7 mar 2010

Saying hello and goodbye in Polish

This post encouraged me to write on Polish greetings. The most important rule is to use formal greetings and Pan/Pani forms to:

1. people that you don't know
2. older than you
3. on a higher position.

Of course if you're young you can be informal with people in the same age. But the older you get you should avoid saying "Cześć" to strangers. In shops, restaurants or any kind of services we always use formal versions.

Informal both hello and goodbye:

Cześć - hard to pronounce but a nice word - it also means "honour".
Siema - abbreviation of "Jak się masz?" ("How are you?"), used by young people

Formal hello:

Dzień dobry - Good day, morning, afternoon
Dobry wieczór - Good evening

Half formal half informal hello:

Witam - I welcome you, only the host uses it, very popular also in e-mails
Witaj - Welcome

Formal goodbye:

Do widzenia

Half formal half informal goodbye:

Do zobaczenia - See you! We assume that we will meet soon.
Do usłyszenia - the same but used only during phone conversation

Informal goodbye:

Na razie - See you
Do zobaczyska - See you
Pa pa
Trzymaj się/Trzym się - Take care

In the night:

Dobranoc/Dobrej nocy - Good night

How do you do? How are you?

Jak się masz? Jak się Pan/Pani ma?
Jak się miewasz? Jak się Pan/Pani miewa?

The most popular answer is "dobrze" (well) and "(Wszystko) w porządku" (ok, everything all right). But we have a wider range of options: świetnie/super, bardzo dobrze, tak sobie (so so), jako tako (tolerably well), źle (badly), bardzo źle, fatalnie/okropnie (terrible).

Co u Ciebie? Co u Pana/Pani? Co słychać? Co nowego? - What's up? What's new?

Answer can be the same as above plus: Nic nowego/Po staremu (nothing new).

As Anna in Polish Blog wrote - be aware that you can hear a real answer including somebody's problems with: health, money, work or partner. Very popular is to complain about the weather, political or economical situation in Poland. Poles don't like to brag and generally they diminish their accomplishments. This is a very interesting topic but this post is getting too long so I will continue next time...

C.D.N. (ciąg dalszy nastąpi) - to be continued

6 komentarzy:

  1. >Half formal half informal...
    This is English Paulina?
    Ever heard 'semi'? Like 'semi-formal'?

  2. Thanks for the great post! You're right about the formal/informal forms, but I made the experince that Polish people are happy if you try to speak their language anyway, even if it's not perfect (yet). So a tip to all the beginners: don't worry too much about Polish grammar and just start talking! Your Polish will improve along the way, and talking to Polish people is the best way to learn the language.

  3. Sure, you're right! The most important thing in the beginning is to put stress on the pronunciation. Grammar doesn't matter!

  4. Hello!

    I would like to know, where the use of 'hej' (to mean Goodbye) came from?

    To me, it sounds like it was taken from English and used similar to Cześć (to mean Hello AND Goodbye).

    But saying 'hej' to mean 'Goodbye' feels sooo STRANGE!

  5. It's an interesting question, I will try to find out more about 'hej'.

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