With only over 40 million speakers, why would anyone even want to learn Polish? A language that very few people you know have studied and isn’t taught in most places?
There is definitely some truth to that.
Learning any language is fascinating, but one often gets a lot of questions about whether it’s worth it before starting it.
Doubts like, why should I study it? Is there any course to help you reach fluency? What are the career perspectives? Would it be easy to learn Polish? And the list is never-ending!
While selecting a language, most favor the well-known French, Spanish, German. And some fancy challenging ones like Mandarin, Korean, or Japanese.
We often limit ourselves to a few choices because of popularity metrics. But there’s an entire world out there that offers excellent value for both personal and professional reasons.
Studying a language like Polish has many clear advantages. Those benefits outweigh any fears you may have.
Table of Contents
- About the Polish language
- 10 Outstanding Reasons to Learn Polish
- 1. Communicate with 41 million people
- 2. A gateway to other Slavic languages
- 3. Study in Poland
- 4. Better career opportunities
- 5. Long stay or settle in Poland
- 6. Difficult, but you can learn
- 7. Understanding Polish history
- 8. Good for the brain
- 9. Have an enjoyable holiday
- 10. Watch Polish movies and TV series
About the Polish language
Like Slovak and Czech, Polish belongs to the West Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is also part of the subgroup of the Lechitic group, which is in Latin script.
Originally derived from Old Polish, it is the primary language of Poland and serves as the mother tongue of the Poles. Around 98% of its citizens speak it as their first language.
It is also a recognized minority tongue in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. Plus, it is an official language of the European Union, along with 23 others.
The Council for the Polish Language is an organization that moderates and manages standard Polish. In short, it is the guardian and authority of the Polish language in all its forms.
Dialects of Polish
Like many other languages, Polish also has several dialects linked to a specific geographical region. And it is usually further subdivided into various sub-dialectal groups.
There are four major Polish dialects spoken in Poland:
- Greater Polish — west
- Lesser Polish — south and southeast
- Masovian — central and eastern parts of Poland
- Silesian — southwest
Despite differences in accents, vocabulary, and slang, most Polish dialects are mutually intelligible. A speaker of a particular variety can understand other dialects with little to no trouble.
10 Outstanding Reasons to Learn Polish
I bet you have all those questions in your mind, and hence you stumbled upon this article. You came to the right place, as here you will discover all the answers you need to know.
I am presenting you with ten reasons below that will help you decide to learn Polish.
1. Communicate with 41 million people
Around 38 million people speak Polish as their native language in Poland alone, apart from the foreigners living there. It makes 98% of the total population of Poland speak Polish as their primary language.
This is the second most spoken language after Russian in the Slovenian region, also a Slavic language. The demand, thus, is pretty high, especially in Eastern Europe.
It might shock you to know that millions of people outside Poland speak Polish daily. It includes countries like Germany, the USA, the UK, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Ireland, the Czech Republic, France, etc.
Most of the Polish diaspora moved long back, even centuries back. As a result, everyone speaks the native tongue of the country. Yet, they talk in Polish and are aware of their culture, which is a good thing.
There are over 40 million Polish speakers globally. So, if you learn Polish, you can make you able to befriend 41 million people worldwide.
2. A gateway to other Slavic languages
Do you know that roughly 400 million people in Europe and Northern Asia speak one of the dozen Slavic languages?
There is a benefit to linguistics relating to the same group. Once you master one language, you don’t have to undergo the same struggles because of many similarities when you learn a second one.
Polish, being a Slavic language, is close to other languages of the same group. Thus, the sounds to the sentence structure and grammatical rules for cognates and much more are alike.
So, once you acquire Polish, learning Russian, Czech, Slovak, Bosnian, Croatian, Ukrainian will be more straightforward.
Just imagine opening the doors to these many new languages.
Polish is the ideal language for those fascinated by Eastern European languages.
That’s because Polish uses Latin script like popular European languages like English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc. So one doesn’t have to tackle the Cyrillic alphabet.
3. Study in Poland
Each year, thousands of students from far and wide choose Poland as a study abroad destination.
Poland has seen a surge in international students. If you see the stats for the last five years, there’s a growth of 78%.
The reasons are simple.
Poland is recognized for high-quality education institutions and low tuition fees.
Even getting a visa is also comparatively easy. Poland also offers a variety of scholarships, and the Polish National Agency gives the most for Academic Exchange (NAWA).
People are friendly, and you always get help from the local population and senior students.
The living expenses are also low in Poland than in places like France, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Scandinavian countries.
You can work in Poland during or after completing the program.
Still, if you don’t know Polish, finding a decent job in Poland may be challenging. Also, even if you find employment, salaries will be lower if you don’t speak the local language.
4. Better career opportunities
As we all know, being bilingual could be a prime factor in anybody’s career. This is why many say learning any language opens doors to many opportunities.
Once you learn Polish, it can bring you new business and job openings in Central Europe. And even new possibilities in your own country.
Your Polish fluency can put your resume in demand in the job market.
For example, you can work as a translator, interpreter, or tour guide. You can also find any position requiring this language in any company dealing with Polish speakers.
Indian investments in Poland are valued at over US$3 billion. It includes many big businesses, like ArcelorMittal, Escorts, Reliance Industries, TCS, Ranbaxy, KPIT Cummins, Zensar, HCL Tech, Infosys, Wipro, UFLEX, Jindal Stainless, Berger Paints, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, CRISIL, and many more.
Several Polish companies like TZMO, Solaris, Ekolog, Geofizyka Torun, Famur Group, CANPACK, etc. are operating in India.
Your Polish knowledge can help you land a job in these companies in India or Poland.
5. Long stay or settle in Poland
Besides English-speaking countries, if you live in any country requiring you to learn its speech, it’s always recommended to do it. This happens if you plan to stay there for quite a long time.
If something emergency happens while living in such countries, and you don’t know how to tell the officials, you will be in trouble.
You will have to wait for anybody who knows the language to come to rescue you. Hence, learning the respective countries’ languages is essential.
Either people won’t take you seriously, or they will try to understand you. Still, the moment they realize they can’t understand you, you will have no option but to wait for someone who knows the language.
You may not need to learn Polish now for your current job. But, you can’t negate that a less popular tongue can add significant value to your C.V. if you intend to stay there for a long time.
6. Difficult, but you can learn
Polish is one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers. It becomes even more complex if you don’t know any other Slavic cousin languages before studying.
Still, there are ways to simplify it if you use the right approach, resources, and method.
No language is impossible to master if you have the 5 essential P’s — patience, passion, persistence, perseverance, and purpose.
If you have all these qualities and motivation, the journey to Polish fluency is only a matter of time.
Since it is Latin, most consider it more manageable than lingos written in Cyrillic script. For example, Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, etc.
Just like how it is going to be handy if you are European to learn Indo-European languages.
There are seven cases. It includes nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, and vocative. German grammar has four rather than seven, which makes it easier than Polish.
The three moods, gender rules, tongue-twisting pronunciation, and inflections are also complex. But once you end up covering all, you will end up finding Polish grammar more straightforward.
Instead of being upset about how complicated it is, enjoy the challenge. In the end, it will be totally worth it.
Polish also contains many words borrowed from Latin, Czech, German, Belarusian, and Ukrainian. It also took many words from French, Italian, and English. So, your existing knowledge can help you cover some parts easily.
7. Understanding Polish history
One cannot learn any language by ignoring to educate oneself about its culture. Language and culture are inseparable.
This point is especially gold for the one who is into books. As far as Polish culture, it has a rich literature indulged inside it.
The first written records of the Polish language date back to the 10th century. It was relatively dominant throughout much of Europe by 1500. That’s the reason you can find a wealth of treasure.
Imagine reading their history and literature books in Polish. It’s an authentic way to dive deep into yourself in their culture and tradition.
You will gain greater insight into literature from distinguished authors like Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska, Olga Tokarczuk, and Dorota Masłowska.
On a side note, no matter how many papers you read in English or your native language about Polish literature and customs. Well, you still will have a block somewhere.
You will get the knowledge, but it is always better to learn those impressive things through their written material in their language.
You might not take advantage of the true essence of the books in English-translated scripts.
8. Good for the brain
Be it any language, well-known or lesser-known, acquiring any tongue is always seen as bliss for your brain – an exercise, to be precise. Learning them plays with your brain – well, positively.
Several studies have shown that bilinguals are more creative, good at multitasking, have better memories, and solve better.
It trains your brain to learn things faster, think efficiently, be a critical thinker.
Not only that, but it also prepares you to let your guard down for some time, especially when you have to speak with a native in your target language.
The Polish language also increases your cognitive abilities, makes your brain flexible. It also works towards strengthening your brain’s natural ability to focus.
These are just some of the incentives for you to learn Polish.
9. Have an enjoyable holiday
While one can visit Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw, and many other places in Poland without speaking a word in Polish, knowing the language makes the trip more fruitful.
Trust me; it is crucial to know at least a few phrases and words of the tongue you will travel to soon.
Imagine you are stuck at the local shop, train station, and sheriff’s office, and you can’t see a way out. One of the prime reasons is the language barrier.
Poland has many places of natural beauty, such as the Mazury Lake District, Tatra Mountains, green areas, nature reserves, natural monuments, and forests. These all make the country an attractive place to visit.
These factors combine to make Poland more beautiful for a growing number of international students. They prefer the quality of education and the service they receive and decide to study there.
It’s always better to learn a language than wait for an interpreter or tour guide to quickly get yourself out of the situation.
It’s always nice to understand the menu of any restaurant and order food. Also, finding the historical explanations is easy to understand and adjust because you can understand the language.
And you are acing the places’ names pronunciation, routes, and information about tourist sites. You will also take part in genuine conversations and earn appreciation for at least trying to speak Polish.
10. Watch Polish movies and TV series
While Polish films, TV series, and music aren’t famous like English, Korean, Japanese, or French, they have a few good ones.
From the old classic Knife in the Water, Pharaoh, The Deluge, The promised lands, Nights and Days to Katyń, Cold War, In Darkness, Rose, and Corpus Christi, the list of fantastic Polish flicks are endless!
You can enjoy TV series such as 1983, Kruk, Nielegalni, Blinded by the Lights, The Pleasure Principle, and many more.
These are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, and other online streaming channels.
As the world becomes more globalized, learning a language is one of the most valuable skills in the 21st century. The convincing reasons to learn Polish are many.
But of course, as with everything, there are certain drawbacks.
For example, it is not an easy language. There are obstacles like a 7-case declension system and a complex gender system. The knotty pronunciation will be a headache too.
Polish is also not widespread, and there are not enough learning centers and resources.
But if you have reasons, interests, and motivation, you can surely learn Polish. This isn’t a daunting task. And this is true for many languages.
All these factors also come with the perks of better career options, to study in Poland, the cultural aspect, pursuit of the hobby, traveling. The list is endless.
Do you plan to learn Polish?
I’d love to know your reasons. Share your thoughts in the comments below.