Attempting to learn Polish can be one of the biggest challenges a language learner will face. Polish is considered to be one of the top 10 most difficult languages to learn for English speakers. It is full of weird-sounding words, such as chrząszcz or brzęczeć, which make any foreigner flinch at the attempt to pronounce them.
What makes the Polish language so hard to learn is not only the pronunciation but also the grammar. As a Polish language learner, you will need to overcome many grammatical challenges, such as seven declension cases, irregularities that don't always make sense, and word transformations that will make your head hurt.
Polish is no doubt a very difficult language, but if you're planning a trip to Poland or you just want to learn some Polish to be able to communicate with friends or relatives, knowing a few useful expressions will come in handy. The goal of this article is to help you learn a few of these expressions.
Let’s take a look at the most basic expressions in the Polish language:
This is probably the most used phrase in Polish, meaning "Good morning". It's a formal greeting which you can use throughout the day, from morning till evening hours. Polish people love it when a foreigner greets them in the native language, so when you're in Poland make sure to use it whenever you can!
Jak się masz?
“Jak się masz?” means “How are you?” and is absolutely vital in any interaction you will have with a Polish person, whether it’s on the streets of a Polish city or with friends or family. You can use it to start any conversation with a local.
This may be a somewhat confusing expression, as it can be used in many contexts. One of them is as a way to say "you're welcome" after someone says thank you. Another meaning of "Proszę" is simply “Please".
This is a very useful expression for anyone who travels to Poland, which means "I don't understand". You can use it any time you're chatting with a Polish native speaker and they suddenly forget that they are talking to a foreigner.
This means "Cheers!" and it is used while raising your beer or vodka (or other alcoholic beverage) and clinking glasses. It can also be said after someone sneezes (an equivalent of "Bless you!").
Proszę mówić wolniej
Another very useful expression for anyone learning Polish! If you ever find yourself in a situation when a Polish person starts talking away in Polish and all you understand is a bunch of noises, you can ask them to speak more slowly and say “Proszę mówić wolniej”.
This expression means “Please repeat” and will come in handy in many situations when you have to communicate in Polish.
Dziękuję & Przepraszam
These words are extremely important to know in every language you’re planning on communicating in. “Dziękuję” means “thank you” and “przepraszam” means “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me”. If the interaction is casual, you can also use “Dzięki” which is an abbreviation of “Dziękuję”, an equivalent of “thanks”.
“Wszystkiego najlepszego” translated quite literally means “all the best” and it’s an expression Polish people use to wish someone a happy birthday. Polish people don’t wish you a happy birthday, they wish you all the best on the occasion of your birthday!
This is a casual expression to say bye to someone you have a casual friendship with! “Na razie” translated literally means “for now” and it’s used to say “see you”.
Whether you have a Polish partner or you are dating in Poland, these useful romantic expressions will help you express your feelings. Some of these can also be used with friends or family!
This is the most straightforward way to say “I love you” in Polish. If you love someone very much, you can also add “Bardzo” in front of it and say “Kocham Cię bardzo”, which means “I love you very much.”
If you’re planning on texting it to someone, note that in Polish the personal pronouns (referring to “you”) are written with a capital letter which is a sign of respect towards the person you’re writing to.
“Lubię Cię” literally means “I like you”. It can be used in the same context as it is used in English, both romantically and casually, for example with friends.
Podobasz mi się
This expression also means “I like you”, but it’s used strictly in the romantic context. If you want to tell someone that you have a crush on them or you feel attracted to them, you can use this expression!
Tęsknię za Tobą
This means “I miss you” and can be used in the same way as it is used in English. There are surprises or hidden meanings here!
Misiu, kotku, żabko, myszko…
Polish people tend to call each other by cute animal names, as a sign of their affection towards someone. You can call someone “misiu” which means “teddy bear”, “kotku” which means “kitten” (it is just as applicable to men as it is to women), “żabko” which means “frog” (yes, frogs are cute) or “myszko” which means “mouse”. The last two are mostly applicable to women, as both “żabka” (frog) and “myszka” (mouse) are of feminine gender in the Polish language.
“Kochanie” means “My love” and is a very affectionate and probably the most common way to call your partner or someone you’re in love with.
Daj mi buzi!
“Daj mi buzi” is a very cute way to tell someone to give you a kiss. “Buzi” is a word that parents use with little kids to say “kiss”.
Although Polish people like compliments, you always need to consider the context before complimenting someone. Polish people tend to be very polite and expect the same level of politeness from anyone they meet! When giving a compliment, make sure to be as tactful as possible.
With that said, here are some useful phrases you can use to compliment someone in Polish:
Jesteś piękna or Jesteś przystojny
“Jesteś piękna” is an expression you would use to compliment a woman which means “you’re beautiful”. If you’re complimenting a man in Polish, you should use “Jesteś przystojny” meaning “you’re handsome”.
You can use this expression to compliment someone’s appearance. It is suitable both for men and women and it means “you look great” (świetnie means great in Polish).
Dobrze Ci w tym kolorze/fryzurze
If you want to compliment something specific about someone’s appearance, this expression can come in handy. “Dobrze Ci w tym kolorze” means “this color suits you”. You can also use this to compliment someone’s new haircut. In this case, you would say “Dobrze Ci w tej fryzurze” meaning “This haircut suits you.”
Masz bardzo ładny uśmiech
One of the most beautiful things about a person is their smile. If you want to compliment someone’s smile in Polish, you can say “Masz bardzo ładny uśmiech” meaning “you have a very beautiful smile”. They will smile back with a shy “dziękuję”!.
A person’s appearance is not the only thing we can compliment. A very useful expression you can use to compliment someone’s work is “Dobra robota” which simply means “good job”.
Świetnie mówisz po angielsku!
If you’re speaking with a Polish person in English, you can compliment them on how well they speak by saying “Świetnie mówisz po angielsku”. It simply means “You speak English very well”. A lot of Polish people, especially young ones, know and understand English but most of them are quite shy when it comes to speaking it so this compliment will make them smile!
Jesteś bardzo utalentowany/a
If a friend, an acquaintance, or a member of your family is demonstrating their talent, you can complement them by saying “Jesteś bardzo utalentowany” (or “jesteś bardzo utalentowana” if they are a woman). This simply means “You’re very talented”.
Nieźle się trzymasz!
This is quite a casual expression which you’d mainly use to compliment someone who you’ve known for some time but haven’t seen in a while. “Nieźle się trzymasz” means “You still look good”, although that’s not the literal translation (the literal translation doesn’t make sense in English!).
Expressing your opinion is a very important part of every language. Polish people tend to be very polite, tactful, and diplomatic when expressing their opinion. Here are a few useful expressions that you can use in Polish to express yours:
(Nie) Zgadzam się!
If you want to tell someone that you agree with them or you want to say that you agree with something in general, you can say “Zgadzam się”. On the other hand, if you want to say that you don’t agree you should add “nie” in front of this expression: “Nie zgadzam się” .
If you want to tell someone that they are right, you can say “Masz rację”. This simply means “You are right.”.
This is one of the most common expressions used to directly state your opinion. “Moim zdaniem” means “In my opinion”.
Expressing what you think is very important in some conversations. You can do that using the expression “Myślę, że” which means “I think that”. You can also throw in “nie” in front of this expression to make it negative.
Ja tak nie uważam.
This is a casual expression that will help you disagree with someone. “Ja tak nie uważam” means “I don’t think so”.
(Nie) Podoba mi się or (Nie) Lubię
When you want to express that you like something you can use either “Podoba mi się” (which is used mostly when referring to the visual aspect of things or people) or “Lubię” which is a general expression for “I like”. If you want to say that you don’t like something, you should put “nie” in front of these expressions to make it negative.
Czy mogę coś powiedzieć?
This is a useful expression that can come in handy if you’re discussing something in a group and want to say something. In such a situation, you can politely say “Czy mogę coś powiedzieć?” which means “Can I say something?”.
This is an expression which you would use in situations when you want to express your sorrow or empathy towards a negative situation that happened to someone. “Przykro mi” means “I’m sorry” in English.
If you’re planning on traveling to Poland or you just want to sound a little bit more native while speaking Polish with your friends or family, these expressions will help you a lot. Even though Polish is a very niche language, which is only spoken in Poland and the Poles who emigrated abroad, it is a beautiful and interesting language to learn. Knowing Polish will also open many doors for you if you ever want to live or work in Poland or take on a job opportunity that requires the Polish language.