Original YT playout date: 28 May 2008
It was an immense middle-class whitey privilege to be allowed to broadcast on my YT channel the sound and also the live cam stream from a series of shows the very well known James Whale did on Play Two UK. James Whale is a personal favorite broadcaster of mine, whatever he might say teasing the Welsh I know he does have a soft spot for us and on top of that he has a great mind for phone in broadcasting. His book “a life time on Night Time” is a big hit among radio fans and larger archives exist of his work on other stations, such as LBC and also on TV. For sure at the time I was permitted to host these many a vlogger will have envied me. Continue reading “The James Whale Radio Show on Play Two UK #1”→
One of the first things you’ll need to do when arriving in Poland is to be able to greet people and say “hi” or “hello”. Just as in English, there are more and less formal ways of doing this, and until you’ve got your head around the idea of the different forms of “you” that there are in Polish, it is enough to say that the most common greeting “dzień dobry” meaning literally “day good” is fairly formal. Often you can follow it with “Panu” or “Pani” meaning “to you”, spoken to a man or a woman respectively, in a formal way.
This formula is good from when you get up in the morning until the evening time, usually around 6 pm (or as the Poles, like most Europeans, say: 18:00). There are not separate formats for morning, midday, afternoon, etc as in Czech, Russian or in fact most of the languages in the world. This is one of the few areas where Polish is relatively easy. Hold that thought.
“Dzień dobry” is used as a greeting when beginning an interaction with someone and not as a leave taking. The two other times of day involved in greetings are “dobry wieczór” for “good evening” and “dobranoc” for good night, which are both used in greeting and also leavetaking, by contrast.
So here, immediately, any sense that Polish might not be so difficult, begins to fly out of the window. Quite apart from the unusual spelling “cz” to make a sound like the “ch” in “church” only with the tip of the tongue turned back a bit further than we normally would unless impersonating David Attenborough, there is also the issue that an “o” with a grave accent over it – “ó” sounds like an “u”, and is indeed an “u” but one that reserves the right to turn back into an “o” again when changing to a different part of speech. So the Evening Express, or “Ekspres Wieczorny” has an adjectival ending-ny on the end but the “ó” loses its accent and is pronounced like a normal o again. This is a relic of Old Slavic differing vowel length, which endured in Polish until the Middle Ages, when it was replaced by vowels of basically identical length and a change in the vowel itself became necessary in order to differentiate what linguists call “cognitive pairs”. Continue reading “Much Ado About Polish #1 – A Good Day to Start.”→
Henryk Sienkiewicz, whose memorial in Kielce is pictured, wrote the famous novel “Quo Vadis”, and many of you might be asking the same question: “where are you going” with this? There are, after all, many existing courses on how to learn the Polish language, whether beginner courses, intermediate or advanced. Well, this is certainly not one of them. This is a series of articles intended to be of use whether a person intends to learn to speak, read and write Polish fluently, or simply dip into some curiosities about the language. When finished and if finally published as a collection, it might be a companion volume to any of the existing course books or grammars, or it may become a coffee table (read “toilet”) book to dip into and, with each dip, learn a thing or two to add depth and background (or “tło”, as they say) to what the you know about Polish.
This series takes a patchwork approach and covers all manner of questions around Polish spelling, loanwords into or out of Polish or how some words in Polish can be “false friends”. Also examples of Polish sayings and proverbs, sometimes outlines of the people or events behind common street names. We will find out why Poles say certain strange things while speaking English – usually they are things that make perfect sense in Polish. It will help to give more understanding to those living in Poland to explain things which are going on or note some things to look out for. To those not living in Poland, maybe it will encourage some of you to come for a visit.
Most of all, I hope that these articles will make for interesting reading.
The books “About Chinese” by Richard Newnham and “Beyond the Imaginable – 240 Ways of Looking at Czech” by Dr Karen von Kunes are both inspirations for this series. I note that there are some very interesting books about the Polish experience, and this cannot help but overlap with the themes here, but the focus is primarily philological, rather than culture divorced from language. Continue reading “Much Ado About Polish – Series Introduction”→
Here’s a video featuring me, audio only you’ll be glad to know, but not from my own Channel. Thanks to Kris Broholm for this.
There is a fuller interview that I do for the Actual Fluency Podcast in my David James voice, this was done as Huli, but unfortunately the technology failed. The stereo, if you have a stereo system, is actually really good, what there is of it.
Later on today will be the Thursday Poll for this week, on a topical topic, there’s a tautology, this is just an extra post snuck in.