Meeting Someone New – Essential Polish Vocabulary

Polish uses both formal and informal structures, and it is wise to observe them and try to use them correctly. The informal form of “you” — ty — should only be reserved for friends, and it is always best to use the polite forms pani (Madam) and pan (Sir) when addressing strangers, particularly if they are older than you. It is also a good idea to wait to be invited before addressing anyone senior by his or her first name.

Poland still maintains some customs that have fizzled out elsewhere. “Ladies first” is still the rule in most social situations, and women are usually introduced by a third party before men. Poles take hospitality seriously and will treat any guests with great honor, particularly if they have invited them into their home. While many Poles still hold to social formalities, the Polish also have a great sense of conviviality and are very easygoing in the right environment. You will find that once the ice is broken people are keen to chat, particularly in bars and pubs!

English is widely spoken in the cities and among younger people, but few visitors bother to speak the native tongue, so most Poles will be impressed with those brave enough to speak their complex language! Out in the countryside, less English is spoken, but natives are willing to help you out if you make the effort.

Phrase in Polish Phrase in English Pronunciation
Dzień dobry Hello Djen dobri
Dobry wieczor Good evening Dobri vyechoor
Jestem… I am… Yestem…
Jak masz na imię? What is your name? (first name; informal) Yak mash na eem-yeh
Jak ma pan/pani na imię? What is your name? (first name; formal; pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Yak ma pan/panee na eem-yeh
Jak masz na nazwisko? What is your name? (surname; informal) Yak mash na nazveesko
Jak ma pan/pani na nazwisko? What is your name? (surname; formal; pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Yak ma pan/panee na nazveesko
Jak się nazywasz? What is your name? (full name; informal) Yak sheh nazyvash
Jak się pan/pani nazywa? What is your name? (full name formal; pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Yak sheh pan/pani nazyva
Mam na imię… My name is… (first name) Mam na eem-yeh
Mam na nazwisko… My name is… (surname) Mam na nazveesko
Nazywam się… My name is… (full name) Nazivam sheh…
Miło mi cię poznać Nice to meet you Meewo mee cheh poznach
Mnie również Nice to meet you too Mnyeh roovnee-ej
To jest pan/pani… May I introduce… (pan if a man; pani if a woman) To yest pan/panee…
Jak się masz? How are you? Yak sheh mash
U mnie w porządku, dziękuję. I am well, thank you. U-mnyeh-v pojontkoo djenkoo-yeh
Dobrze Fine Dob-jeh
Tak sobie So so Tak sob-yeh
Źle/ niedobrze Not so good J-leh/n-yeh dob-jeh
A pan/pani/ty? And you? (pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman (both formal); ty for either gender informally) A pan/panee/ti
Czy pan/pani mówi po angielsku? Do you speak English? (pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Chee pan/panee moovee po ang-yelskoo
Mówię po angielsku. I speak English. Moov-yeh po ang-yelskoo
Proszę powtórzyć? Could you repeat that? Prosheh poftoojich
Co to znaczy? What does this mean? Tso to znahchi
Jestem Amerykaninem/Amerykanką. I am American. (masculine/feminine) Yestem amerikaneenem/amerikankon
Jestem Kanadyjczykiem/Kanadyjką. I am Canadian. (masculine/feminine) Yestem kanadee-chik-yem/kanadee-kon
Pan Gentleman/Sir Pan
Pani Lady/Madam Panee
Ty You Ti
Przepraszam Excuse me/Sorry Psheprasham
Proszę Please Prosheh
Dziękuję Thank you Djenkoo-yeh
Do zobaczenia! See you! Do zobachen-ya
Na razie See you soon Na ra-jeh
Do widzenia Goodbye Do-veedsen-ya
Dobranoc Good night Dobranots

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

Expression in Polish Expression in English Pronunciation
Cześć Hi/Bye (informal) Chesh-ch
Na zdrowie! Cheers! Na zdrov-yeh
Spoko No worries Spoko
To moja kolejka It’s my round (of drinks) To moya kolayka