Polish Drinking Vocabulary

Have you ever drunk very cold Polish vodka surrounded by Polish friends? Did you raise your short glass and loudly said “Na zdrowie”? It actually doesn’t matter if you did or not – being interested in Polish culture means, you can’t avoid drinking or at least knowing some important drinking vocabulary! Here I come with help so no drinking situation will surprise you 馃檪

Listen to my new podcast about drinking alcohol in Poland! Kliknij tutaj.

W贸dka ( also: czysta, gorza艂ka)聽

When you buy 0.5 l you can call it po艂贸wka, if 0.7 – simply zero siedem but if you get a tiny 100 ml bottle it’s called ma艂peczka (little monkey).

We drink vodka in kieliszki – short glasses. They used to be 50 or 60 ml big but due to some EU law nowadays restaurants in Poland will serve you vodka in 40ml glasses. In my grandma’s times vodka used to be drunk in literatki – 150ml glasses. Hardcore!

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How do we drink vodka? First of all it must be really cold, almost frozen so when you pour it into your mouth you don’t taste the strong taste. You drink the whole kieliszek at once, you shouldn’t divide it into halves because it means you are weak or you have s艂aba g艂owa – weak head. (On the other hand people who can drink a lot have mocna g艂owa – stron head). After drinking it you should drink popitka – soda or juice to rinse your mouth off vodka’s taste. You can also bite some zagryzka – a snack , usually og贸rek kiszony, jajko w majonezie – eggs with mayo, paluszki – bread sticks or kanapki – sandwiches. After you are done with the first glass, the host would probably want to refill it asking nicely Pola膰 ci? Should I fill your glass? There is no point in saying no. If you refuse drinking in Poland you are an abstynent.聽 And there are not many reasons for you to be abstynent which would allow you to maintain host’s trust. Some of them are: Jestem w ci膮偶y – I am pregnant, Prowadz臋 – I’m driving or, maybe, Jestem niepij膮cym alkoholikiem – I’m an alcoholic who quit.聽

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Try to nie upi膰 si臋聽 – not to get drunk in Poland. How to do it? Drink a lot of water while drinking. Don’t mix different liquors. Eat a lot before and during the party. The hosts can offer you their homemade wine – wino domowej roboty or nalewka – very sweet liquor, also homemade. It’s tasty but tricky! Also be careful if they offer you bimber – homemade very strong vodka, usually about 80% strong! It’s a hell! If you drink it you would surely be: pijany – drunk. There are several words describing this state in Polish. If you are tipsy you can say you are wstawiony or podchmielony. If you can’r recognize your own wife and you wake up in a toilet you were probably nar膮bany, spity, napity, nawalony or nachlany. Avoid it! Drinking smartly will gain you respect. Trying to drink as much as your father-in-law can end up with serious humiliation. A person who had drunk too much can czu膰 sie niedobrze – to feel sick, traci膰 r贸wnowag臋 – to lose balance, be艂kota膰 – to mumble,聽 zgonowa膰 (very colloquial) – to lose conscious or to fall asleep when drunk. You can also i艣膰 w臋偶ykiem do domu – to walk home in zigzags.

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After such a party your state won’t be better. You will have kac – hangover. If it’s a very strong kac we call it kac morderca – hangover the murderer. Your head can feel like cracking – g艂owa mi p臋ka, or humming – szumi mi w g艂owie. You can even wymiotowa膰 – to throw up or more colloquially saying – rzyga膰.

Piwo

We also love beer in Poland. Piwo can be also called browar which is actually the name of a place where piwo is brewed – a brewery. It’s very common to order piwo lane – draught beer in a restaurant. Ladies used to drink piwo z sokiem malinowym lub imbirowym聽 – beer with raspberry or ginger syrup. We also like the foam – pianka. In nineties there was a popular commercial of beer suggesting pianka should be na dwa palce – two fingers thick. Now all Poles remember this rule.

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聽 Poles used to have very classic taste in beer and choose jasne piwo聽– light beer over ciemne piwo聽– dark beer but it’s changing. Nowadays a lot of people choose piwo kraftowe聽– beer from small browary.聽I remember during my last visit to Krak贸w my friend took me to a place which had around 30 beczki piwa (barrels of beer) and I wanted to go crazy. I ordered piwo Earl Grey which was not that bad, but my husband got piwo kokosowe聽 – coconut beer which was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.聽

One more detail about drinking beer. The standard beer size is 0.5l so if you just say Poprosz臋 jedno piwo you won’t get a small one for sure. You need to ask Poprosz臋 ma艂e piwo for 0.3 glass.

Other types of alcohol

We are not big fans of other types of alcohol. Some people chose wino聽and in Polish supermarkets or sklep monopolowy – shop with alcohol you can find wino bia艂e i czerwone in for versions – wytrawne – dry, p贸艂wytrawne – semidry, p贸艂s艂odkie – semisweet and s艂odkie – sweet. The sweet ones are usually prefered as well as wino domowej roboty – homemade wide.聽聽

We drink wine in lampki or kieliszki do wina – both words mean wine glasses. Students won’t mind drinking wine in plastikowe kubeczki – plastic cups but they also won’t say no to jabol (vulg.) – the cheapest wine in carton. It’s not uncommon to mix tanie wino – cheap wine with coke. After this mix you can be sure you will be chased by kac morderca!

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If you have other questions about drinking culture and vocabulary in Poland, feel free to leave me a comment! And of course, don’t forget to listen to the episode PD054!

Read morePolish Drinking Vocabulary

Co zwykle m贸wi膮 polskie mamy?

Wi臋kszo艣ci nastolatk贸w wydaje si臋, 偶e ich mama jest zbyt surowa i 偶e ci膮gle si臋 irytuje. Okazuje si臋, 偶e wi臋kszo艣膰 mam powtarza dok艂adnie te same teksty! Jestem ciekawa, czy Wasze mamy m贸wi膮 to samo, ale w innych j臋zykach?

Most of teenagers think their mum is too strict and gets irritated all the time. It turns out most of mums repeat exactly the same sentences! I’m curious if your mums say the same but in other languages?

Oto kilka typowych tekst贸w, kt贸re mo偶ecie us艂ysze膰 od polskiej mamy:

Here are some typical sentences you can hear from a Polish mum:

Przynajmniej mi臋so zjedz. Ziemniaki mo偶esz zostawi膰

Eat at least the meat. You can leave the potatoes.

Wyjmij 艂y偶eczk臋 z herbaty, bo oko sobie wyd艂ubiesz!

Take the teaspoon out of the tea because you will gauge yourself!

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A oto s艂owa, kt贸re mo偶esz us艂ysze膰 szczeg贸lnie wtedy, kiedy zawo艂a艂e艣/a艣 swoj膮 mam臋 po imieniu zamiast grzecznego “Mamo!”

These words you can hear especially when you called your mum using her first name instead of polite “Mamo!”

Nie jestem twoj膮 kole偶ank膮

I’m not your friend!

Mamy zwykle narzekaj膮, 偶e musz膮 po wszystkich sprz膮ta膰 i gdyby nie one, ca艂y dom zamieni艂by si臋 w wysypisko 艣mieci. M贸wi膮:

Mums usually complain they have to clean after everyone and if it wasn’t for them, the whole house would turn into a landfill. They say:

Tylko chodz臋 i po wszystkich sprz膮tam!

聽I only walk and clean after you all!

Jaki burdel w tym pokoju! Jeszcze tylko nasra膰 na 艣rodku.

What a mess in this room! There is only a shit in the middle missing!

Bozia r膮czek nie da艂a?

God gave you hands, didn’t he?

Czasami udaj膮 te偶 wr贸偶ki (a mo偶e rzeczywi艣cie potrafi膮 przewidywa膰 przysz艂o艣膰?!)

They also pretend to be fortune tellers (or maybe they can actually see into the future?!)

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B臋dziesz mia艂a swoje dzieci to zobaczysz!

You will have your own children and you will see!

Za kilka lat mi podzi臋kujesz!

You will thank me in a couple of years!

Nie zawsze s膮 szcz臋艣liwe z powodu twojego wyboru znajomych i autorytet贸w. Mog膮 wpa艣膰 w z艂o艣膰 i powiedzie膰:

They aren’t always very happy with your choice of friends and role models. They can get mad and say:

Ty nie jeste艣 wszyscy!

You are not anyone!

Dok膮d niby si臋 wybierasz!?

Where do you think you are going?!

A kiedy zrobi艂e艣/a艣 co艣, co wp臋dzi艂o j膮 w furi臋 and nie wiedzia艂a, jak z tob膮 o tym rozmawia膰, mog艂e艣/a艣 us艂ysze膰

And when you had done something what made her furious but she didn’t know how to talk to you about it, you could have heard:

Poczekaj tylko a偶 ojciec wr贸ci z pracy!

Just wait until your father comes back from work!

I najmocniejszy tekst, kt贸rego wszyscy si臋 boimy bo jej g艂os staje si臋 wysoki i zaczyna dr偶e膰:


And the most powerful one which we all fear because her voice gets high pitched and shaky:

Nie zaraz tylko TERAZ!

Not in a moment but NOW!

Read moreCo zwykle m贸wi膮 polskie mamy?

Polish compound words (z艂o偶enia i zrosty)

Polish compound words

W j臋zyku polskim jest bardzo du偶o z艂o偶e艅 i zrost贸w. Cz臋sto s膮 one do艣膰 kreatywne i brzmi膮 zabawnie. Przygotowa艂am dla Was zestaw kilku moich ulubionych. Je艣li Wam si臋 podobaj膮, podajcie je dalej! There are a lot of Polish compound words. They are often creative and they sound funny. I’ve prepared for you a set of my … Read morePolish compound words (z艂o偶enia i zrosty)

What are the most common colloquial words in Polish?

polish colloquial words

You keep asking for Polish colloquial words and I’m not surprised! Of course teachers (myself included) want to spread the correct and nice language but then you go to Poland and you hear these:聽 pieni膮dze (money) – kasa, forsa, hajs Sorry stary, ale nie id臋 na browara, bo nie mam hajsu. I’m sorry mate but … Read moreWhat are the most common colloquial words in Polish?

Czasowniki pochodz膮ce od bra膰 (zabra膰, wybra膰, dobra膰 etc.)

czasowniki pochodz膮ce od bra膰

Czasownik bra膰 w j臋zyku polskim powoduje du偶o problem贸w. Po pierwsze jest nieregularny : ja bior臋, ty bierzesz, on bierze, my bierzemy, wy bierzecie, oni bior膮 Po drugie ma nieregularn膮 form臋 aspektow膮 – wzi膮膰: ja wezm臋, ty we藕miesz, on we藕mie, my we藕miemy, wy we藕miecie, oni wezm膮. Po trzecie to bardzo popularny czasownik, kt贸ry ma wiele form … Read moreCzasowniki pochodz膮ce od bra膰 (zabra膰, wybra膰, dobra膰 etc.)

Zaawansowane przyimki / Advanced prepositions

zaawansowane przyimki

Na tej li艣cie znajdziesz 17 popularnych, ale zaawansowanych polskich przyimk贸w. Przeanalizuj przyk艂ady i zr贸b 膰wiczenie

Chyba 鈥 wyra偶a przypuszczenie, prawdopodobie艅stwo lub niepewno艣膰

Chyba nie chcesz, 偶eby mamie by艂o smutno, prawda?

M贸j m膮偶 naprawia dzisiaj kran w kuchni, ale chyba nie ma zielonego poj臋cia co robi.

Co 鈥 wyra偶a frekwencj臋

Je藕dzili艣my na wakacje do Hiszpanii co roku.

Co wiecz贸r powtarzam s艂贸wka z polskiego.

Jako 鈥 wyra偶a funkcj臋

Chocia偶 studiowa艂em prawo, pracuj臋 obecnie jako dziennikarz.

U偶ywasz mojego kubka jako doniczki na kaktusa?

Ku 鈥 wyra偶a cel

Zbli偶amy si臋 ku szczytowi g贸ry i za chwil臋 zobacz膮 Pa艅stwo pi臋kny widok po prawej.

Zwr贸ci艂em si臋 ku m臋偶czy藕nie siedz膮cemu za mn膮 i powiedzia艂em mu, 偶eby za艂o偶y艂 buty, bo jego stopy brzydko pachn膮.

Mimo 鈥 wyra偶a zrobienie czego艣 z przeszkodami

Mimo deszczu, poszli艣my na spacer.

Mimo mojej rady wyda艂a艣 ca艂膮 wyp艂at臋 na ubrania. Teraz jedz suchy chleb.聽

Niczym聽 – wyra偶a por贸wnanie

Zobaczy艂em dziewczyn臋 pi臋kn膮 niczym posta膰 z ba艣ni.

Pierogi smakuj膮 niczym ambrozja.

Niby 鈥 wyra偶a w膮tpienie

Niby mia艂em dzisiaj pracowa膰, ale jako艣 nie mam ochoty.

Niby ten kandydat na specjalist臋 ma dobre referencje, ale wydaje mi si臋 podejrzany.

Opr贸cz 鈥 wyra偶a wy艂膮czenie, brak nale偶enia do grupy

Wszyscy wyrazili zgod臋 na og艂oszenie pi膮tku Dniem P膮czka opr贸cz jednego kolegi, kt贸ry jest na diecie.

Opr贸cz mi臋sa, mleka i jajek mam r贸wnie偶 alergi臋 na wod臋 gazowan膮.

Odno艣nie 鈥 wyra偶a nawi膮zanie do wcze艣niej wspomnianej 聽informacji

Odno艣nie twojej wycieczki do Pary偶a, nadal uwa偶am, 偶e to z艂y pomys艂.

Odno艣nie naszej rozmowy telefonicznej – rozmawia艂am z szefiem, niestety nie zastanawia si臋 nad kupnem nowego chomika do biura. Przykro mi.聽

Poprzez 鈥 wyra偶a spos贸b, drog臋 do osi膮gni臋cia czego艣

Poprzez problemy ze znalezieniem pracy, nauczy艂em si臋, 偶e w biznesie licz膮 si臋 znajomo艣ci.

Mo偶esz du偶o nauczy膰 si臋 o sobie samym poprzez medytacj臋 i 膰wiczenie jogi.

Przeciw 鈥 wyra偶a brak zgody

Opozycja jest przeciw nowej ustawie o darmowych si艂owniach dla wszystkich obywateli.

Jestem zdecydowanie przeciw zakazowi jedzenia kie艂basy w biurze. Kie艂basa ma specyficzny zapach, ale to jest dobry zapach!

Po艣r贸d / w艣r贸d 鈥 wyra偶a przynale藕no艣膰 do grupy

Czy jest po艣r贸d was cho膰 jedna osoba, kt贸ra nigdy nie jad艂a ziemniak贸w?

W艣r贸d Polak贸w nie znajdziesz wielu rasist贸w sensu stricte.

Wed艂ug 鈥 wyra偶a zgod臋 z opini膮, intencj膮, planem

Ju偶 nied艂ugo nasza firma b臋dzie mog艂a wej艣膰 na gie艂d臋. Wszystko idzie wed艂ug planu!

Wed艂ug mojego ojca koty s膮 wrogami ludzi.

Wskutek 鈥 wyra偶a przyczyn臋

Wskutek silnej burzy, w ca艂ym mie艣cie nie by艂o pr膮du.

Rozstali艣my si臋 wskutek braku komunikacji.

Wzd艂u偶 鈥 wyra偶a relacj臋 przestrzenn膮

Spacerowali艣my wzd艂u偶 ulicy i pr贸bowali艣my rozmawia膰 o naszych problemach.

Psy bieg艂y wzd艂u偶 rzeki i szczeka艂y, bo zobaczy艂y w wodzie cia艂o zamordowanej kobiety.

Zamiast 鈥 wyra偶a zast膮pienie czego艣 czym艣 innym

Czy m贸g艂by艣 raz w 偶yciu powiedzie膰 mi komplement zamiast mnie ciagle krytykowa膰?

Zamiast krakersami light bez glutenu, mo偶e spr贸bujesz je艣膰 humus marchewk膮 lub papryk膮?

Zr贸b 膰wiczenie interaktywne i pobierz pdf z 膰wiczeniami

Read moreZaawansowane przyimki / Advanced prepositions

10 steps to make Polish listening practice less boring and more efficient

polish listening practice

Do you get bored listening to the same recordings again and again and you still can’t understand it completely or use the vocabulary? I’ve been there and I have some advices for you today! If you follow me on Social Media you probably know I spend a lot of time studying Arabic these days. I … Read more10 steps to make Polish listening practice less boring and more efficient

20 Polish slang words you won’t find in coursebooks

polish slang words

Do you want to speak Polish like doll-like Mami from your coursebook or rather like your laid-back Polish friends? Right…

I try not to teach my students any swear words (they don’t need me to teach them these…) but I believe you must know Polish slang words if you want to sound natural! So I analysed my conversations with friends, phone calls and comments on Facebook and in this article I’m going to give you 20 words and expressions we use everyday!

  1. Czemu聽= dlaczego = why
    • I use both but I have to admit “czemu” sounds more natural and you will hear it a lot in the street.
  2. Spoko ( also: spoczko, sponio) = W porz膮dku / Nie ma problemu / Nie przejmuj si臋 = All right / No problem / Don’t worry
    • There are several meanings of this word. You can use them to agree, to assure someone his mistake is not important, to calm someone down. It comes from the full word “spokojnie” which means calmly.
  3. Gada膰 = m贸wi膰 / rozmawia膰聽 = to speak / to talk
    • It’s interesting how “gada膰” can replace two verbs at once! When you are on the phone but you need to hang up you can say “Pogadamy p贸藕niej” – We will talk later. And when you’re telling your friend her new boy friend speaks a lot you can say “On strasznie du偶o gada!”.聽
    • There is a derived word from this verb – “gadu艂a” – a chatterbox
    • “wygada膰 si臋” means to speak to someone about problems to feel a relief or to spoil the beans eg. : “Mam problem i musz臋 si臋 komu艣 wygada膰!” (I have a problem and I need to tell someone about it)
  4. 艢ciema = k艂amstwo = a lie
    • When you hear something unbelievable you can exclaim: “To 艣ciema!”
  5. Git = w porz膮dku = cool
    • This one is not used by everyone. I personally find it childish but maybe your friends use it – you always need to ask a couple of Polish person how they feel about certain slang words because it will vary depending on their age and social circle.聽
    • Example: You are preparing a party and telling your roomates what they should do. ” Ty zrobisz zakupy, Wiola posprz膮ta 艂azienk臋, a ja zrobi臋 jedzenie i b臋dzie git!”
  6. Nara (also: narka) = na razie = bye
    • Because “na razie” is suuuch a long phrase! When I hear someone saying “nara”, my inner ork shrieks. I stronly dislike this word because for me this word suits only a skinhead who practices slaviq squatting – a “dres”. But some people soften it to “narka” and this is what I聽 sometimes use too 馃檪
  7. Mega = To niesamowite! = Wow
    • You can use this word on it’s on or to add emphasis instead of “bardzo”.聽
    • Example: “Koncert Dawida Podsiad艂y by艂 mega fajny!”
  8. Czai膰 = rozumie膰 = to understand
    • Every Polish person knows this word. Even my mother uses it from time to time (it sounds so weird then). How to conjugate it? Ja czaj臋, ty czaisz, on czai, my czaimy, wy czaicie, oni czaj膮…. CZAISZ?!
  9. 聽Na luzie / Na lajcie = nie ma problemu/ bez po艣piechu = no hurry/ no problem
    • When your friend is telling you she will be late 45 minutes and you are… not happy, you will pretend it’s ok and say “na luzie”.聽
    • Or when your partner is telling you you have 15 minutes before the gates close at the airport but you are still at home, you can ask “Zd膮偶ymy?” (Will we be on time?), they can reply “Na luzie” (For sure)
  10. Obczaja膰 / obczai膰 = przyjrze膰 si臋 = to look closely / to notice / to understand
    • This verb is very often used in imperative “Obczaj” as a conversation connector when one person is trying to make the listener to focus and understand his point of view.聽 Also when you are showing something or someone to your friend you can say eg. “Obczaj jak膮 艂adn膮 kurtk臋 ma ta dziewczyna!” (Look what a pretty jacket has this girl!)
    • That’s not the end. You can also use “obczaja膰” like “czai膰” – to understand. When you say “Nie obczajam” we will understand you don’t understand…
  11. Zar膮bi艣cie / zajebiscie = wspaniale = awesome
    • Long time ago my mother forbid me using word “zajebi艣cie” because it was considered as a cursing word. She was very surprised when my elderly aunt visited us as complimented on her chicken “Jolu! Tw贸j kurczak jest zajebisty!” (Jola! Your chicken is f^&%%g awesome!)
    • You can use “zajebi艣cie” but don’t overdose it if you don’t want to sound like a drunk student of Technical University. Use “zar膮bi艣cie” to sound a bit softer (especially if you are a woman).
  12. Fer = sprawiedliwe = fair
    • Ok. I’m not sure if I should spell it like this because I’ve never seen it in any text! But no doubt we use it all the time with typical Polish rhotic “r”. You will hear even a kindergarten children shouting “To nie feeeeeerrrrr!”
  13. Sory = I’m sorry / Excuse me (but never “I feel sorry it happened)
    • We are terrible thieves. We just took this word from English, adjusted the use and pronunciation and voila! Everyone in Poland says “soRy”. We sometimes ever rhyme it with the name of one of our kings “Sory Batory!” for sort of funny emphasis.聽
  14. Ekstra = 艣wietnie = great / amazing
    • Nope, you won’t get potatoes if you ask for “co艣 ekstra”. You will rather get amazing fireworks or some special gift from the chef. “Ekstra” means amazing and you can hear it very often in Poland!
  15. Bez kitu = naprawd臋 = seriously
    • kit is something what used to (?) seal windows so the terrible Polish winter wind doesn’t kill you. “Wciska膰 kit” is to tell someone lies so to stuff someone with this substance. “Bez kitu” literally mean “without XYZ” so we don’t want to get any hay, just the truth. When you are very surprised say “Bez kitu?!” (Seriously?!)
  16. Co si臋 tu odjaniepawla?=聽 Co si臋 tu dzieje? = What is going on here?
    • I think no one treated this word seriously when it appeared in comments on Social Media for the first time. Especially given the fact Poland is such a catholic country and the verb contains John Paul’s name in it! (Jan Pawe艂)! It was meant to be a joke and still is but some people can get seriously offended by it so be careful!聽
    • When to use it? (Better don’t but if your friends are too laid back) When you see some weird situation, for example you enter your kitchen and see your roommate invited drunk people over and they are sitting on the floor and eating your peanut butter and jam from your mum with their filthy fingers you can shout “Co si臋 tutaj odjaniepawla?!” (What is going on here?!)
  17. Ale s艂abo! = Nie dobrze/ jestem rozczarowany/ zdegustowany = What a bad situation
    • “S艂abo” literally mean weakly. When you hear about your friend’s evening, how she got all dressed up for a date and the guy just didn’t show up you can comment “Ale s艂abo!”
  18. Na bogato! = Nie skromnie = That’s too much!
    • Imagine you are going to a house party and you see the hosts prepared a variety of snacks, alcohol everything like real grown ups! You can whisper to your partner’s ear ” Na bogato!” (That’s rich!). We often use this phrase with irony so in the same situation but with no snacks just one pack of Lays you can also say “Na bogato!”. Once my student saw all Locative endings and she commented “Na bogato!”. I found it perfectly used!
  19. Chrzani膰 to! = Nie obchodzi mnie to! = I don’t care!
    • “Chrzan” means horseraddish. As you probably know we love it and appreciate its presence in our country. But you also know it’s very strong and can make you cry so when you “horse raddish” something, you dislike it and don’t want to have anything in common with it.
    • Use this phrase when you’ve been working on something for long time but you realise it was a stupid idea (hopefully not learning Polish he he). Then say: “Chrzani膰 to!”
    • When something is “pochrzanione”, it means it’s messy and very complicated, not as it should be.
  20. Wypchaj si臋! = Nie m贸w do mnie! = Stuff yourself/ Get lost
    • I probably shouldn’t end this article with this phrase but I hope you know I like you and I don’t want you to “wypcha膰 si臋” 馃檪 The opposite! I want you to stay on my website and follow me on Instagram and Facebook so I can help you get to satisfying fluency in Polish faster. Cheers!

Read more20 Polish slang words you won’t find in coursebooks