Guys, real talk. Probably your English is really good, especially if you’re reading my blog. I’m not saying that Poles don’t speak English well. On the contrary, I’m impressed how so many people are able to speak so well without ever having lived in an English-speaking country. I make a living on the fact that you make errors so that’s cool with me. BUT I can’t stand hearing and correcting these mistakes anymore. Don’t dare ask me “but are these big mistakes?” A mistake is a mistake is a mistake. You can easily fix these and your English will immediately make a much better impression. So let’s take a look!
Stop using “I think yes” and other Polishisms. I have 22 years. I am running every day. I’m going to home. Localization. My hairs are. What means that? I very like. You have right. How is ___ in English? Italian kitchen. Big money. I invite you.
A little quiz: put your corrections for these in the comments! Let’s see who can get them all 🙂
It’s nearly impossible to speak a second language without using your first as a model for the way sentences should be structured and phrases should sound. But it’s important to at least try and rid your language of the most basic mistakes, like the ones listed above. Imagine if someone “Jestem 28” or “ona jest 7” every time they talked about age in Polish. It would drive you fucking crazy! Of course I’m saying this as a very patient and understanding teacher.
Stop mispronouncing very common words. Comfortable. Vegetable. Mountain. Photography. Available. Salmon. Journey. Onion. Bird. Receipt. Doubt. Though. Biscuit. Queue. Interesting.
Check this video for the correct pronunciation:
Pronunciation is a bitch in English. That’s the truth. You can blame the influence of other languages, British and American differences, and just the passage of time for that. But really, at least these common words need to be pronounced properly. Particularly anything ending in “on” or “or”.
Common, lemon, person, weapon, Washington, doctor, conductor. “on” makes more of a Polish “yn” sound meaning you should say “lemyn” or “persyn”. And “or” makes more of an “er” sound. So doctor should sound like “docter”, like “writer” or “teacher”.
Another fun example:
fan vs. fun sang vs. sung drank vs. drunk — Poles tend to use the Polish “a” sound, which in English actually sounds something in between “a” and “u”. This causes problems because I don’t know whether you’re saying “fan” or “fun”. Try it!
And yet another:
Stop using the Polish sound for “i” in English words. I’d say this is the biggest issue. The English “i” is most often pronounced the same way as the Polish “y”. This makes words like big, fish, and sit sound totally different. So let’s take these examples:
live vs. leave it vs. eat this vs. these sick vs. seek ship vs. sheep bitch vs. beach shit vs. sheet
Check out this video for the correct pronunciation:
If you say the first words incorrectly, you’ll actually be saying the second ones. When you hit your funny bone and yell “Shit!” would you like it to sound like “Prześcieradło!” No, of course not. That’s absurd but honestly it doesn’t sound that bad as an expletive.
Stop writing sentences with Polish word order. Word order in English is generally subject —> verb — > object.
You say: In my class are many pretty girls. In our city live a lot of homeless people. I all the time make mistakes in English. I went yesterday to the mall. English is for me too difficult.
You should say: There are many pretty girls in my class. A lot of homeless people live in our city. I make mistakes in English all the time. I went to the mall yesterday. English is too difficult for me.
I know, I get it. Every time I say “o co chodzi tutaj” my husband laughs. So I know it’s hard not to form sentences with the structure of your native language. Now that you know it should be different, you can try and form sentences using the English word order. Don’t worry, this comes with time.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I’d be happy to help! xo!