As an Englishman who settled down with a nice Polish girl some 11 years ago, you are susceptible to certain “expectations” especially after 11 years. One of the more pressing of the expectations is that of learning your partners’ native tongue. Now I confess that I am guilty of following the old rule of thumb that states that everyone else in the world should speak English, a rather nice delegation of duties I thought, once. Now though having spent many weeks in Poland it would appear the email didn’t get through, cue a lot of smiling and head bobbing. The next defence offered up was that I had no time to learn to speak Polish, busy life and always so much to do.
Then my quiet world of procrastination was shattered by the loud exclamation “You’re going to learn Polish”, before my mouth could even form the well rehearsed words, as if they were anticipated the retort caused my mouth to snap shut. It’s on the laptop, portable and easy and it’s by Rosetta Stone, you have mentioned them before, I was trapped!
“Yeah, I hear they are good” is all I could muster, my brain having left me high and dry and apparently having already departed for its summer vacation.
That’s it, I’m learning Polish, it has been a good run but all good things have to come to an end.
So waking up the next time I had a day of I decided that as I was trapped and now on a journey of discovery that I might as well give this Polish learning thing a proper go, so I loaded up the website and entered my details in.
First impressions, nice interface, black screen with a sideways scrolling menu bar of bright icons that are colour co-ordinated to a lesson group. You start with a core lesson that lasts for around 30 minutes. Following the core lesson you get three short lessons that last around 10 minutes and they cover pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar to practise the contents of the core lesson. Finally you have the option of doing a writing exercise.
The lessons follow a pattern of multiple choices with photos. You may be shown a picture of a man and the commentator will say the Polish word for man, same for a woman then you would be shown two pictures, one of a man and one of a woman. You are then asked which one is the man and you have to click the photo of the man to get the point. This process is expanded on as new words are introduced via the trick of one of these is not like the others. Occasionally the program will give you a picture and you have to say the Polish word into your microphone correctly to get the point. Now here I must say I was a little disappointed with the program as on one run through the core lesson in pursuit of the perfect 100% score I was shown a picture that I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was called. However I was saved for as a mumbled “Damn what the hell is that called…” I received the cling to say correct answer and it was on to the next page. Now I temper my sigh over this issue as I am sure the voice recognition software behind the programme is learning as I talk, as they are want to do, because I only got away with it the once and any further attempts at “cheating” was met with the honk of failure.
I would also draw attention to the fact that if you have any measure of completionist in you then the programme will grip you as you try and get the 100% perfect score, I’m hooked.
Till next time… yes there will be a next time on the topic…
* We received on online pass for 6 months in order to try the Rosetta Stone language course.