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How to speak Polish like a native

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There are so many reasons to learn how to speak Polish

In the UK there is a large community of Poles who add to British culture and bring vital skill sets to our economy. Many people are now choosing to learn Polish themselves to connect with family or their own roots, to travel across central Europe or to live in Poland and position themselves for future business success in one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. What is your motivation for learning Polish? Here are some of our favourites.

Why wait? Learn Polish with these handy tips

1.To travel or live overseas

Travel is so much more rewarding when you speak a little of the language. Poland is becoming a hot destination thanks to its stunning Renaissance cities, medieval towns, sandy beaches, unspoilt forests… and affordable prices! Even better, you can fly from most UK airports to Poland in as little as 2.5 hours, making it highly accessible as a destination. The country blends a rich and fascinating history with plenty of modern music, film, art, architecture and cuisine. It also has a young population of upwardly mobile, increasingly sophisticated young Poles keen to find their place in the world. From Pierogi to herrings in cream, dining on hearty local fare in Krakow, Warsaw, or your local Polish restaurant at home, there is so much to enjoy – and it’ll be far more rewarding if you can order in the language!

2. To work in Poland

Poland has plenty of burgeoning industries and the country is widely predicted to become a global economic powerhouse, with its educated young population and desire to play a key role on the global stage. Why not learn how to speak Polish so that you can broaden your own career opportunities? From manufacturing and exports through to R&D, tech and tourism, this important language gives you access to a new jobs market and a country where the cost of living is far lower than in the UK. Many British entrepreneurs are also finding that knowledge of Polish is helpful in helping them to secure business deals.

3. To meet new people

There are over 900,000 Polish speakers living in the UK, which means an entire new community of people is waiting for you. In fact, Poles are now the biggest foreign-born community living in the UK, ahead of Indians. Learn the language and you show willing and a desire to make new friends, business acquaintances, travel partners – you might even find romance! It doesn’t require much to begin speaking Polish as a beginner, and your skills can rapidly progress with the right learning programme.

4. To become a true Polyglot!

Polish is linguistically related to Slovak and Czech and spoken throughout Ukraine and Western Russia, as well as in Poland itself. It’s a valuable lingua franca in Eastern Europe - as well as in countries with plenty of Polish expats, such as the USA, where more than 11 million Americans originate from Poland and large Polish communities exist in New York, Chicago and Detroit. Widen your horizons, grow personally and broaden your connections by taking on a fresh challenge. When you learn a new language, you really take your place in the modern, global economy and help to break down old barriers.

5. To work your brain

Learning a language is a fantastic way to keep your brain sharp. By learning new vocabulary, constructions and grammar, you will be creating new neural pathways that stave off decline. What better way is there to stay smart and mentally active than by learning a useful new language?

4 Tips for Polish success

1. Immerse yourself

Listen to Polish slow radio, watch news podcasts, eat at a Polish restaurant, discuss local community issues in a Polish deli and learn how to cook Hunter’s Stew. Really immerse yourself in what it means to be Polish and the country’s language will come to life. And if you do it with a glass of Krupnik in your hand, then who are we to judge?

2. Start by speaking

Old-fashioned methods of language learning focus on sentence construction and grammar, but modern methods such as Babbel focus on speaking from the start. This gives you rapid confidence and increases your abilities fast; exposing you to different conversational situations, accents, experiences and contexts that bring the language to life and get you chatting happily in Polish.

3. Practice daily

Just 15 minutes of practice and work every day will help you to master Polish quickly - keeping your new vocabulary, phrasing, accent and sentence construction fresh in your mind. This is a far more effective way of learning than a single long weekly lesson.

4. Be persistent

It is easy to begin speaking basic Polish words and phrases that allow you to meet new people and carry out daily activities in Poland. But, progressing from beginner to intermediate or advanced can be trickier because the more that you learn… the more you realise you don’t yet know! So commit to your daily lesson.

Learning how to speak Polish with Babbel

You’ll be pleased to know that there are various different methodologies for learning Polish, depending on your needs, timescales, learner level and budget. There are free options such as online podcasts, blogs and other forms of digital content, but the accuracy of these will be unknown and the quality may be variable - especially if they are being produced by enthusiastic students who simply want to share their passion and enthusiasm for Polish. Other ‘free’ resources are likely to be loaded with adverts.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are classes. These are the most traditional method, and the structure they give can be extremely helpful. However, classes can also be expensive - especially if you opt for summer schools and face-to-face learning methods. Their quality depends on factors such as the qualification being studied for and the skill of the teacher. It can also take some time to find the right course and secure a place on it.

Babbel, our app, is a proven method that has already taken 5 million language students from zero to hero! Helping to create a world of confident polyglots, the app helps students through tailored, expert lessons that focus on language practice and immersion, with flexible modules that suit every individual interest and objective. That it’s on your mobile means that you can take a lesson at any point during the day, with daily prompts to practice your latest skills! You’ll get all of the conversational practice that you need too - again, all from your phone.