You are planning a trip to Poland, maybe you’re visiting Poland for the first time? Or maybe you met someone interesting from this country, and they only speak Polish. How do you communicate? How do you express basic phrases? The answer is simple: You need to learn the basic phrases that will allow you to express your thoughts.
Here you can learn some basic phrases in Polish:
Dzień dobry/Dobry wieczór (good day/good evening) – is the phrase used for an official greeting. With the phrase „Dzień dobry” You can say hello all day long until nightfall. But when it gets dark outside it is better to say "Good evening". If you're greeting a young person, you can say hello with a short "Cześć". (Hello) - I'm sure they won't be offended. 😊
Do widzenia/Dobranoc (goodbye/good night) – is a phrase used for an official goodbye. So when you want to express your emotions when leaving a meeting or saying goodbye to your friend you can use this expression. In this case there is also an unofficial version, i.e. if the person you are saying goodbye to is young you can boldly say goodbye using the usual „Cześc” (Bye). Have you noticed something? Yes, you can use the same word for greetings and goodbyes - "cześć" - just remember, only unofficially.
Proszę (here you are/please) – is a phrase that will come in handy when you want to be polite when handing someone an item. When you give your credit card to the waiter, use "Proszę". And if you want to ask someone for a beer, for example, you will also use this word saying: "piwo, proszę". This is a very useful word at all times.
Dziękuję/Dzięki (Thank you/Thanks) – Without this word you will not be perceived as a nice and polite person, so learn it and use it often. "Dziękuję" is a bit more polite and more official. Use "Dzięki" for people you already know better.
Tak/Nie/Nie wiem (Yes/No/I don’t know) – how necessary these phrases are. If you don't master them well, you may be surprised when you answer a question with "Tak" and you unknowingly agree to something you didn't want. Learn to distinguish these words well and you will certainly save yourself from being surprised.
Przepraszam (Excuse me/I’m sorry) – This is another important and useful phrase that can help you in many situations, e.g. when you want to get off the metro and someone is blocking the door. What do you do? Just say "I'm sorry" and the person will immediately make room for you to pass. What if you inadvertently bump into someone in the store or step on someone's foot? Immediately say "Przepraszam". You will definitely avoid unpleasant or maybe offensive comments towards you! Because even though they would have been in a foreign language, they still would not have been nice.
Nie rozumiem (I don’t understand) – This word is like a protective shield, because you can hide behind it safely when you do not know what to say. When a person speaks to you and you see that they want your acknowledgement and you don't understand anything. Say boldly “Nie rozumiem" and everything will become simpler for you and the other person will switch to trying to communicate by using hand gestures.
Jak masz na imię? (What’s your name?) – is a phrase that will let you know other's names. However, this is an informal phrase, so it is better not to use it in relation to public persons, i.e. in the office. In Poland, the formal language is very important and it is better not to try to talk to a policeman using the pronoun "you". However, when you want to start a relationship in a pub with an interesting person sitting at the table next to you, a smile and the question "What's your name" will let you break the ice.
Jak się masz? (How are you?) – is an unofficial phrase and you can use it when talking to people with whom you have an unofficial relationship. However, when you are at an official meeting, or when you are trying to settle a matter in the office, do not use this question about the well-being of your interlocutor. You will be perceived as ignorant and are unlikely to gain the liking of the person you are talking to.
Czy mówisz po angielsku? (Do you speak English?) – is a phrase that will let you know if the person you are talking to will be able to talk to you in a language more familiar to you - English. But if you want to practice your Polish, don't give up so quickly and don't switch to your mother tongue. Support yourself with English, but still practice your Polish.
Ile to kosztuje? (How much is it?) – It's a very helpful phrase during shopping, which you will certainly be doing while in Poland. Even if you are not an advocate of buying souvenirs, there is no doubt that the ability to ask for the price "Ile to kosztuje?" will help you buy ice cream or water at the airport.
Na zdrowie! (Cheers, Bless you) – This is a phrase that will come in handy when you want to make a toast to the person whose birthday you are celebrating. "Na zdrowie" is also a phrase you will use when you hear someone sneeze. Shout "Na zdrowie" and in return you will hear the word you already know "Dziękuję".
These are only basic phrases, but by mastering them you will be able to feel more confident in a foreign land. You will establish faster relationships with people speaking in a language you do not understand. Learn Polish and start with these simple phrases.
Need help with pronunciation? Sign up for the Mastering the Polish Basics Course where you will not only learn to pronounce these phrases correctly, but you’ll learn to read! By learning to read, you’ll feel confident when you order food in a Polish restaurant, read the names of Polish friends and colleagues...but most importantly, you’ll be independent and not have to rely on the help of a translator to pronounce words correctly.