20 mar 2011

Polenorientiert – a conference in Warsaw

I write a blog only in English but it doesn’t mean I don’t like the other languages. I also have a heart for Roman languages and German. I’m really interested in the past and future relations of Poland and Germany.

One of my old students and a friend Lukas Becht told me about the conference in Warsaw “Polenorientiert. Why Poland is an interesting country for Germans?". It’s a sociological conference about the contemporary relations between the two countries. Lukas will have a speech about the politics, hopefully I will be able to listen to him. Fingers crossed (in Polish trzymam kciuki!) for him.

It’s a fact that more and more Germans visit Poland and learn Polish. In some areas we are very similar and in other different. I will always claim that the languages are comparable. For sure Germans have a brain for the Polish grammar and learn fast (of course the motivation is crucial:). I find the idea of this conference very interesting.

When? 31.03.-3.04.2011
Where? The University of Warsaw
Entrance is free. More info here.

To prove that I did something for Poland in Germany I enclose a photo from the fair in Stuttgart in 2009. Putting these brochures there was a self-appointed initiative and perhaps not exactly legal. But maybe somebody have become interested in Poland?

13 mar 2011

Polish films in English - even more!

Once again a great initiative in Warsaw! The best Polish films with English subtitles.

Every Monday at 19:00 in Stare Miasto, ul. Jezuicka 4. Kino Alchemia. Tickets: 13 zł.

(theoretically every Monday but there’s no programme for the rest of March)

14.03.2011: ZIEMIA OBIECANA / PROMISED LAND - A. Wajda, 1974, 18:00!!!
04.04.2011: ZEZOWATE SZCZĘSCIE / BAD LUCK – A. Munk, 1960
11.04.2011: MATKA JOANNA OD ANIOŁÓW / MOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS – J. Kawalerowicz, 1961
18.04.2011: REWERS / REVERSE – B. Lankosz, 2009
09.05.2011: REJS / THE CRUISE – M. Piwowski, 1970
23.05.2011: POPIÓŁ I DIAMENT / ASHES AND DIAMONDS – A. Wajda, 1958
06.06.2011: SAMI SWOI / OUR FOLKS – A. Mularczyk, 1967
20.06.2011: NÓŻ W WODZIE / KNIFE IN THE WATER – R. Polański, 1962

My tips? Definitely old Wajda “Ziemia obiecana” and “Popiół i diament”. “Rejs” and “Nóż w wodzie” are also perfect. Just see all! More about the films here.

EDIT: Also the second institution in Warsaw organizes the Polish films in English. Filmoteka Narodowa offers the cycle THE BEST OF POLISH MOVIES. I should write “offered” because the last film will have Spanish subtitles. But it makes it even more interesting. On the 23rd of March you can see “Kobieta z prowincji” – “Mujer de provincias”. More info here.

5 mar 2011

Why Poles don't read? Plus Polish Internet Libraries

Recently Biblioteka Narodowa published a report on reading in Poland. Poles are literate but don’t want to read not only the books but also longer texts. In 2010 56% of questioned Poles 15+ didn’t open ANY kind of book (including encyclopedias, cooking books etc.). It was compared to France – 31% and Czech Republic – 17%. In 2008 it was even 62% in Poland – shame (wstyd)!

It’s not easy to explain why it does look like this. Some people will never read no matter what. A family and social environment play a very important role but even educated children of educated parents can avoid reading. In my opinion Polish schools don’t teach reading – now a preparation for the exams the most important on every level. Pupils learn guessing what tests’ authors had on mind. School should create the culture of reading and the ability for the critical thinking.

Poverty is the second factor. It seems that reading doesn’t require spending money on books because there are libraries. In cities you have many, always with computers and free Internet. But in the countryside in the 90’s many libraries were closed. Still in 50% of Polish homes there’s no Internet access. Reading is getting easier and cheaper with e-books. When hopefully the Polish state will guarantee the access for every citizen Poles won’t only watch films or comment others’ activities on the web.

The report showed that poorly educated, 60+, unemployed and pensioners are those who don’t read. In the comment by Biblioteka Narodowa you can also read that Poles work a lot and don’t have time for more sophisticated entertainments. But 25% of those highly educated haven’t read any book in the last year. It’s really worrying that they don’t feel the need to not only relax with the literature but also improve their job qualifications this way.

I’m a reading maniac, my studies were dedicated to reading and I can never stop. I really enjoyed collecting books but last year I decided to give away most of them to libraries. I keep only the most favourite or useful. Why am I writing this? Maybe I could inspire you to share things you don’t need with others? In Warsaw there are places where you can leave used clothing, bedclothes, books, toys etc. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail. Every library takes books also in English (and I read them:).

By the way* I would like to introduce you Polska Biblioteka Internetowa. You will find there many Polish texts or texts in Polish (only these without copyright). There’s also the Polona library with English descriptions. If you would like to read old Polish magazines and newspapers I recommend you to see the website of Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie.

* in Poland we say it in the French way: a propos [a propo], originally à propos


analfabeta/analfabetka – illiterate
wtórny analfabeta - secondary illiterate
analfabetyzm – illiteracy
biblioteka – library
bibliotekarz/bibiotekarka – librarian
narodowy/a/e - national
pożyczać komuś (+ Dat.) – to lend
pożyczać od kogoś (+ Gen) – to borrow
wypożyczać – to lend out - biblioteka/wypożyczalnia wypożycza książki na miesiąc.
wypożyczalnia - lending library

2 mar 2011

Placki/racuchy z jabłkami

I promised to write about them and I had to make them to take pictures. A very easy and quick dish, for lunch or dessert.

Placki z jabłkami are very similar to the American pancakes but they have fruits inside. In Poland we traditionally add apples but they can also taste very well with bananas, strawberries etc. You can also make them with vegetables: zucchini or pumpkin (with salt, pepper and herbs).

The dough is the same as for pancakes (naleśniki) but it’s thicker and you add baking powder or whip whites. My last placki were very flat, probably I added too little baking powder. Don’t be confused with the pattern on the sugar, it was the next layer of placki.

200 grams of flour
2 eggs
1,5 cup of milk/kefir/yoghurt/zsiadłe mleko (set milk)
3 apples
1 teaspoon of baking powder
powdered sugar

Also possible: vanilla flavour, cinnamon

Put all dry ingredients into a bowl, add milk, eggs and mix. Peel apples and cut them into thin slices. Put chopped apples in the dough and fry on hot oil. Sprinkle placki with powdered sugar. Warm are delicious so eat right off. Great also with cream and jam. Smacznego!

P.S. "Placki" is a very good example of the pronunciation of "c" in Polish. It's always ts, never k. And when c and k are neighbours, we must read both [platski].