Do you know Russian? Then you know Polish

You have probably noticed that Slavic languages are quite similar. In this article I’d like to show you how you can apply your knowledge about Russian language to Polish language.


The first thing regards to the decision when to write „h” and when „ch”. In the past „h” used to be pronounced differently to „ch”. „H” used to be pronounced „harder”, like in Arabic or like Belarussian „Г”. So in the past you could foresee the spelling more easily. Today both „h” and „ch” are pronounced alike (like „ch” has always been pronounced). But you may notice that sometimes in the words where in Russian you put „Г”, in Polish you put „h” (and it’s generally the same word). And it’s always „h”, never „ch”. Alright, almost never. I’ve seen an example in which there was „ch” but I can’t remind myself what it was. Examples of the connections between „г” and „h”:

  • гамак — hamak;
  • гантели — hantle;
  • гармония — harmonia;
  • гектар — hektar;
  • герб — herb;
  • гимн — hymn.

The next piece of advice is about „u” and „ó”. Generally, when in Russian we write „о”, in Polish we write „ó” (if not „o”). Examples:

  • способ — sposób;
  • двор — dwór;
  • говно — gówno;
  • мочь — móc;
  • гора — góra.

And the similar thing with „ż”. When in Russian it’s „ж”, in Polish it’s „ż”, not „rz”. Examples:

  • жажда — żądza;
  • жаль — żal;
  • железо — żelazo;
  • жена — żona;
  • жить — żyć.

Now, not really about ortography. In Russian there’s no „ą”. And no „ę”. But maybe there’s a letter which represents them in some situations? I say: yes! And it’s the letter „у”. This knowledge will help you conjugate and decline (at least sometimes)! Let’s take a look:

  • буду — będę;
  • иду — idę;
  • мужчину — mężczyznę;
  • сестру — siostrę;
  • вижу весёлую девушку — widzę wesołą dziewczynę.

But it’s not 1:1 trade. Look:

  • человеку — człowiekowi;
  • мужчиной — mężczyzną;
  • сестрой — siostrą;
  • с весёлой — z wesołą.

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