Introduction to Polish: Lesson 2

Polish for I know is wiem.

It is another m word. How would you say:

?I don’t know it.|Ja tego nie wiem.

Because it is an m word, you simply remove that m to get to the pan/pani form.

Polish for where is gdzie.

If you want to make a question in Polish you simply say it as a statement without changing anything and just raise your intonation in the end. So this next sentence is going to be literally "you know where Poland?". Try asking formally to a man:

?Do you know where Poland is?|Pan wie gdzie Polska?

Polish for like this is tak.

Coincidence or not, this word not only means like this but it also means yes. They would probably just keep using it is like this to confirm something until it has come to a point where like this would simply get to mean yes. Curiously Latin and Lithuanian also have this.

Okay, now make it into you (informal) know by adding sz:

?You (informal) don’t know where Poland is!|Ty nie wiesz gdzie Polska.

In fact we have been skipping this word for is (and am, are) all the time but you do use this word often in Polish and I want you to learn it now:

Polish for am is jestem.

Polish for here is tutaj.

The word tutaj often follows the same position in the sentence as to does and goes in the middle. You can say:

?I am here.|Ja tutaj jestem.

If you are observant you might notice that jestem is another m word. That means you should know what the word for is (or the pan/pani form) is (you remove the m).


Yeah, it should have been jeste but they didn’t think it was cool enough so they ended up just sticking to jest. One letter less, a very small exception indeed.

Now you could ask where is Poland? without actually skipping the word for is:

?Where is Poland?|Gdzie jest Polska?

And you could also say formally to a woman you know where is Poland? :

?Do you know where Poland is?|Pani wie gdzie jest Polska?

You could also use this for a lot of international words. For example:

Polish for a bank is bank.

Ask formally to a man:

?Do you know where the bank is?|Pan wie gdzie jest bank?

You could also say pan wie gdzie bank without much trouble.

So we have jest although it should have been jeste. If you want to make the informal you form, you get back that last e of jeste before adding sz... oh, wait. The Polish have gone a bit wild there too so they add not sz but ś. In speech you can’t tell the difference because it is practically the same sound. So why doing it? Well, no idea.

You can say informally you here are.

?You are here.|Ty tutaj jesteś.

Finally, let’s learn another m word:

Polish for I understand is rozumiem.

You could say:

?I don’t understand it.|Ja tego nie rozumiem.

Or you could say to a friend (just keep in mind you say is Poland instead of Poland is:

?I understand: you don’t know where Poland is.|Ja rozumiem: ty nie wiesz gdzie jest Polska.

If he can understand that phrase then your friend probably does know where it is. If he can understand it then he can probably speak it too and speaking is just one of the things that we will be talking about in the next lesson.

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