Prosty Polski


The course is designed to serve various groups and purposes. That is the reason for including in the course many materials that can seem to be unnecessary or redundant. The reason to do it is a fact that different learners will use different elements. For example, the TPR part is mostly help for the teachers using this as a textbook. It can be also used, to some extent, by self-learners who have a Polish native speaker to help them. The native speaker can become the one giving the commands. Maybe it can be use be friends who learn the language together and use the commands to each other.

For self-learners

The basic principle of this book is to give opportunity for the learner to be immersed in the language and at the same time understand it without the need to use dictionaries and translation. In addition to the course provided in the book the learner is encouraged to seek other resources of interest. The authors suggestion for people learning Polish is to listen to the language every day for at least a few minutes and also use it “in the background” while doing other things. This can help with pronunciation and understanding while listening. A short list of podcasts and YouTube channels is included at the end of the book.

For teachers

The teachers can find that there are too many texts to read during a lesson. That’s by design, to give students text for reading on their own. This is an attempt to follow the ideas of language immersion and comprehensible input.
The book can also be used as an additional reader that is read along a more traditional course.

Prescriptive or descriptive?

Polish language, just like any other, changes all the time. There are, however, strong prescriptive tendencies among some people. Therefore, there are so called ‘norms’ of what is supposedly correct Polish. For a learner that might cause a lot of trouble. One form will be used in TV, street etc., another required by the “norm”. In this book, I want to present real Polish, not only the abstract ‘normish’ one. During an exam you will be required to use the forms according to those norms. Because of it, I will give notes of what the “norms” contain. I use ‘norms’ in apostrophes as the real norms are the norms that people follow.
The notes on those ‘norms’ will be given with the sign ? because they are quite archaic or out of touch with reality.

Course structure

The course is divided into two main parts.
First part is pure TPR, where learners are taught according to the approach developed by Asher. The students first learn to understand the spoken language and react with their body or very simple words as tak or nie, which can be replaced by head movements or hand gestures. Only after some time they will start their own language production. The teacher can then start encouraging them to repeat words or giving commands (so start doing the same things the teacher did earlier). TPR in later stages can be used to teach reading and writing, especially the students who do not know the Latin alphabet. Reading can also become pronunciation exercise. Reading and writing at this stage still means letters and single words and not sentences.
Second part is based on lessons which gradually help the student learn the language when given comprehensible input. Some sections, especially containing real texts can contain a few difficult moments but they are not necessary to be learnt at the given time. Each lesson shouldn’t be treated as a ready-made handout. The teacher should decide which parts are going to be done during the lesson and in what order, and what is going to be part of learners’ homework. By giving students numbers as references, e.g. przeczytaj punkt jeden dwa jeden the numbers are taught and reviewed during every lesson which is vital for many languages like Polish, where numerals are one of the most complicated parts of grammar.
Both parts strive to follow Stephen Krashen’s Natural Approach principles. Translation is on purpose avoided during the course.
Each lesson in the second part of the course is divided into ten parts which are numbered. Explanations of each part:

? 1 – TPR

This part suggests TPR exercises that can go along with the lesson or other that can be a revision of a previous lesson, introduction of classroom language etc.

♻2 – Powtórka

This part contains the review of the previous lessons. It can be in form of a text, picture, or exercise. The teachers are also encouraged to create their own activities that sum up the lessons already covered. This is to follow the ancient principle repetitio est mater studiorum – practise makes perfect.

? 3 – Słownictwo

Words and phrases for the lesson. They should be learnt with their pronunciation.

? 4 – Teksty

First set of articles to read and/or listen to. They contain basic grammar and words for the lesson.

? 5 – Gramatyka

Explanation of grammar rules.

? 6 – Wymowa

Selected pronunciation rules or words, phrases to practice.

? 7 – Teksty

Second set of articles to read and/or listen to. They are based on the so far learnt grammar, but the vocabulary can be extended.

? 8 – Rozumienie ze słuchu

This section is related to listening comprehension. Although in previous parts

? 9 – Ćwiczenia

Language exercises based on everything cover in the lesson and in previous ones.

? 10 – Słowniczek

A small dictionary for the lesson.

? 11 – Materiały autentyczne

This section appears after a few lessons and presents words and phrases that the learner has learnt in real context like titles, adverts. You can find links to other online resources (films, series, newspapers etc.) in this section too. These may be authentic materials and therefore be much more difficult than the course material. There is no need for the learner to understand everything. It can be used just as an immersion practice.

? 12 – For self-learners

Tips for self-learners.

? 13 – For teachers

Tips for teacher.

©️14 – Copyright

Sources of copyright materials.

Abbreviations and symbols

↔ opposite meanings, e.g. small ↔ big
⚠ UWAGA! exception or difficult moment
? the text with this symbol is recorded and can be listened to
? YouTube video is available and the link is provided
? TPR Total Physical Response
? Dla nauczycieli Teacher section – contains ideas and tips for teaching. Can be omitted by self-learners.
? Information about the so-called language ‘norms’ that actually describe an arbitrary rule that’s not derived from actually used language. They can be, however, necessary to follow during an exam.