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Learning Polish: "No, you can't have my cat"

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gwensel
11/27/2014 10:38 EST

After three years of living in Poland I'm quite satisfied with the fact that my Polish is finally on a more or less acceptable level, which means that I can have some conversations with the locals without using English, German or out of frustration my own language: Dutch (which never really helped me out in any other country, but okay)

I've been taking Polish lessons and although I'm still on a basic level with speaking, my listening and reading is way better, so I understand a lot. I'm just very quiet when someone asks me something.

Whenever I can I speak Polish -or at least I try/pretend to speak Polish- and usually that makes me feel proud. But not always. Lately I was doing my groceries after a 1,5 hour long Polish lesson, so I felt quite confident. I walked up to the cash desk to pay for my food, drinks and cat litter for the fluffy black hair ball that is called Mika.

Everything went smoothly and I think the cashier thought I was cute with my not so perfect Polish. I gathered all my stuff and lifted the heavy cat litter into the shopping cart when the lady suddenly asked me: "Can I please have your cat?"

A moment of silence went by and I was staring at her all puzzled: "My cat??!?!?? You want my cat?"

The word for cat in Polish is 'kot' and I was sure she just said that. I asked her to repeat herself and she said it again. She still wanted my cat! I explained to her that it's my cat and unfortunately she couldn't have it. The weirdest question ever, if you ask me.

Now she was the silent one, but not for long: after a few confusing seconds she slowly said: "kod pocztowy", which just means postal code. With a red face I gave her my postal code in crappy Polish, apologised, said goodbye and walked out as fast as I could.

I still have a lot to learn, but at least my cat knows I'm loyal to her.

Check out my blog: polskaaah.blogspot.com

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srlucado
11/27/2014 12:03 EST

Reminds me of when I was attending Mass in Spanish one day. I'm learning a lot of Spanish by contact, since my parish become ever more hispanic.

Anyway, one day we had a prayer, "Dios crea in mi un corazon puro", which means, "God, create in me a pure heart." But what I heard was "...un corazon burro".

It made me wonder why I would want God to give me the heart of a donkey.

(I figured it out soon thereafter.)

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gwensel
11/27/2014 12:20 EST

Hahaja that's a good one! :-D

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julielaura1
11/27/2014 13:36 EST

It gave me a good laugh, I have lived in Poland 3 years and still cannot hold a conversation!

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gwensel
11/27/2014 13:38 EST

Don't give up a Julie :-) we will make it one day!

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marcopolacco
2/7/2016 18:09 EST

Hi, Polish can be tricky, but it's also fun to use. I'm from Italy, so it was not easy for me to learn Polish. I made many mistakes, so I decided to go to a good Polish course. My friend recommended Prolog: www.polishcourses.com. It worked out fine for me. Now I'm a confident Polish speaker. It's a nice language, I really like it, though it's so much different from my mother tongue.

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ddwoj
6/17/2016 03:39 EST

Good for you :D Polish is a difficult language if someone doesn't know the basics. :)

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JustynaStrent
11/12/2016 08:20 EST

That's hilarious :-). It's because in Polish we have so called "ubezdzwiecznienie": voiced vowels become voiceless and the end of the word. The words "kot" and "kod" sound exactly the same. However, if she had wanted your cat she would have said "kota" (she surely used Accusative, not Nominative).
Good luck with Polish!

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SaraMarinho
8/17/2018 06:38 EST

Hey, it's a like totally common thing that you should learn polish. But it's way more difficult to learn English in Poland - https://buki.org.pl/korepetycje/jezyk-angielski/ to see what it's could be done.

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