Sunday, 11 October 2009

I'm a very silly boy...

I'm a very silly boy, because I've decided I want to learn Polish.

It's not a whim, as such, because a whim like this would surely go beyond mere silliness and would be bordering on insanity. The men in white coats hover beyond my windows as I type.

It's a strange tongue. It's not content with twenty-six letters for an alphabet, for a start. There are all these other combination letters with their own sounds, and letters with squares above them, or tails below, and letters seemingly there only to trick a poor sap like me in that they look like 'W' but are spoken like 'V'. Twice I've almost bitten my own gums twisting my lips to get these odd pronunciations. Dislocated jaw?—hah! I tweak the nose of Dislocated Jaw.

Why am I doing this? Well, I want to go to Poland next year, and I have this odd, unwritten, personal rule that in order to visit somewhere I have to know the basics of the language. I'm not planning on being able to discuss the Reunification of Europe with the natives, but I simply love the thought of asking for this and that, ordering beer and being able to find my way about; mundane stuff like that. Part of it is a kind of respect thing.

But hey, the visit Poland idea is secret, so you've not read that, right?

My wife's father is (was) Polish, and his roots are shrouded in mystery. What little I do know seems somewhat tragic—deaths in child birth, deaths in fire, and persecution and exile by the Nazis. My secret is I want to find these roots as a birthday present to my wife. My trip is to be a surprise trip. So no telling, okay? My wife is a technophobe, so I've more chance of actually learning Polish than she has of landing on this Blog.

I have a year to do this… reckon I'll succeed?

We'll see, and in the meantime…

Do widzenia…


Cate Gardner said...

How cool. I tried to learn Italian once and got no further than the days of the week, months and good morning. I'm not built for languages.

Steven Pirie said...

It's tough learning a new language as an adult, unless perhaps you live in the country and are immersed in it.

What's worse for me is that it looks like I may need Russian rather than Polish. My research is pointing at deeper roots in the Ukraine.

And learning Russian makes me a very silly boy indeed!