I want to say…

Chciałbym powiedzieć „chcę”
I think that now I can
I think I finally fathomed
Just how to say, „chcę”

It’s a tricky blighter
With “ch” “c” and “ę”
In “ch” the “c” is silent
The second “c” as “ts”

But that blighter “ę” on the end
He’s the make or break one
To make its sound it defies me
My tongue goes round and round

No similar sound in English
It’s like “ee-awn” but not
You have to say it in your nose
Tricky when you have snot

I think I finally fathomed
Here’s thankfully the thing
With English perspicacity
Just how to say, „chcę”

But here’s the thought that thankfully
Throws back the trial task
“Th” you see is not something
That occurs in Polish

So faced with “rz” and “cz”
“Dz”, “szcz”
I think that this though is the thought
That thoroughly, I thank you.

OK, it’s not brilliant and doesn’t quite scan in places but I was rather pleased with the result, but then I’m easily pleased… sometimes.
Getting to grips with a new language is quite an excursion and the 50 or 60 year old mind doesn’t lend itself easily to it, but I’m happy to say I’ve tried.
I’m still trying and yes, some will say I’m very trying.

Am I fluent yet? Oh good grief no, don’t be silly, hardly intermediate level but slowly (I won’t say, and surely) with each visit to Poland I get my head around a little bit more of the language.

Polish is a Slavic language, West Slavic to be a little more precise and I think these languages are perceived by us out here, soon to fall off of the edge of Europe, to be somewhat gruff and abrupt. Polish is actually quite a polite and well-mannered language; most shops, bars, clubs etc. have signs not only advising you of their opening hours but also inviting you inside, you are invited.
Zapraszamy Pn.-Pt. 7-19 sob. 8-17 – that doesn’t faze me anymore.

A couple of years ago I was in a hotel lift in Warsaw travelling from the fifth to the ground floor. At the third floor two people, a man and a woman, got into the lift. They were in mid conversation but upon entering the lift they both said “Dzień dobry” to the other occupants of the lift. They continued their conversation and got out on the first floor but not before saying “Do widzenia” to us fellow travellers continuing to the ground floor.
Very polite.


Chciałbym powiedzieć – I’d like to say…
Chcę – want, I want
Zapraszamy – we invite you

Dzień dobry – hello, literally “day good”
Do widzenia – goodbye, literally “until we see each other again”


4 thoughts on “I want to say…

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