Introduction to Polish: Lesson 3

What was:

?I understand it.|Ja to rozumiem.

If you remove roz you are left with umiem - the last m-word we learn.

The Polish word umiem means roughly I am competent to.

The word umiem is a variant of the word know except it has the connotation of know how to or have the necessary skill to or something like that We will stick with be competent to. For the time being. This word is not terribly important for us but I still wanted you to know it.

What a fine flock of m-words have we got there: mam, umiem, jestem, rozumiem. There is, however, another flock.

Polish for I speak is mówię.

This ó is just an accent this we should not pay much attention to at this point. The sound ę is a Polish sound which sounds very weird usually. BUT when ę is in the end of the word it can and usually is pronounced like e in bed so no problem there. It is in the end of the word now so don’t worry.

Do you still remember the word for Poland?


If you want to make it into in Polish you add po in front of it and you modify that word a bit by replacing a with u. How would you say:

?in Polish|po polsku

Now we’re talking. If you want to say I don’t speak Polish you say I don’t speak in Polish. Thus it would be:

?I don’t speak Polish.|Ja nie mówię po polsku.

Polish for a bit is trochę.

Getting back to understanding, say this (you will be saying literally: I understand a bit in Polish):

?I understand Polish a bit.|Ja rozumiem trochę po polsku.

Polish for I do is robię.

How would you say:

?I am doing it.|Ja to robię.

?I am not doing it.|Ja tego nie robię.

Alright. We have mówię and robię and they both end in ę. This ę disappears in other forms so let’s call these words the disappearing-ę-words.

For the on/ona/pan/pani form this ę from the disappearing-ę-words simply disappears (duh) and you are done.

How would you say formally to a male:

?Do you speak Polish?|Pan mówi po polsku?

Polish for it is to. Polish for what is very similar:

What is co in Polish.

How would you say to a woman formally literaly what you do?:

?What are you doing?|Co pani robi?

We can also make the ty form as we usually do by adding sz to the pan/pani/on/ona form. How would you say informally to a friend literally what you here do?:

?What are you doing here?|Co ty tutaj robisz?

Hear hear. Just like to changes to tego, the word co also changes to something when there is nie in the sentence. Could you take a guess what it changes to...

?co changes to...|czego

It should have been cego and there are some dialects in Polish where it indeed is. However, in standard Polish there is this irregularity and it’s cz (that ch sound in chills) instead of a c (ts in tsar) sound.

How would you say to a friend literally what you not understand?

?What don’t you understand?|Czego ty nie rozumiesz?

And let’s learn one final word:

Polish for I like is ja lubię.

It joins the gang with mówię and robię and is one of the disappearing-ę-words. How would you say informally to a friend:

?What don’t you like?|Czego ty nie lubisz?

Imagine your friend points to something and say:

?I don’t like it.|Ja tego nie lubię.

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