Common phrases | The building blocks of the Polish language

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Learning common Polish phrases is a great way to ease yourself into the language. Taking the time to learn a phrase means that you can get your point across without necessarily understanding the individual words or how the underlying grammar works. There are plenty of free resources full of common phrases for you to learn. Knowing a phrase also means that you can manipulate it to suit your needs as you acquire more and more words. This will be a useful skill as your progress on your Polish language learning journey.

Where to find good quality common phrases

There are multiple ways to find common phrases to learn. The easiest, and the one that I recommend, is a phrasebook. Any Polish to English phrasebook will work, but I recommend that you do what I did and buy one in Polish from Poland. Why? Because that way, you know that the Polish in the book is the real Polish which is actually spoken, as opposed to the rarely used language that is often given in textbooks.

For example, it’s highly unlikely you’d hear a native English speaker say “How do you do?” to ask how you are, yet non-native English speakers learn redundant phrases like this everyday simply because it’s in their book. To avoid sounding like a talking textbook, I recommend a Polish language phrasebook like Lingea’s if you can, however, for me, Lonely Planet’s English language phrasebook was a close second.

I can’t recommend any others, simply because I haven’t used them, so if you have a phrasebook already, use that. If you can’t afford to buy a phrasebook, there are online phrasebooks that you can use for free instead, although they’re not as extensive as the printed versions and are usually of inferior quality too.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a YouTube video, a textbook or a phrasebook that you find your phrases in, as long as it gets you speaking Polish. Grab whatever it is and add its sentences to your Anki deck.

Manipulation – the good kind

If you know how to say:

I like money. Lubię pieniądze.
I need you. Potrzebuję cię.
We need you. Potrzebujemy cię.

You can manipulate the phrases in order to also say:

I like you. Lubię cię.
I need money. Potrzebuję pieniądze.
We need money. Potrzebujemy pieniądze.

The more sentences you learn, the more you’ll be able to say. Learn the common phrases first to give yourself a good starting point, then work your way through my method to get yourself up to fluency.

[alert-warning]TL;DR: Learn common phrases by adding the sentences from a phrasebook and their translations into your Anki deck.[/alert-warning]
What were the first things which you learned to say in Polish?
[alert-announce]I remember spending a whole afternoon struggling to pronounce “Cześć.” What were the first things which you learned to say in Polish? Let me know in the comments below.[/alert-announce]

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