Speak Polish Today! The Benefits of Learning Polish
Polish is not commonly spoken outside the borders of Poland, and it is rarely taught in schools, but its rarity is a large part of the lure of the language. If you learn to speak Polish, you will be able to take advantage of some unique opportunities. Polish is an intriguing challenge, and its richness and complexity are a joy to discover. If you gain some mastery over it, you will find learning Polish extremely rewarding and will have a skill that sets you apart.
Poland offers true diversity to visitors, with everything from urban sophistication in Warsaw to picturesque mountain views in Zakopane. It is a culturally fascinating place, with its rich history reflected in its many world-class museums and galleries. It is also a very affordable destination and offers some great shopping opportunities and delicious cuisine at amazing prices.
Learning Polish allows you to take full advantage of all that Poland has to offer as a tourist destination, and it will also enable you to be a more independent traveler. While English is widely spoken in the cities, you may find it hard to get by in some places without a little knowledge of the native language.
As with a trip to any foreign destination, it makes a big difference if you can order dinner or buy a bus ticket in the nation’s mother tongue, and it will be all the more appreciated by the Polish, who are not used to visitors making the effort with their complex language!
Poland’s influence in the world is ever increasing, and so are the business opportunities in the country. The Polish economy has recovered rapidly since the fall of communism and Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004 opened it up to the rest of Europe, which hugely increased its international trade. It is now one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe.
Speaking the language would allow you to apply for US-based jobs working with Polish clients who require appropriate language skills. You would also be able to move to Poland and take advantage of the career opportunities emerging there, mainly in banking, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. By offering considerable tax breaks, the Polish government actively welcomes foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up in the country, and Poland could be a great place for expansion if you are a business owner.
Having knowledge of the language will not only make the transition easier, but your venture might be more profitable.
Throughout the centuries Polish people have emigrated across the globe, and it is estimated that some ten million US citizens have Polish roots. The earliest Polish immigrants arrived in the first part of the seventeenth century, and large numbers also made the journey across the Atlantic in the early twentieth century.
If you are of Polish descent and interested in your family history, having some grasp of the Polish language will be a great help in carrying out any genealogical research online. It will also be easier for you to identify street names, dates and the names of occupations. If you are really serious about your family history research, you can go to archives and record offices in Poland, and if you speak the language, the staff will enthusiastically help you to uncover your Polish roots. Finding out about your ancestors can be a real personal journey and can hugely change your view of your identity—learning Polish could make this journey happen for you.
In some places in the US, the recent immigrants have kept the Polish language and culture alive. Chicago, for example, has a very large Polish population, and cities across the US have Polish areas, so even if you can’t claim Polish roots yourself, learning the language will help you to learn a little more about some of the communities around you.
One great benefit of learning Polish is that it will help you to learn other languages. Polish is similar to Czech, Slovakian, Russian and Ukrainian, to the extent that a little Polish will considerably help you get by in any of these countries. In fact, Polish is a good foundation in terms of learning any other Slavic language. Polish also has similar grammatical constructions to Latin and would provide many clues during your studies if you decided that this ancient language might be useful to you!
Polish will give you a deep insight into linguistics, as it is a language that has cases, meaning that nouns change their form (or “decline”) according to their usage within a sentence. For example, while in English the noun “table” would remain the same regardless of whether it was the direct or indirect object of the verb in the sentence, in Polish, different forms of the noun would be used in each circumstance. Learning Polish will give you an intimate understanding of how language works, which could be applied to any language learning you undertake in the future.
Polish is not an easy language to master, and understanding the usage of diacritics (special accents on letters) is quite a task. However, gaining a basic knowledge, particularly for travel use, is not difficult. With its range of “alien” sounds, it is a particularly pleasing language to speak for native English speakers.
Unlike the popular western-European languages of French, Spanish and Italian, Polish is rarely heard in western culture, and you will feel a particular sense of accomplishment in engaging with something so new to you. As with learning any new language, Polish will engage your intellectual faculties in a number of ways, including testing your powers of memory, and giving the rewarding feeling of doing your brain good!
But, of course, the most rewarding thing of all is the feeling of accomplishment the first time you make yourself understood to a native Pole. Even something as simple as ordering a beer without having to resort to speaking English or pointing can be extremely satisfying, and if you are able to strike up a conversation with the locals, that feeling will be all the greater!