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Any English speaking problems?

27.10.05, 16:41
Hey guys,

I have just been wondering if we Poles have a good command of English. The
thing is, last week I met a guy from India who came to Warsaw on business, not
only did the service staff at Hotel Sobieski had problems in communication but
all the cheques he had to sign were in Polish as well. Have you ever
encountered any problems like the one above? How would you evaluate ppl's
English speaking abilities and skilles in Poland.

Greetings to ya All
Ags
Edytor zaawansowany
  • kylie1 28.10.05, 00:50
    I would want to know what his English was like. I find their English to be very
    difficult to understand at times... Perhaps it has something to do with
    that?....

    smile Kylie
  • irmogirl 28.10.05, 11:56
    Actually, u are wrong dear lady. No matter what ppl say about ppl from India and
    their poor command of English, the guy is proficient and have no difficulties in
    speaking. Anyway, it freaked me out for I had to translate stuff to him and so on...
  • niacin 28.10.05, 07:33
    OK, first of all your text should read like this:

    I have just been wondering if we Poles have a good command of English. The
    thing is, last week I met a guy from India who came to Warsaw on business, not
    only did the service staff at Hotel Sobieski (had) HAVE problems (in) WITH
    communicati(on)NG WITH HIM, but ALSO all the (cheques) FORMS he had to sign
    were in Polish (as well). Have you ever encountered any problems like the one
    above? How would you evaluate ppl's English speaking abilities and skill(e)s in
    Poland.

    Overall B+

    Further,I don't think that a lack of forms in English at a hotel proves
    anyone's inadequate command of English. I'd say it's just poor judgement on the
    part of the hotel's management. No more, no less. I'm surprised that this has
    taken place at the Sobieski. I stayed there a few years ago but can't honestly
    recall whether the forms were only in Polish. I don't think so. But staff
    spoke English reasonably well.

    As to the Poles having or not having a good command of English, every second
    one I meet who claims to speak the lingo well turns out to be a (slight)
    disappointment.
  • irmogirl 28.10.05, 11:59
    That is what I am saying...I had to be his personal translator in a way cause
    even the room service was into Polish. Similar impressions I had at pubs and
    shops where ppl talked in Polish only. To a foreigner who has no idea of Polish
    and its pronunciation it must be pretty stressful...
  • niacin 28.10.05, 12:25
    Not more stressful than for anyone who does not speak a local language in a
    foreign country. I don't see why Poles working, say, in pubs, in Poland,
    should be speaking English or anything else apart from Polish. After all when
    you go to the UK or the US of A, do you expect them to speak Polish? Don't
    think so. So, to each his own, so to speak.

    As to the Indians. I find their English vocabulary immensly reach, even if
    quaint at times. Many native speakers could learn a word or two from them and
    some grammar to boot.

    cheers
  • indianguy 28.10.05, 13:02
    Hi All...I found this discussion forum while browsing the web...Myslef an
    Indian n on a research visit to warsaw univ from germany. Personally I didnt
    had any problems with communicating people here in warsaw. I was living in
    germany from last couple of years n I would say u guys r far better in speaking
    english than compared to western europe(other than UK)....we speak english in a
    different accent like our native language hindi often called as hinglishsmile
    might be a little bit difficult to understand at the first instant...
    well its unfortunate to all the native speakers in their respective countries
    but one needs to accept tat english has became an international language...



    niacin napisał:

    > Not more stressful than for anyone who does not speak a local language in a
    > foreign country. I don't see why Poles working, say, in pubs, in Poland,
    > should be speaking English or anything else apart from Polish. After all when
    > you go to the UK or the US of A, do you expect them to speak Polish? Don't
    > think so. So, to each his own, so to speak.
    >
    > As to the Indians. I find their English vocabulary immensly reach, even if
    > quaint at times. Many native speakers could learn a word or two from them
    and
    > some grammar to boot.
    >
    > cheers
  • indianguy 28.10.05, 13:03
    Hi All...I found this discussion forum while browsing the web...Myslef an
    Indian n on a research visit to warsaw univ from germany. Personally I didnt
    had any problems with communicating people here in warsaw. I was living in
    germany from last couple of years n I would say u guys r far better in speaking
    english than compared to western europe(other than UK)....we speak english in a
    different accent like our native language hindi often called as hinglishsmile
    might be a little bit difficult to understand at the first instant...
    well its unfortunate to all the native speakers in their respective countries
    but one needs to accept tat english has became an international language...

    greetings from India...smile



    niacin napisał:

    > Not more stressful than for anyone who does not speak a local language in a
    > foreign country. I don't see why Poles working, say, in pubs, in Poland,
    > should be speaking English or anything else apart from Polish. After all when
    > you go to the UK or the US of A, do you expect them to speak Polish? Don't
    > think so. So, to each his own, so to speak.
    >
    > As to the Indians. I find their English vocabulary immensly reach, even if
    > quaint at times. Many native speakers could learn a word or two from them
    and
    > some grammar to boot.
    >
    > cheers
  • firemouse 28.10.05, 17:21
    Hi,

    I've been also wonderning why the hotel forms, which I used in the UK, were in
    English only. I found no one in Polish, it's really weird.... wink

    And seriously, I doubt there were Polish-only forms in Sobieski Hotel. I know a
    lot of foreigners staying there and never heard a rant about it.

    FM
  • chomskybornagain1 30.10.05, 13:31
    imagine i once needed a foreign TT confirmation from Pekao SA for my foreign
    supplier. And what I got was a TT confirmation but in Polish only smile What's the
    use of a confirmatin for a foreign institution if it's in Polish.
    or take the passports: the name of the country on the cover is only in Polish
    which is absolutely useless. And the English name of the country is mentioned
    only once and hard to find. Some people can't find it believe me: I am a Pole
    living in China and they often ask me what country I am from (having checked my
    passport that is).

    Jarek
    --
    70 wierszy chińskich
    Wielka księga Tao - Lao-tsy
    Planeta dzieci (La infana raso) - William Auld
  • irmogirl 31.10.05, 09:36
    Yeah, that is a funny story indeed. Same happened to us, I mean my India friend
    for once he decided to leave the Sobieski Hotel all the cheques he was about to
    sign were in Polish. Where to put my signature he asked? and so on and so forth.
    We boast we are the members of the EU, but when it comes to our language
    proficiency, not just English one, we simply sux. And I am surprised that in
    places which are to a large extend used by foreigners, nobody attempts to
    improve and adjust hotel service (etc) to some European standards. lol
  • firemouse 01.11.05, 00:58
    irmogirl napisała:

    > Yeah, that is a funny story indeed. Same happened to us, I mean my India friend
    > for once he decided to leave the Sobieski Hotel all the cheques he was about to
    > sign were in Polish. Where to put my signature he asked? and so on and so forth
    > .
    > We boast we are the members of the EU, but when it comes to our language
    > proficiency, not just English one, we simply sux. And I am surprised that in
    > places which are to a large extend used by foreigners, nobody attempts to
    > improve and adjust hotel service (etc) to some European standards. lol


    So what. It is equally hard to find somebody speaking reasonable English in Germany or France, not mentioning Spain. Sorry, but I am not moved by this another how-do-we-suck story. I travelled half of the world and found English hotel forms in a non-English speaking country in Hilton only, but I am sure this is not the standard which we are discussing.

    And I have not found "German Federal Republic" anywhere on Deutsche Bundespass.

    So please, find some more reasonable examples.

    FM
  • niacin 01.11.05, 11:19
    Good on ya Firemouse. I also cannot recall anything in English on the French
    passports or the Finnish ones, although I could be wrong here.

    Secondly, a membership in the EU does not equate with any requirement to be a
    polyglot. Over the years I have stayed in a number of hotels in the UK, some of
    them quite upmarket, and the only language the staff spoke there was English.
    I'm discounting the fact that a number of the employees there come from the
    Baltic republics, other republics of the former SU and India or Pakistan and
    obviously speak languages other than English. But when it comes to the Brits
    themselves, English seems to be it, even thought they have been members of the
    EU for a bit longer than the Poles.

    cheers to all
  • ianek70 03.11.05, 11:03
    niacin napisał:

    > Good on ya Firemouse. I also cannot recall anything in English on the French
    > passports or the Finnish ones, although I could be wrong here.

    Not only that, but on British passports instead of just saying "Britain" on the
    front, it says "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", so
    people in hotels, etc just look at it quickly and say "Eeee, Irlandia".

    I read recently about a pilot scheme where they're printing bilingual British
    passports (English/Welsh and English/Gaelic) which should make everything
    clearersmile
  • irmogirl 01.11.05, 12:06
    Well, you may think whatever you want, I was just voicing out my personal
    opinion and really this can be treated as how do we suck story for I have come
    to meet a great deal of foreigners in Poland whose only complaint was the bad
    command of English represented by Poles. Not knowing simple words in English
    when buying a chewing gum or asking for a vegeterian meal. LOL It may give
    somebody a REASONABLE headache lol
  • bartis_ervin 03.11.05, 11:54

    FM you were right with what you said.

    On the other hand, me as a foreigner cannot and will not expect that everybody
    around me will speak in English. If I have problems in buying chewing gum maybe
    it is my fault because I didn't check the word in the dictionary. (And of
    course, I don't expect that the 53 year old lady who works in the Ruch place
    will suddenly speak English). Even if you are for a couple of days in a country,
    it is not so hard to learn 25 words.

    Ervin

    thebartiski.blogspot.com
  • waldek1610 03.11.05, 12:27
    irmogirl napisała:

    > Hey guys,
    >
    > I have just been wondering if we Poles have a good command of English.


    No, the great majority of Poles do not have a slightest grasp of english
    language.
    Whenever I use some english word or frase and than provide translation for
    Polish folks here at Gazeta forums, poles living in Poland get irritated and
    angry that I dare to assume they don't speak english.

    But on the other hand whenever I wath BBC or any other english language station
    conducting interviews on the streets of Warsaw; 90% of peolpe either have a
    hard time answerig even to the simple questions or they say samething in
    polish...
  • firemouse 03.11.05, 22:20
    waldek1610 napisał:

    > conducting interviews on the streets of Warsaw; 90% of peolpe either have a
    > hard time answerig even to the simple questions or they say samething in
    > polish...

    It seems to be a requirement of the interviewers to answer the questions in local language - I have seen
    this in many TV interviews that the locals speak their language. Obviously, for the TV station it is easier
    to translate the speech than to count on the knowledge of a specific language which allows for smooth
    transfer of thoughts. This also adds the local flavour to the programme.

    But yes, we're not great at English. On the other hand, I observed that English are not great in Polish, so
    we get a draw here. smile

    FM
  • nasza_maggie 04.11.05, 13:22
    not great? They're rubbish!

    Watching the MTV EMAs Last night I was rather surprised to see that Borat who
    was from Kazachstan and presented the show, used Polish frases. Funny (!)

    Then again I think his sense of humour was awful too.
    It seems anything east of Berlin is Eastern Europe. MTV didn't do it's research
    and well, it made them look ridiculous.

    --
    On Her Majesty's Service
    m a n n e r s smile
  • usenetposts 04.11.05, 23:05
    nasza_maggie napisała:

    > not great? They're rubbish!
    >
    > Watching the MTV EMAs Last night I was rather surprised to see that Borat who
    > was from Kazachstan and presented the show, used Polish frases. Funny (!)
    >
    > Then again I think his sense of humour was awful too.
    > It seems anything east of Berlin is Eastern Europe. MTV didn't do it's
    research
    >
    > and well, it made them look ridiculous.
    >

    That's the Ali G spoof East European. He isn't supposed to be taken seriously.

    You need to see a couple of Ali G dvds. Once you get on his wavelength he is
    actually hilarious. One of the best comics there's ever been. The thing is, for
    those who don't know him, a cameo appearance on an awards ceremony could be a
    bit disorientating.

    --
    - Uncle Davey's Homepage -
    :: Foreigners Living in Poland Forum
  • nasza_maggie 05.11.05, 00:36
    > >
    >
    > That's the Ali G spoof East European. He isn't supposed to be taken seriously.
    >
    > You need to see a couple of Ali G dvds. Once you get on his wavelength he is
    > actually hilarious. One of the best comics there's ever been. The thing is,
    for
    >
    davey dearest,
    i know all about the ali g syndrome. and i did like ali g.
    however, this thing of cohens at mtv, was a complete no no.
    so much for the 'free your mind' award and taking the piss out of kazahstan,
    gay people and making paedophile jokes.... it just was not funny in any way.

    But I guess that's because mtv just isn't funny anymore, there's no
    intelligence in any of the humour - it's just your avarage, least demanding
    type of entertainment.... which is quite sad and has nothing with mtv's 'we are
    all equal and let's love eachother' philosphy...
    oh well....


    --
    On Her Majesty's Service
    m a n n e r s smile
  • usenetposts 05.11.05, 02:11
    If MTV's humour programmes have been one thing, than that is controversial.

    Even if we go back to Beavis and Butthead, there were continual discussions
    between internet commentators as to whether the series glorified teenager
    ignorance or was simply holding teenager ignorance up to ridicule. I dare say
    it was in the eye of the beholder what they got out of it. What I took as the
    cartoonist deriding B&B as the pathetic side of American life, some people
    would have taken at face value.

    And I would have thought that you could say the same about the Borat character.
    Some people might say Ali G is ridiculing a kazachstani, but it appeared to me
    that he is ridiculing stereotypes and ignorance, as to anyone with a modicum of
    knowledge, which certainly includes Cohen, it's clear kazachstanies are not
    really anything like this.

    People could make up their mind about Ali G either - was he being offensive to
    blacks or not? Opinion was divided, but clearly Channel 4 would not have
    screened it, had they believed that he was.


    --
    - Uncle Davey's Homepage -
    :: Foreigners Living in Poland Forum
  • nasza_maggie 04.11.05, 13:23
    And since when is it a requirement to speak English in Poland?
    So I don't know where the 90% came from. And I daren't imagine.
    --
    On Her Majesty's Service
    m a n n e r s smile
  • irmogirl 05.11.05, 02:06
    It is not about any imposed requirement of Poles to speak fluent English but
    simple logic. Every time we are to welcome foreigners in our native country or
    let's say help them in every-day- situations, we simply fail. No menu stuff
    translated to English, no waiter/waitress able to communicate in
    English....Taking data into account, English has become one of the most
    important languages which is wordwide sorta spoken, not in Poland though. And I
    am not surprised somebody said 90%...I heard on the news only 27% of poles is
    able to understand or talk reasonably good English...so we still gotta train the
    rest...73% that is wink
  • waldek1610 05.11.05, 09:18
    nasza_maggie napisała:

    > And since when is it a requirement to speak English in Poland?
    > So I don't know where the 90% came from.

    In Germany or France speaking english is not required either, but somehow
    whenever they show similar BBC interviews on the streets of Paris or Berlin
    locals always answer the reporter in english.....

    I think that ignorance wont allow them to learn a foreign language...think
    Andrzej Lepper...
  • usenetposts 05.11.05, 11:53
    waldek1610 napisał:

    > nasza_maggie napisała:
    >
    > > And since when is it a requirement to speak English in Poland?
    > > So I don't know where the 90% came from.
    >
    > In Germany or France speaking english is not required either, but somehow
    > whenever they show similar BBC interviews on the streets of Paris or Berlin
    > locals always answer the reporter in english.....
    >
    > I think that ignorance wont allow them to learn a foreign language...think
    > Andrzej Lepper...


    You say what you like about Lepper, but over the last few critical weeks he has
    conducted hinself with a lot more dignity, integrity and common sense than
    Donald Tuthk hath. Tuthk hath jutht gone on to thow uth what a Thor Luther he
    is.

    --
    - Uncle Davey's Homepage -
    :: Foreigners Living in Poland Forum
  • nasza_maggie 05.11.05, 14:16
    I don't know which part of Poland you guys have been to or when was the last
    time you were here, but I've never had any problems with people speaking
    english.

    What you're talking about is the typical psychological babble most people say
    from English speaking countries. Just because English is SEEN as one of the
    main languages to communicate, it doesn't mean every one HAS to. That is just a
    statement of ignorace, as far as I am concerned.
    Whenever I go away anywhere, I try to learn at least the BASIC words to
    communicate with the locals. That's the way to go about it. Not just fly out
    somewhere and EXPECT the locals to be able to communicate with YOU because you
    know English. That's what I like about Poland, this kind of resistance to the
    norm.

    If you go to outback OZ or somewhere in Texas do you expect them to speak
    Chinese or Spanish because most of the world does?

    Surveys? Oh please.... since when have they been a fundament to rely on? Let's
    just look at the last polish election surveys, yeah? smile

    Andrzej Lepper to me is no example. And in this case, as much as I cannot stand
    Andrew L, I have to agree with Davey. But then again, Andy L likes to play the
    populist note.


    --
    On Her Majesty's Service
    m a n n e r s smile
  • irmogirl 05.11.05, 21:49
    Actually I am from Warsaw and I do pop out my eyes when locals and ppl who shall
    know at least basic English sux. You may talk about the resistence to the norm
    or that we shall be proud for are different, but with this particular attitude
    you introduced we will never open up for the Western Europe and what it has to
    offer not to mention overseas area wink If we want to be a stronger country in a
    united Europe changes have to happen.

    The only thing which worries me we Poles, esp the younger generation are obliged
    to learn English for at least 12 years (elementary schools than High Schools),
    but even then less than 1/3 has that ease in keep any conversation going...
  • russh 06.11.05, 06:58
    I have just started 'coaching' a few people here in English, and have 'talked'
    to many youngsters. I believe it is right (for the kids) to have significant
    exposure to English in school, as there is no doubt in my mind that English is
    the 'International' medium for communication.

    It would seem to me though the there is an over preoccupation with grammar (not
    that it isn't essential), to the detriment of oral skills. This is a pity,
    because it leaves the child with a great lack of confidence in the area (of
    language) where there need it most, face-to-face communcation.

    In my short time here, I have probably found less than one in ten people with
    reasonable speech skills in English, although more are able to understand.

    I'm sure it will get better, because in the small area that I operate, I see a
    great wish to learn English, and to better oneself in general.
  • firemouse 07.11.05, 13:10
    Eh, I do not know anything how long students are required to learn English, but
    I remember that learning Russian for 8 years in the primary and secondary school
    did not improve the language knowledge either, despite the similarity of the
    language to Polish. Please do not count the resistance effect in the assessment.

    Problems in actual language usage may not come from the length of the learning
    period but rather from the method. However, I can say nothing about it as I am
    not familiar with our school system.

    But in the end I still cannot see where the problem is. You have helped your
    friend in the hotel and this is in my view the best what you can do. You have
    shown that Polish people are willing to help others and I think this is what he
    will remeber in a long time, not the hotel forms. Moreover, I agree that he
    should learn at least few basic words or buy a phrase book. whenever I go to a
    non-English speaking country I try to learn at least few basic words, because I
    cannot assume that *everybody* there speaks English. I rememeber a story, which
    happened long ago in the Netherlands, where I have been looking for a certain
    address. We all know that all Dutch speak at least few other languages, right?
    Not so much, becaused it turned out that the only person who was able to show me
    the way spoke only Dutch (or did not want to speak other language). I must admit
    that at this time my knowledge of this beautiful language was very limited (to,
    say, 20 words), but thankfully using all the words I knew I was able to find the
    address. Would I rely on my English knowledge, this could last a bit more time.

    And I think that the thesis of "resistance to the norm" is quite dangerous.
    Please define "the norm". Speaking English?

    FM
  • waldek1610 06.11.05, 06:41
    nasza_maggie napisała:

    > Not just fly out somewhere and EXPECT the locals to be able to communicate
    > with YOU because you know English. That's what I like about Poland, this
    > kind of resistance to the norm.

    French are known to do same thing, as they ignore whoever is trying to
    communicate on french soil in english, of course unless he or she happens to be
    a valued customer with some US dollars to spend. In such case french forget
    their pride in an instant,and show their proficiency in english, after whole
    they have to support the remnants of their empire somehow...
  • russh 06.11.05, 07:04
    I've never been a great lover of the French (typical Brit, I suppose), but I
    just changed my mind.

    Pragmatism at its best! Swallow your pride if it means sufferance!
  • irmogirl 06.11.05, 11:18
    Yeah, French do not like English which is an obvious thing. All I am saying is
    that we Poles have not much to offer in terms of English speaking skills.
    Besides, I guess it is rooted in our culture and background to have resistance
    to communicate in English. I do teach English for 7 years now and I am not
    surprised ppl are rather sitting quiet and it is really a challenge to me to
    make them speak and focus on a pair work. From my experience, they simply don't
    wanna ridicule themselves and say something that would be mocked by other ppl. A
    sense of control and different barriers in letting them speak. Kids are far more
    natural and working with them is joy smile
  • bartis_ervin 06.11.05, 11:48

    Whatever you say, more Poles are able to speak English than Italians or Spanish.
    If you've been there for a longer period you know what I am talking about.

    I would be interested in a survey made amongst youngsters: let's say 15-30 year
    old. I would bet that the percent of English speakers is quite high. Again, I
    don't expect a 45 year old electrician to learn English to help out a tourist on
    the street.

    In Warsaw I never had any problems in ordering in English. Not even in Sahara
    kebabsmile

    Ervin

    thebartiski.blogspot.com
  • niacin 06.11.05, 22:32
    Oh, what a load of stereotypical bollocks about the French not liking the
    English or not wanting to speak the language if they know it.

    Fair enough, and this goes particularly for the Yanks (careful of another
    stereotype), but if one opens one’s mouth and rams an English phrase down the
    Parisian throat by way of introduction, they take offence (and why not, really)
    but if you attempt to introduce yourself in French saying that you don’t speak
    French and then ask for assistance in English, they are more than happy to
    help. Even more so in other cities and regional centres. Like every other folk,
    they appreciate it if someone as much as tries to say a few words in their
    language. Quite simple.
  • russh 07.11.05, 05:06
    Another humorless expat (I assume).

    You guys always take the wrong bait!
  • niacin 07.11.05, 06:48
    Wrong, mate. A pragmatist with a particular dislike for stereotyping even if
    disguised as humour.

    cheers
  • russh 07.11.05, 07:12
    Well, I'm all for pragmatism, and have no problem in acknowledging stereotyping
    in humour: after all, possibly the majority (of humour) is based on it
    (stereotyping).

    Cheers

    ps. So there's two of us that can't sleep!
  • niacin 07.11.05, 21:33
    Ah, the sweet insomnia aided by a stong brew of caffeine, a drop of red and the
    thoughts that refuse to go to sleep wink

    cheerio
  • usenetposts 07.11.05, 23:17
    niacin napisał:

    > Wrong, mate. A pragmatist with a particular dislike for stereotyping even if
    > disguised as humour.
    >
    > cheers

    It's a sort of shorthand for humour, enabling brevity.

    Let's consider a joke in the "dumb policeman" genre:

    There are a group of people in a train compartment, and they start telling
    jokes, all except for one small boy in the corner, who is listening intently,
    and his mother. After a while, the topic turns to dumb police jokes, and after
    a good dozen of these have passed with the boy still saying nothing, and
    looking on intensely, one wag says "Why don't policemen eat pickled cucumbers?
    Because they can't get their heads inside the jars". Then the boy pipes
    up "That's simply not true, what you're saying. My dad's a policeman, and he
    does eat pickled cucumbers!"

    Well for a moment there is an embarrassed silence, and his mother
    adds "...although I have to admit, we do buy them in barrels".

    How is anyone gonna tell that joke without recourse to stereotypes?



    --
    - Uncle Davey's Homepage -
    :: Foreigners Living in Poland Forum
  • niacin 08.11.05, 00:14
    A joke is a joke is a joke.

    peace
  • firemouse 07.11.05, 13:45
    "Re: ps
    irmogirl 06.11.05, 11:18 + odpowiedz

    (...) I do teach English for 7 years now and I am not
    surprised ppl are rather sitting quiet and it is really a challenge to me to
    make them speak and focus on a pair work.(...)"

    You teach English?

    Hard work for us Poles to learn a language then!

    FM
  • montana04 22.11.05, 21:26
    you suck more than I do Irmo
    heheheheeheehe


    irmogirl napisała:

    > Hey guys,
    >
    > I have just been wondering if we Poles have a good command of English. The
    > thing is, last week I met a guy from India who came to Warsaw on business, not
    > only did the service staff at Hotel Sobieski had problems in communication but
    > all the cheques he had to sign were in Polish as well. Have you ever
    > encountered any problems like the one above? How would you evaluate ppl's
    > English speaking abilities and skilles in Poland.
    >
    > Greetings to ya All
    > Ags

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