Thursday 2 October 2014

Don't Speak Polish like Polish Hagrid

Oooh la la! Or as Polish Pretend Son would say...[absolutely nothing accompanied by a withering stare].

For two weeks I have been working my fingers to the bone and my brain to the stem to implement the advice I read in the clever (if somewhat confusing and repetitive) Fluent Forever. I have made three hundred flashcards, every one with illustrations, and have memorized almost all of them.  (Three hundred more to go, and then I can get started on flashcards for the grammar.)

In addition, I have been listening to Polish conversations on my "Polish in Four Weeks: Intermediate" CD for twenty minutes every morning with such intensity that I now wander around moaning "Do kogo podajesz, ofermo? Nie do niego! Do Matuszaka! !" ("To whom are you passing [the football], idiot? Not to him! To Matuszek!") in heart-rending tones.

And of course I have been reading along with the audiotape of Harry Potter i Kamień Filosoficzny, which has also added new vocabulary to my brain. Unfortunately, some of that vocabulary has come from Hagrid, and it turns out that Hagrid speaks Polish the way Hagrid speaks English. Or, rather, the Polish translator has decided that Hagrid, whose English is  admittedly of a Newcastle variety, speaks Polish slang. And I found this out because there was a squeak of horror from my professional Polish teacher this evening when, casting around in my brain for the Polish for "my ancestors", I used "moi starszy."

Even at the time I thought that was a shot in the dark, for Hagrid used "starszy" to mean Harry Potter's parents, the late James and Lily. However, my teacher assures me that adults never, ever say this, and it is an expression used only by children.

And, presumably, fictional Polish half-giants.

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