How To Talk About Your Language Skills in Polish

Someone could say that Polish is a language of too many choices but I prefer to think about it as a language with many options.
Talking about your language skills in Polish is no different and there are many ways to speak about it. All these ways, of course, have some grammar requirements.

How to Say I Speak in Polish

The first and the simplest structure is “I speak [language]”. We need a conjugated form of the verb mówić (“to speak”) used as a part of the following structure:

Mówić + po + [language name + the ending -u]

Here are some examples:

Mówię po angielsku. – “I speak English.”

Świetnie mówisz po włosku. – “You speak Italian very well.” (I know, btw, thanks!)

Mariola mówi okej po francusku. – “Mariola speaks passable French.”

W domu zawsze mówimy po niemiecku. – “We always speak German at home.”

This structure is best just learnt by heart without overthinking. To get the right form of the noun you basically get rid of the last letter of the standard noun form for the language and replace it with -u. All languages I can think of get the ending -u (szwedzki – szwedzku, arabski – arabsku etc.) apart from some more rare languages that never change form (for example, hindi, urdu or zulu). The preposition “po” is required in this case and it can’t be drop. It’s the way it is because it’s the way it is. Nie drąż tematu! (a slang Polish expression for “drop the subject”)

How to Say I Know in Polish

I’ve already written a post about the verb “to know” in Polish. Read it if you’re unsure what verbs Polish offers and how to use them.
For language skills we use only the verb znać. Fortunately the structure with this verb is also simple:

Znać + [language name in the nominative case/mianownik]

Here are some examples:

Znam (język) czeski. – “I know Czech.”

Jak dobrze znasz (język) portugalski? – “How well do you know Portuguese?”

W tej chwili trzeba znać (język) angielski. – “One needs to know English at the moment.”

You can add the word “language” język in front of the name of the language but you don’t have to. Most people don’t do it when they speak. It sounds overly formal, as if you were saying “I speak the English language” etc.

How to Say I’m Learning in Polish

To speak about language skills that are not yet ready to be described by the first two categories use a structure to say that you’re learning a language. In Polish you’d do it with the following structure:

Uczyć się + [language in the genitive case / dopełniacz]

Have a look at the examples below:

Uczę się (języka) rosyjskiego już dwa lata. – “I’ve been learning Russian for two years already.”

Uczę się (języka) angielskiego, ale mało mogę powiedzieć. – “I’m learning English but I can’t say much.”

Dlaczego uczysz się (języka) chińskiego? – “Why are you learning Chinese?”

Just like with the previous structure you can opt for using the full expression “język [name]”. In this structure it’s more common but still quite formal.

Check Your Understanding

Okay, so that’s it! I’m not saying there are no more ways to speak about your language skills in Poland but these basic ones will have you mostly covered. Here are some sentences for you to translate and check your understanding:

1. I speak Polish, German and French.

2. He doesn’t know Portuguese.

3. We’re learning Korean at school.

4. Jan speaks passable English.

5. I know English only, but I’m learning Spanish.

As always, I invite you to post your answers as comments to learn whether you’re right or not.
さようなら! जल्दी मिलते हैं।!

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