Why I learn Polish

I don’t exactly have a reason for learning Polish. I don’t have a Polish boyfriend. Nor do I have Polish roots. My grandparents used to live on now Polish territory and were expelled after the war – but I doubt that this qualifies as “Polish heritage”.
Since people just won’t stop asking “why” I learn Polish, I decided to turn my gaze inward. I finally came up with the following reasons:

  • great food (I know this is the answer you’ve been waiting for.)
  • that certain “secret agent”-feeling. If you speak Spanish or Italian, even people who don’t actually know the language will be able to pick up some words. They might even be able to grasp the general meaning of something written in those languages just because they know some Latin or French.
    The one thing I can assure you of is that you won’t experience that with Polish.
  • opening up new horizons. You will discover a whole new world of books, films, music… completely unknown to the average citizen of Western Europe. What is more, learning Polish means that almost inevitably you’ll get in contact with the history of the country or, more accurately, with the region where Poland and its neighbours are situated now. You might start by learning the language, but it is likely that you end up with completely new insights about that part of Europe.
  • Polish people (and even folks from the Ukraine) tend to be extremely warm and welcoming once they discover one’s genuine interest in their country/region. Learning a language such as Polish makes 40 million people like you.
  • It deepens your respect for people coming from a not-so popular country. Where I live, people tend to behave rather condescendingly toward Poles. No wonder, as those Poles steal everything that’s not nailed down (which is why you have to be rather careful when you let them into your house in order to clean up the mess or to take care of grandma). Or do they? Well, we won’t know, because we don’t bother to find out. Which in turn is why we’ll never know about all the great stuff this country has to share.
    (That very same argument might be valid when it comes to learning Turkish.)

Whenever I talk to other people and the subject moves on to Poland, chances are that I’m bound to listen to yet another car theft story.
How do I react? I don’t. In the past I tried to convince people that there is a difference between prejudice and reality, but I don’t do that any more. This allows for two advantages:

  1. I save my breath and time telling people stuff they’re apparently reluctant to learn
  2. I don’t have to share the great food!
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Published in: on February 6, 2011 at 1:52 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Jestem ciekaw czy nadal uczysz się polskiego!?
    Życzę powodzenia w nauce, wszystkiego dobrego!

  2. Dzięki za komentarz 🙂 i tak, naprawdę nadal uczę się tego języka! Choć w tej chwili wydaje mi się, że tkwię w jakąś impasie… nie ma problemu z gramatyką, ale czuję się, jakby słownictwo nigdy nie skończy się. No, trudno 🙂


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