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Differences between Polish and English
Osoby mówiące po polsku
English as an additional language (EAL) developmental features
Courtesy of Hampshire Ethnic Minority Achievement Service
General Differences
Polish grammar is in some respects more complex than English. For example,
Polish noun endings change, depending on the use of the noun in the sentence.
When writing, Polish uses capital letters for names of countries and their nationals,
but not for the adjective.
Like many languages, the English "th" sound does not exist in Polish, and it will often
be pronounced as more of a "v" sound. Different letter combinations exist in Polish,
in particular using "z" : cz, dz, dź¸, dż, rz, sz.
Polish Alphabet
There are 32 letters in the Polish alphabet:
Polish children use names when learning their alphabet e.g. A for Adam, B for
Barbara etc. The following letters are pronounced roughly the same as in English:
Word Order
Word order is generally similar to English. An exception to this is an inversion of the
English word order to indicate possession; the Polish would be "dom poety" - the
house of the poet, rather than the poet's house.
Consonant letters followed by the letter "i" represent sounds which combine with a y
sound like in "yes".
Polish "ch" is pronounced like the "ch" in the Scottish "loch".
c = English "ch " or "ts" as in "cats"
j = "y" sound as in "yes"
r = rolled or trilled "r" sound
w = "v"
ł = normally a sound like English "w"
Vowels in Polish normally have one consistent sound. "Y " is seen as a vowel in
Polish, and has a short "i" sound , as in the English word "bid". Vowel combinations
do exist in the Polish language
a = sounds like the "a" in "father"
i = a long "ee" sound as in "keen"
o = like the "o" in "box"
ó (and u) are both pronounced the same, like the "oo" in "boot", e.g. Bóg(God) and
Bug (River Bug) are both pronounced "Boog".
Where English would use the present form of a verb to talk about the future, Polish
would use the future. This may be carried over into English for example “When I will
be in England , I will come and see you”.
A typical Polish noun is either masculine or feminine, therefore Polish children will
refer to nouns as “he” or “she”, rather than “it”. Nouns change their form depending
on their use in a sentence, so the word poet, may be poeta, poety, poetą or poecie, .
The "y" in "poety" indicates possession, the equivalent of the English apostrophe "s" .
Other Words and Grammar
Polish omits the article where one would be used in English, e.g.“This is large house”
in place of “This is a large house”.
Correcting English
All people should be encouraged to correct the English which may be easily done by
repeating an incorrect phrase in the correct form, but without specifically drawing
attention to it as a “mistake”.
A division sign may be written as : (a colon) e.g. 2:3 (means 2/3)
A multiplication sign like a decimal point e.g. 3 ∙ 2 (means 3 x 2).
Also, a decimal point may be written as a comma e.g. 3,2 (means 3.2).