Sunday, 16 May 2010

Steve the Pole

I finished lesson thirty of my thirty lesson Polish language audio course. I averaged a lesson a week, I think.

Does this mean you're supercharged with Slovak enunciations? I hear you ask.

Well, I can certainly speak more Polish now than when I started. But what a fiendishly difficult language Polish is to learn. I can ask for things like where the bathroom is, and order drinkies like a native; I can book a hotel room and find my way around the railway station. But it strikes me to be anywhere near conversational in such a language would need total immersion probably forever. It's a language dreamed up by someone during one of life's more fluid lunchtimes.

I should have known that when the guide said of grammar: Don't worry if you have to stick to the nominative case—the Poles will understand you and make exceptions for you as a foreigner— because it's not like the Poles themselves speak all the various cases correctly anyway.

I should have said: hang on, if they don't, then what chance have I?

I'm not a natural when it comes to learning languages, which is odd really as I do consider myself to have a love of words and how they're strung together (isn't that a definition of writer, after all?). But one thing this exercise has done is to have given me a renewed respect for my mother tongue.

Having seen first hand what the Poles may do, I'll never abuse English again.

Well, hardly.

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