Polish classes for Erasmus students. However, such lessons are quite challenging for the teacher, as not all Turks know perfectly English. As a complement to our ponderation, let's tackle the issue of Turks who master English at the pre-intermediate and basic levels. In this case, it is strongly recommended that teachers giving Polish classes will familiarize themselves with the characteristics of the Turkish language, especially those that may strongly influence Polish acquisition.
Firstly, Polish is a highly inflected language, where the endings of the nouns denote the grammatical case and the number. For instance, the Polish word domów comprises of the stem dom and the ending -ów. The ending — ów signifies the Genitive case in Plural. Thus, it fulfils two functions.
In comparison, each suffix in Turkish denotes only one aspect, either grammar case or number. To illustrate, the Turkish word evlerin which is translated into Polish as domów has two suffixes -ler that denotes number and -in that signifies grammar case.
Secondly, the possessive forms in Polish and Turkish are quite different. In Polish, people use different expressions for the verb "to have" and "there is/there are". On the other hand, in Turkish possessive forms are used using words var and yok (equivalents of there is/there are). For example, "Kedim var" means "I have a cat", whereas "Kedim yok" — I don't have a cat. This is the reason why the teacher should highlight this difference when giving Polish classes online.
Apart from that, there is also a significant difference between international words that are used In Polish and English. Let's take a look at the international words that appear in Polish and do not occur in Turkish: ambitny, biznesmen, komputer, prezydent, tradycja, utalentowany.
Some people from foreign countries may perceive Polish language as difficult due to cultural factors. The cultural differences are especially meaningful in the case of pupils of Vietnamese origin.
In this paragraph, we analyse the selected examples that confused Vietnamese children composed by mistake. Let's take a look at the sentence "Kukułka wysiaduje jaja w gnieździe". The pupil from Vietnam is used to different natural environment that exists in Poland. As a solution, the teacher may display pictures of Polish birds to liven up the discussion about their habits.
Then, let's take a look at the another example: "Pan Bóg, to ten pan z rogami". In this case the cited sequence seems a bit odd for Vietnamese pupils as the impact of Roman-Catholic church on Vietnam was slight. More specifically, the majority of the Vietnamese profess indigenous religion. So how can teacher overcome this obstacle? It is worth recommending reading "Pan Twardowski" tale with the accompanying image of horny devil.
Lastly, let's tackle the following example: "Ja też jestem z dziadkiem (instead of byłem) na grzybach". In this case, the teacher should encourage pupils to take part in memory games to familiarise them with the simple past tense forms that do not occur in Vietnamese.
The number of highly motivated students across the globe who wants to perfect their Polish skills is more impressive than ever. The broad palette of motivational factors is strongly differentiated. This is the reason why it stirs the natural interest of teachers and scholars who wade into issues related to teaching Polish as a foreign language (JPJO). The growing importance of Polish language is the key reason why more and more foreigners from strongly different cultural backgrounds scramble for developing the knowledge o Polish. Nevertheless, there are numerous cultural and linguistic phenomena that hamper the progress of the above students. This is the reason why there are more and more scientific publications that are aimed at sensitizing teachers to such issues. The examples that we presented in our entry may serve a brief guide for Turkish and Vietnamese students which pay their attention to the unique features of Polish language. If you wish to better your understanding of Polish, feel free to reach out to one of our teachers who offer tutor-supported Polish classes via Skype or Zoom!
The Polish Language: difficult, but more and more necessary
Jak i dlaczego warto uczyć się Polski i polskiego
Przybyszewski S., Co o języku tureckim uczący języka polskiego jako obcego wiedzieć powinien, s. 4-6
Sznajder A., Perspectives and challenges for Polish educators and their pupils of Vietnamese families in Poland (w:)
Annales Universitiatis Peadagogicae Cracoviensis, VII (2016), s. 187
Autor bloga: Łukasz R. - lektor języka niemieckiego w LingRoom
Witam Cię bardzo serdecznie:) Nauka języka niemieckiego już od 2009 roku jest priorytetową sferą mojego życia. Pracowałem w języku niemieckim na projekcie infolinii linii lotniczych. Ponadto już od kilku lat zajmuję się redagowaniem wartościowych treści w języku niemieckim, współpracując z różnymi agencjami marketingowymi. Dodatkowo mogę pochwalić się magisterium uzyskanym na uczelni ekonomicznej. Wiedza i specjalistyczna terminologia wyniesiona ze studiów pozwalają mi w profesjonalny i świadomy sposób przygotować lekcje języka niemieckiego biznesowego (Wirtschaftsdeutsch). Mam certyfikat z poziomu C1 (wynik: 86/100). Języki obce są moją pasją. Doskonale zdaję sobie sprawę z faktu, jak ważny jest regularny kontakt z językiem. Swoje zajęcia prowadzę w przyjacielskiej i pozbawionej nadmiernego sformalizowania atmosferze. Dzięki temu możesz skupić się na tym, co najważniejsze — czyli na postępach w nauce, do których będę Cię mocno inspirował. Swoje doświadczenia życiowe postanowiłem wykorzystać przy komponowaniu ofert specjalnych. To właśnie ze mną zyskujesz sposobność poznania akademickiego języka niemieckiego (poziom B2-C1), doskonalenia umiejętność pisania (poziom B1-C1), czy też dogłębnego opanowania języka biznesu (poziom B1-C1).
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