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How to learn Polish fast? Some will say it’s super hard, some will say it’s easy. But there’s no point in sugarcoating it. Learning Polish – much like any other language – is about being consistent. There’s no brain implant that will make you fluent in Polish overnight (yet) the same way there’s no pill that will get anyone fit that fast. You have to work for it. Luckily, this smart strategy will make everything easier and help you learn Polish faster than you’d imagine.
The secret is to follow a logical set of steps that will help your brain ease into the language and learn it naturally. Read on to discover how to learn Polish fast by yourself using a strategy consisting of 11 easy steps.
Is Polish hard to learn?
If you just decided to add Polish under your belt, you deserve congratulations. This means you didn’t let yourself become intimidated by the rumors regarding Polish being one of the hardest languages to learn.
According to the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) of the US government, a native English speaker would need about 1100 class hours or 44 weeks of practice to become fluent in Polish.
Thus, Polish is not actually one of the hardest languages to learn because it does not compete directly with Japanese, Chinese or Korean. It’s true it is not one of the easiest either, but this shouldn’t discourage you. After all, you’re about to discover the most efficient strategy on how to learn Polish fast.
Ultimately, it all depends on how motivated you are. If you are really passionate and dedicated to learning Polish, the entire process will be effortless.
1. Get used to the sound of the Polish language
First things first. Before starting to learn Polish, you have to let your brain get used to the sound of the Polish language. Listen to podcasts in Polish, watch videos in Polish or listen to Polish music – whatever you want.
While it may seem against reason to listen to audios in Polish before actually knowing basic Polish, it will help your brain ease into the language. Did it ever happen to you to travel to a foreign country, hear its foreign language for days on end, then come back home and hear the same language although people were speaking your mother language? That was your brain that had gotten used to certain sounds and now tried to identify them again.
To apply the first step of this Polish learning strategy, you’ll have to try to replicate that situation and get your brain ready for the next step.
2. Learn the Polish alphabet
Contrary to popular belief, it’s great to learn the Polish alphabet before actually diving into the language. How would you read Polish texts if you don’t recognize the letters?
The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and it has 32 letters: 9 vowels and 23 consonants. In addition to the letters you already know, you’ll also find nine Polish letters with diacritics:
- the tail known as ogonek (ą, ę);
- the acute accent or kreska (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź);
- the overdot or kropka (ż);
- the stroke (ł).
Not very difficult, is it?
3. Master the Polish pronunciation rules
When it comes to pronunciation rules, the good news is that Polish is a phonetic language. This means that Polish is pronounced the same way it’s written. Besides, it has no silent letters.
However, this doesn’t mean Polish doesn’t have its tricky pronunciation rules. You’ll have to pay extra attention to its consonant clusters, digraphs and trigraphs.
Once you have mastered the Polish alphabet and its pronunciation rules, you’ll know how to read every new word in Polish. This means you can safely move on to the most exciting step so far!
4. Learn the most common Polish words
Expanding your Polish vocabulary is – without a doubt – the most straightforward path to Polish fluency. The more words you know, the closer you are to being conversational. Nevertheless, not all words carry equal weight. Studies have shown that knowing the 100 most common Polish words will help you understand 50% of any text in Polish.
If you want to work smarter, not harder, you should focus on these high-frequency, high-value words first. Imagine learning as little as two new Polish words per day. In 50 days, you’ll understand half of any communication in Polish. Isn’t this amazing?
5. Continue with Polish phrases
The next logical step is to put some context around those words.
It’s best to not get stuck with words for too long. Once you have mastered the most common ones, learning whole Polish phrases will help you get fluent faster. Your brain will make the connections and fill in the gaps as you go.
It’s easier to speak Polish if you’re already familiar with the context of a word. If you focus too much on single words, you’ll be inclined to construct the phrases in your native language and only then translate them into Polish. And that’s not your goal. Your goal is to shorten the process and think directly in Polish.
6. Speak Polish from day 1
Everybody knows that learning by doing is the most effective learning method. And speaking Polish makes no exception.
If you speak Polish from day 1, you’ll allow your speech muscles to get used to the pronunciation as your progress through your learning journey. This way, you won’t begin training your speech muscles at the end when you should already be speaking Polish.
In addition, speaking the language from the beginning will help you get rid of the anxiety. We are all nervous when we need to speak a foreign language in front of other people. But practicing speaking regularly can help you gain confidence in time.
7. Dive into Polish grammar
Most people don’t enjoy this step in the learning strategy. Unfortunately, it can’t be dodged. It’s in your best interest to dive into the Polish grammar and make sure you’re delivering the message correctly.
Did you know that good grammar can open doors? According to some studies, recruiters tend not to like applications that have poor spelling and grammar. In addition, people on dating apps are less likely to continue talking to someone who uses poor grammar.
If you are still having doubts about this step, don’t forget that studying Polish grammar will structure the knowledge you have already gained. In turn, this will help you make further connections on your own.
8. Experience immersion
If you can’t travel to Poland, bring the Polish culture to you.
Immersion is known as one of the most effective ways of learning a new language and not having the means to travel to Poland shouldn’t keep you from experiencing it. Apart from watching Youtube videos in Polish, listening to Polish audiobooks (if you’re a fantasy fan, you’ll absolutely love listening to The Witcher in its original language), you can also experience immersion with Mondly VR.
Using Mondly VR, you’ll be able to practice small-talk on a train to Warsaw, book a hotel room in Kraków, or order food in a restaurant in Poznań – all from the comfort of your home in virtual reality.
You’ll get instant feedback on your pronunciation, intelligent suggestions to enrich your Polish vocabulary and surprises that will transform language practice into a game-like experience. It is as amazing as it sounds! Learn more about this futuristic experience here.
9. Learn Polish in short bursts every day
Okay, now let’s face the truth: all the previous steps are useless if you’re not consistent. Imagine what it would be like to forget most of everything you’ve learned because one day you just stopped practicing Polish.
The best way to learn Polish is to study the language in short bursts every day. Avoid tiring yourself learning for hours one day and then not learning at all the next few. Instead, practice for as little as 10 to 15 minutes daily and allow your brain to cement the knowledge bit by bit. This way, you’ll ensure maximum retention with the least amount of effort.
Your motto for this step: “Practice Polish a little bit every day and speak like a native forever!”.
10. Practice reading and writing in Polish
You’re finally here: understanding and speaking Polish effortlessly. What’s next?
Unfortunately, not practicing Polish for a while can lead to forgetting. We’ve all been there with the foreign languages we studied in high school but never used again.
Therefore, if you want some extra practice to keep the Polish language fresh in your mind, you can read or write in Polish. It will help you to both expand and keep your knowledge.
11. Download the best app to learn Polish
This is not necessarily an extra step, but a step that can offer support in completing the previous ten ones.
Say goodbye to tiring memorization techniques, entire pages full of conjugations and expensive tutors. Mondly makes learning Polish a breeze. The app will support you through each of the previous steps by accelerating the process and ensuring you’re focusing only on what truly matters.
If you are ready to start learning Polish today with Mondly, you’ll get access to:
- hands-on, interactive Polish lessons to help you study in short bursts every day;
- crystal-clear audios of native speakers so you can learn from the best;
- practical topics to help you build useful language skills for real life;
- real-life conversations so you can experience immersion;
- smart suggestions and instant feedback on your pronunciation.
Follow each step of this strategy while also letting Mondly help and you’re guaranteed to become fluent in Polish. Good luck!