June 11, 2013

Woulda Shoulda Coulda

How Much Would?

Native Polish speakers tend to overuse ‘would’ and ‘could’ in English, as a result of transferring the Polish conditional mood or “gentle form” indicated with the particle -by (e.g. śpiewał(a)bym and chciał(a)bym meaning “I would sing” and “I would like," respectively) into English.

November 18, 2012

Thanks, but No Thanks

Dropping another Polish-English post, as this is something I’ve come across many times. It’s easy to understand and easy to solve, so let’s get to it:

Thanks to improvements in the sales process, we increased profit margins by 10%.

While this utterance is technically correct, it might sound a bit strange to native English speakers. It looks weird on paper, and doesn’t feel quite right when said aloud.

October 22, 2012

Polish-ing your English

Take a look at your English and see how many times you've used the construction Verb + “-ing” in your communication. For a native Polish speaker, chances are good that it frequently appears in English communication.

A special thanks must go out to Filip Witkowski and the team at Taptera in Warsaw for highlighting this topic. Filip noticed that many native Polish speakers use “-ing” endings on verbs quite often. Sure enough, when I checked my email correspondence with native Polish speakers, everyone was using “-ing” “-ing” “-ing” all over the place. Some of it correct, some of it awkward, and some of it incorrect.

October 15, 2012

For Startups in Poland, English Means Success

As an American living in Warsaw, I’m faced with having to struggle my way through language barriers every day; simple tasks leave me wondering if I successfully ordered food or inadvertently insulted someone’s mother when I get silence and a frown as a response. As a consultant to startups in Warsaw, I’m well aware of the challenges and insecurities that non-native speakers face when it comes to communicating in English.