Life in Poland

Pusta głowa

According to Rosie, our neighbor has a “pusta głowa”.

Maybe so, but he’s also bald.

pełna głowa

ciekawa głowa

polityczna głowa

pusta głowa

According to Rosie, Kaja her friend at school was cold today because she had “puste nogi”. Her legs were bare.

According to Rosie, she doesn’t want to wear the polka-dotted scarf but the “pusty” one, without dots.

Lizzie says not to worry about the mess. She’ll clean it up z wet-wipe-m.

Lizzie asks each day if we are going to school on foot czy z car-em.

Both girls enjoy a sandwich z Nutellą but even better is z peanut butter-em.

Rosie doesn’t like to go do wandy in the evening. We don’t have a friend named Wanda. She doesn’t want to take a bath. (do wanny)

SDC12486Rosie and “Wanda”

Rosie is very good at dressing herself. She’s even learned how to tie her shoe laces and for the life of me, I can’t figure out who taught her. Rosie is a big and brave girl but she still sometimes asks me to “zap her jacket”. (zapnij)

Rosia doesn’t like “ziolo angielskie” (should be ziele angielski –allspice in English). She says she doesn’t need it in her soup at school because she already knows English.

To be fair…

I say, rozmawiam do ciebie.

I always forget to add się.

Kasia and kasza sound exactly the same to me.

I tried to buy a backpack and asked for a placek.

I used to shout idź at the other drivers instead of jedź.

I have been known to say nie jest when I should say nie ma.

In my deep past you most certainly would have heard such gems as deszczuje or perhaps śnieguje.

I used the ty form while talking to a police officer who had stopped me.

I thought the boxes of sand (piasek) for the sidewalks in winter was in fact a box to keep a dog (piesek).

I used to say z dzieciami instead of z dziećmi.

There was a time when szampon (shampoo) and szampan (champagne) were identical to my ear.

I now know not to ask for products which are preservative-free (bez prezerwatywy which means without condoms) but rather bez konsewantów.

And many, many more that I can’t find right now in my pusta głowa.

Care to share any gems from your language past?

You Might Also Like

No Comments

  • Reply
    March 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    My first couple years in US I was so affraid to make mistake between SHIT and SHEET. To my horror I was working in SPA. Can you imagine telling the client you will cover her with shit in just a moment? Thank god I never said that:)

  • Reply
    anka skakanka
    March 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I live in Scotland , and I shake every time I say \”funny\” as I pronounce like \”fanny\” which in Scottish means \”vagina, also means stupid person and/or wimp\”. And agree- I also have a problem with sheet/shit above 😀

  • Reply
    March 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Don't recall any big problems or anxieties, but I moved to the UK speaking English quite fluently already. Remembering that \”actually\” doesn't mean \”currently\” took me a while though.I'm collecting patient's \”lapsusy\”, my favourite one is \”butcher's cyst\” (which should be Baker's and comes after a name, not a profession).

  • Reply
    March 23, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Still pronounce \”beach\” and \”bitch\” the same unfortunately… My boss makes fun of me… 🙂

  • Reply
    March 23, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Love this \”subject\” – have lots of stories.Our American friend went to the train station and asked for \”bilet to Lodz\”. The lady explained that she was selling \”bilety na pociag\”. It went on for a while…My husband asked for zapiekanka z kapusta instead of z keczupem.My son: czy moge idz juz? or idziem instead of ide.I hate the word mustache.\”book\” used to be a problem, because I used to say it with the Polish \”u'I met a person once and introduced myself – \”your name is like the name of that cereal\” – she meant Kashi – NO – IT IS NOT:(

  • Reply
    March 23, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Not even a year after we moved to the US, I went to the store and asked the sales lady for \”a white SKIRT for a boy for his first communion\”… so don't worry, Chris, we all make stupid mistakes 🙂

  • Reply
    March 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    During my first year in US I went to a doctor and told him that I already took a few pillows (pills) for my cold. He laughed.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    And my son who was born in US and speaks fluent Polish still says:piesa instead of psadwa ksiazki instead of dwie ksiazki and so on. And he grew in Polish -speaking family and spent many summers in Poland. Polish is tough – I only realized it when I saw Ben trying to figure out rules.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    My mum is an English teacher and she's also heard her students say some brilliant things, my favourite one was when one guy was asked to translate \”obiad z pięciu dań\” and wrote down \”five corpse dinner\”. I'm also delighted to share one of my own \”lapsusy\”, I'm a Pole currently invading the Dutch territory and when applying in the office for the \”huursubsidie\”, which means a rent subsidy, I confused \”huur\” with \”hoer\”, which basically means a lady of the streets, and came up with asking for, yes, a whore-subsidy. (These two sounded exactly the same to my untrained ear!)Warm greetings from a regular follower of your blog!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 10:10 am

    While living in Spain,I asked for pan con poya once, when I watnted a chicken sandwitch (pan con polla, and \”ll\” is pronounced like polish \”Y\”. Imagine the amusement of my dear spanish friends, as poya means cock.My Irish husband, currently studying Polish, used to confuse the words \”sheep\” and \”hope\”, as in \”mam owce\” instead of \”mam nadzieje\”. Still dodn't know why.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Haaa Haaa!Thanks everyone for sharing your gems no matter how humiliating they are. I'm not alone.One of my students made her first humiliating mistake last week and now doesn't want to speak in public. I say, wear it like a badge! It's a badge of honor. If you don't try, you'll never fail but you'll certainly never succeed either.Hee, heee, I just recalled an unfortunate hyphen/hymen incident 😉

  • Reply
    Charlotte (MotherOwl)
    April 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I went from Italy to Spain once on a journey. After I arrived in Spain, I had to buy butter, and instead of asking for \”una libra de mantequilla\”, I asked for \”Una libra de burro\” using the Italian word for butter which unfortunately means \”donkey\” in Spanish. I had my butter, but only after much confusion and laugther.

Leave a Reply