Sometimes I have a total mental block on a certain word. While I’m on Skype with my teacher, my dog has a habit of wanting to join in the conversation. As a result, I must have asked her the word for “bark” a dozen times in the past year and I was still failing to remember it.
Looking back through my notepad, I’ve written it down 8 times at least that I can quickly see. It sticks in my head as a word with “sz” and “k” in it, but the rest just fades, yet today for the 1st time I noticed something obvious and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it again.
It comes right back to my usual mechanism for remembering words, which is anchoring some aspect of them to another word or image and it reinforces for me just how important it is to hold that web of connections. This is a word, I’d just been keeping in isolation in my head. I hadn’t really looked at it and made the effort to decompose the word or link it.
So, the word in question is Szczekać (to bark). Take a second to sound that out a couple of times.. It’s just a series of shh and k sounds, which is where I fell down. There’s a lot of other shh and k words in my head already & I didn’t make the effort to figure out how this one was special. As a result, when I was searching my brain for it, I kept coming up with words like skręcić (to turn) or skakać (to jump). Similar sounds at some level, but totally unconnected words.
But today when I skimmed my word list for revision, this leaped out at me :
Szczekać = Sz + czekać
Czekać is a word I’ve known for ages. It means to wait.
So now, when my dog is barking and being impatient, I’ll just tell him “Shhhh! Wait!”
Continuing my theme of clusters of words which are very similar in Polish, which I’ve struggled to get right, here’s another batch which have been plaguing me for a while.
Maybe it’s just my desire to see patterns, but if you think of a general theme where light and spirituality are thought of together and the world is a sacred place, then perhaps there’s a common origin for them. At least that helps me remember them!
Świat – The world
Światło – Light (n)
Świeca – Candle
Świecić – To shine (v)
Świeży – Fresh (adj)
Święto – Holiday
Święty – Holy (adj)
Świetny – Excellent (adj)
Świetnie – Excellently (adv)
And similar enough to have confused me recently when I heard it :
Śmieci – Rubbish / Garbage (n)
Śmieciarka – Garbage truck
Kosz na śmieci – Rubbish bin
Today I was listening to a polish radio interview & doing my best to keep up with the general gist of the report. My listening comprehension isn’t yet to the level where I can understand even half of what is being said by a native speaker, but I usually understand enough of the words to know roughly what they’re talking about – even if I don’t know what they’re saying about it..
I came away today rather confused though because no matter how many times I played it back, I couldn’t figure out what they were saying in one section and it all came down to a series of words which (to me) sounded practically the same. So the idea for a new post was born.
Similar words or podobne słowa.
Today – ones which (to me) all sound a bit too close to Cześć to easily differentiate when I hear them spoken quickly in a sentence! I decided it would be useful for me to write them all down in one place so I can see them together and hopefully learn to tell them apart better (each word is clickable to hear the pronunciation)
Cześć – Hi
Część – Part
Często – Often
Czeski – Czech
Czysty – Clean (adj)
Czynsz – Rent (noun)
Ciężki – Heavy
Cieszę się – To be pleased with