This morning I received an e-mail from a friend in Poland, explaining that they say TY MASZ RACJĘ “you have right” whereas we would say “you are right”. The message was all in English apart from those three words. Klaudia and I met while working in a shed full of perennial plants, in Germany. She spoke no German and I spoke far too little Polish. Our job was to weed the plants and fix labels to the pots, thousands of them.
Why did her e-mail make me happy?
1. It is interesting to hear a few details about her life, now that she is back in Poland. I don’t know her very well, too much chatting at work was not appreciated.
2. Although her English has many mistakes, and my Polish is a lot worse, we can still say a lot.
3. She likes the fact that I am trying to learn a bit of Polish and included that three-word phrase. I need to focus on very few words at a time.
4. Because the words come from a pen-pal and not from a vocabulary list, there is more incentive to learn them.
5. I can see the opportunity for fun, could use these three words when replying. In fact, I could use them twice in different contexts and then claim to have used six words of Polish.
6. I could even extend the phrase by adding “not”. Maybe I will add it in the wrong part of the phrase, but that doesn´t matter. I have met the word “not”, but have forgotten it and must look it up again.
7. In theory I also learned the verb “to have” recently. I can remember “I have” and “they” but not the other pronouns or the “have” words which go with them! – it is time for a quick review. The encouraging thing is that even knowing very few words, I recognised that TY MASZ is the “you have” part and therefore RACJĘ must mean “right”.
8. To learn RACJĘ thoroughly in the first place will be a good start. Because it is a completely new word for me, I will write it in the middle of a large piece of paper and surround it with things which will help me to remember it. This idea comes from Tony Buzan and his mind maps, more of which another day. What about you?
- Have you got, have you had, do you want a pen-pal?
- Do you know Buzan and use mind mapping?
- Did this post spark any ideas with you?
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