Dlaczego uczysz się polskiego?
(Why are you learning Polish)
That is a question I have been asking myself over the last month or so when I embarked on a course at Manchester University to try and learn Polish.
It was also the first question that our nauczycielka (teacher) asked us on day one of the course. It didn't boost my confidence to find out I was the odd one out as most of the group are learning Polish because they have Polish wives, husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends.
So by means of an answer to the above question...
Uczę się polskiego bo lubię języki obce i zeby rozmawiać ze znajomymi z Polski.
(Because I like foreign languages and in order to speak with my friends from Poland)
It is widely acknowledged that Polish is a difficult language to learn. A missionary priest in seminary once told me that it was easier to learn Chinese than Polish!!! I have never attempted Chinese so I cannot comment.
Yes Polish is a difficult language both from a pronunciation point of view and from a grammatical point of view so why would I want to put myself through the difficulties of learning this language.
Apart from the reason given above I am trying to learn Polish so that I can better minister to my polish parishioners who now make up a good part of the congregation. It cannot be easy for them who are trying to pray and worship in a language that is not their own. I remember the first time I went on holiday to a place where I couldn't speak the language - what a relief it was to hear someone speaking English.
Language is so much more than a tool of communication. Speaking another language implies that you know or understand something about the culture and history and traditions of that country and its people.
I had my first taste of Poland and its people when I was sent as a seminarian to Poland to teach English to my fellow seminarians. It is an experience I will never forgot. Visiting as country that is almost 100% Catholic has a very different feel to it and also a country where the Church has played such an important role in shaping the life of that country.
I will be forever grateful to Ks Roman Komaryczyko who first invited me to Poland and allowed me to experience a different culture, language and tradition. Bóg zapłać.
Tuesday was the last night of the course until after Christmas. We resume our studies in February. Until then I must wait for the results of the exam took on Tuesday.