Episode 89: Peace!

Spoko!

English Phonemes: “SPOH-koh”

Literal Translation: Peace!

English Equivalents: Cool. Calm down. Take it easy.

Spoko” is awesome and full of nuance and history. It’s one of my favorite words. Here’s a quick breakdown of what it is and how to use it.

Firstly, it’s slang, shortened from the words in the definition section below. Caveat — I have not been in Poland, and I certainly don’t know what the cool kids are doing with the language these days, but Google Translate defined this word as “cool”, which is accurate but not comprehensive. I want to add depth so you fully appreciate how awesome this word really is :-)

Second, this word is never used like “peace” is as a hippie greeting. You can only use it…

  1. as a button to a conversation where you and your friends agree on something, or

  2. to try to calm someone down when they appear agitated.


Spoko = cool, calm, peaceful [slang noun, shortened version of “spokojnie”]
Spokój = calm, peace [noun, s.]
Pokój = peace (also “room” - yay homonyms!) [s. noun]
Spokojnie = calmly [adv.]

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Episode 88: To Throw Peas Against Wall!

Rzucać grochem o ścianę!

English Phonemes: “[RZ]OO-tsahch GROH-hem oh SHCHYAH-n[ę]”

Literal Translation: To throw peas against wall!

Elegant Translation: Throwing peas against a wall!

English Equivalent: Fall on deaf ears. Waste one’s breath.


This is a wonderful, colorful phrase that evokes the hopeless feeling that comes with pointlessly throwing peas at a wall. It’s a classic phrase used by parents when their kids don’t listen, or in any situation where something one person says is not getting through to the other person, for reasons of ignorance or deliberate avoidance.

Now you, too, can now use this in a myriad of situations!

Rzucać = to throw [infinitive verb]
Grochem = peas [obj. form]
O = against [preposition]
Ścianę = wall [s. obj. form]


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Episode 87: What Suddenly This After Devil!

Co nagle to po diable!

English Phonemes: “tsoh NAH-gleh toh poh DYAH-bleh”

Literal Translation: What suddenly this after devil.

Elegant Translation: What is sudden is modeled after the devil.

English Equivalent: Look before you leap.

This wee'k’s phrase is warning us that rushing into things only causes bigger problems.

Ten episodes ago (Episode 77), I taught you “śpiesz się powoli”, which means “hurry slowly” and is closest to the English phrase “haste makes waste”. 

Today’s phrase is a common continuation of the “hurry slowly” idea, as if to say “hurry slowly, because if you rush without thinking, everything turns to crap”. Though today’s phrase is stand-alone, you might hear it paired with the lesson from episode 77, which is why I’m linking to that episode.


Co = what
Nagle = suddenly, sudden [adv.]
To = this
Po = after, like [preposition, sometimes also a comparison word]
Diable = devil [obj. form, s. noun]


Episode 77 - Śpiesz się powoli!

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Episode 86: I Ride On Vacation!

Jadę na ferie!

English Phonemes: “YAH-d[ę] nah FEH-ree-yeh”

Literal Translation: I ride on vacation!

Elegant Translation: I’m going on vacation!

You can use this phrase any time you have a plan to go on holiday. The word “ferie” typically refers to a quick or light vacation — not, for example, a journey around the world — but this word applies in most situations. 

Your host with the most is going on vacation, too! But there should be no interruption in the show schedule on your end :-) 

Jadę = I ride, am riding [1st p. s. present tense]
Na = on [preposition]
Ferie = vacation, getaway, trip [obj. form, plural]

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Episode 85: It Crawled To Me Into Head!

Part 2 of the 2-part series!!

Wlazło mi do głowy!

English Phonemes: “VLAHZ-woh mee doh GWOH-vih”

Literal Translation: It crawled to me into head!

Elegant Translation: It crawled into my head!

English Equivalent: This idea grabbed a hold of me. I’ve got it in my head. I can’t get it out of my head. I can’t shake this idea.

Continuing on from last week when we talked about a sudden burst of inspiration that gives you a thought, this phrase is similar, but the tone is deeper. We’re being hounded by a more insistent invasive thought. It can be a welcome idea or an unwelcome one, as long as it’s one of those thoughts that is hard to shake loose. If you’ve got that feeling, then this is the phrase you want to pick.

Wlazło = he/she/it crawled/climbed [3rd per. s. past tense]
Mi = to me [obj. form] 
Do = to, into [preposition]
Głowy = head [s. obj. form]


*BONUS EXTRA OOMPHY VERSION:

Ależ mi to wlazło do głowy!
Literally, “Wow to me this crawled into head!”
Basically meaning, “Wow did this idea grab a hold of me!”

Ależ = slang of ale = interjection word which in this context means “oh” or “oh how” 
To = this

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Episode 84: It Fell Into To Me Into Head!

Part 1 of a 2-part series!!

Wpadło mi do głowy!

English Phonemes: “FPAH-dwoh mee doh GWOH-vih”

Literal Translation: It fell into to me into head!

Elegant Translation: It fell into my head!

English Equivalents: This sprang to mind. It popped into my head.

This phrase can be used when you have a sudden idea or spark of inspiration. You can easily use this phrase, or the Extra Credit version if you’re feeling even more adventurous, and want to emphasize with oomph just how random your sudden idea is. 

Wpadło = he/she/it fell/dropped into [3rd per. s. past tense]
Mi = to me [obj. form] 
Do = to, into [preposition]
Głowy = head [s. obj. form]


*BONUS EXTRA OOMPHY VERSION:

Ależ mi to wpadło do głowy!
Literally, “Oh how to me this fell into head!”
In other words, “What a thing to pop into my head!” or “Wow did this fall into my head!”

Ależ = slang of ale = interjection word which in this context means “oh” or “oh how” 
To = this


Next week we’ll cover a related phrase where the idea that grabs you doesn’t want to let go!

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Episode 83: In Once Scuffle!

W razie draki!

English Phonemes: “v RAH-[ź]yeh DRAH-kee”

Literal Translation: In once scuffle.

Elegant Translation: In case of a scuffle.

English Equivalent: Just in case.

You can use this phrase the exactly as we use “just in case” in English. It can be a standalone thought or part of a bigger sentence (for those of you learning more Polish).

Also, fun fact, draka [subj. form] is not a word commonly used in Polish outside of this context. A lot of people know it only from this phrase. Google translate didn’t even recognize it as Polish! That isn’t to say you can’t use it in any other sentences, you absolutely can. You’ll just be ahead of the curve if you do!

W = in, inside [preposition]
Razie = one, once [object form of ‘raz’]
*NB: combining w and razie is very common to achieve the meaning of “in case of” or “in the event of” but I am giving you the definition of each word here
Draki = scuffle, trouble, fight, row, hullabaloo [obj. form, s.]

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Episode 82: Who (S)He Is Eating Remnants, This Beautiful And Smooth!

Kto zjada ostatki ten piękny i gładki!

English Phonemes: “ktoh ZYAH-dah os-TAHT-kee tehn PY[Ę]K-nih ee GWAH-tkee”

Literal Translation: Who (s)he is eating remnants, this beautiful and smooth.

Elegant Translation: Whosoever eats the last bits is beautiful and smooth.

English Equivalent: Waste not, want not. Or, waste naught, want naught.

This is a fun way to let someone know they can have that last slice of pizza or the last chicken wing appetizer. It’s also a funny way to justify some late-night fridge-raiding.

There are so many ways in English to translate this phrase in a rhyme!
Top winners include:
”The one who eats the rest, gets everything that’s the best.”
”Whoever who eats leftovers doesn’t need makeovers.”
”Whoever eats the remains, great beauty gains.”

Kto = who/whoever
Zjada
= he/she/it eats, is eating [3rd person s.]
Ostatki
= remnants, last bits, remains, leftovers [plural, obj. form]
Ten
= this, this one
Piękny
= beautiful [adj. s. m.]
I
= and
Gładki = smooth [adj. s. m.]

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Episode 81: Well And What?

No i co?

English Phonemes: “noh ee tsoh”

Literal Translation: Well and what?

Elegant Translation: Well what?

English Equivalent: And? So what? Your point?

This phrase is a fun way to be sassy. You can use it the same way we do with “Well?” in English. If your friend/family member does/says something dumb, or incomplete, or if you want to say you don’t care about something, or any variation in between, you can use this gem and shock the heck out of them :-)

No = well
I = and
Co = what

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Episode 80: I Un-bark!

Odszczekuję!

English Phonemes: “ohd-[sz][cz]eh-KOO-yeh”

Literal Translation: I un-bark.

Elegant Translation: I take my bark back.

English Equivalent: My bad. Forget what I said.


You can use this casual turn of phrase when you say something you then want to take back, when you apologize for a remark, or when you change your mind about something you said. Or even when you retract an article in print.

If you pronounce the ending ę or e, either way is okay. Like “I geddit” vs. “I get it”. Both work. I will teach you the ‘e’ ending, as it’s more common.

Please also let us know what you think of the “duck face” recap segment! Do you want it to be a regular thing? Let us know!

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Episode 79: Mother Sacred!

Matko święta!

English Phonemes: “MAHT-koh SFY[Ę]-tah”

Literal Translation: Mother sacred!

Elegant Translation: Holy Mother!

English Equivalent: Holy Mother of God!

In honor of Mothers’ Day this month (in America on the second Sunday in May, in Poland always on May 26), I thought I’d do a mother-related phrase!

Today we learn the Polish way to say “Holy Mother of God!” in English. An exclamation of surprise or shock, it’s a fun phrase to have in your back pocket!


Matko = Mother [vocative form, an invocation]
Święta
= sacred, holy [adj., subj. form, fem.]

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Episode 78: She Did See The Lady?

Widziała pani?

English Phonemes: “vee-JAH-wah PAH-nyee”

Literal Translation: She did see the lady?

Elegant Translation: Did you see that, Madam? 

English Equivalent: Did you see that? Get a load of that! Check that out!


First, a bit of follow-up to last week’s show: Listener Karen P. on Twitter pointed out that another English equivalent of “Śpiesz się powoli!” would be “Hurry Slowly”, which I didn’t know was a thing in English. Thanks, Karen!

Today’s phrase is a fabulous example of how weird languages can get. Like nicknames in a family. Sometimes there’s no way to to an outsider explain why you call your little brother “toaster”, for example. Here, this is a correct formal way to ask a woman you don’t know if she saw something. Somehow, it became an idiom to give oomph and remark on something cool that happened, or even a cool conclusion that was reached in conversation. It’s a very, very native, idiomatic, Polish phrase.

Widziała = she did see [3rd person, s., past tense verb]
Pani = woman, lady [s., subject form]

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Episode 77: You Hurry Self Slowly!

Śpiesz się powoli! 

English Phonemes: “shpyeh[sz] shyeh poh-VOH-lee”

Literal Translation: You hurry self slowly!

Elegant Translation: Hurry up slowly!

English Equivalent: Haste makes waste!


This phrase is a fun and glib way to tell someone to hurry responsibly! If you rush through a task too swiftly, you’re liable to miss something important. We have similar wisdom in the English saying “haste makes waste”, although in Polish, we subconsciously acknowledge that the need to hurry exists, it’s just that we want to do it responsibly. 

The voice of this phrase is informal, but because it’s such an idiom in Polish, you can absolutely use it in formal settings, too!


Śpiesz = you [s.] hurry [2nd person, informal]
Się = self [reflective helper word, bounces back at subject]
Powoli
= slowly [adv.] 

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Episode 76: Here Our Flag!

Oto Nasza Flaga!

English Phonemes: “oh toh NAH-[sz]ah FLAH-gah”

Literal Translation: Here Our Flag!

Elegant Translation: Here is our flag!


It’s Flag Day in Poland today! Here’s a quick phrase and a brief history lesson to celebrate.

Also, shoutout to listeners Wendy and Andrew for the idea!

Oto = here
Nasza = our [adj. fem. s.]
Flaga = flag [noun fem. s. subject form]

Research Links:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish–Lithuanian_Commonwealth
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Poland


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Episode 75: I To You I Will Show!

Ja Ci Pokażę!

English Phonemes: “yah chee poh-KAH-[ż][ę]”

Literal Translation: I to you I will show.

Elegant Translation: I will show you.

English Equivalent: I’ll show you!

This is the same in English and in Polish. The phrase can be used in the normal sense, as in, you’re offering to show your friend something — or it can be delivered as a playful banter fist-shaking warning.

Be aware that it’s in the informal voice. Don’t use this with anyone you have a formal relationship with.

Ja = I [subject form]
Ci
= to you [object form, informal]
Pokażę = I will show [first person s.]

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Episode 74: If You Will Go Among Crows, You Must To Croak How And They!

Jeśli wejdziesz między wrony, musisz krakać jak i one!

English Phonemes: “KYEH-dih F[SZ]EH-dwehsh MY[Ę]-dzih VROH-nih MOOSH-ee[sz] KRAH-kahch jahk ee OH-neh”

Literal Translation: If you will go among crows, you must to croak how and they.

Elegant Translation: When among crows, you must caw like they do.

English Equivalent: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

This is a funny way to say that if you’ve troubled yourself to go somewhere, you have to adapt to your surroundings.

Quick Bonus Fact: The most popular alternative of this phrase uses “kiedy” [when] instead of “jeśli”.


Jeśli
= if
Wejdziesz = you [s.] will go into 
Między = among
Wrony = crows [pl. subject form]
Musisz = you [s.] must
Krakać = to croak, to caw [infinitive]
Jak = how
I = and
One = they [subject form]

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Episode 73: Here It Lies Dog Buried!

Tu leży pies pogrzebany!

English Phonemes: “tooh LEH-[ż]ih pyes poh-hoh-VAH-nih”

Literal Translation: Here it lies dog buried!

Elegant Translation: Here the dog lies buried!

English Equivalent: There’s the rub!

This phrase is a popular way to point out that the conversation has reached a point where a complication of some kind has been revealed. You’d use this the same exact way as we English speakers would say “Ah, there’s the rub!” Or “Aha! There it is!” Or even “And the plot thickens!”

Extra note: There is an acceptable alt to this phrase. You can also say “jest” instead of “leży”, “jest” being “it is”. That’s an acceptable alternative of the idiom, but it is less used.

Tu = here
Leży = it lies [3rd person s.]
Pies = dog [s. subject form]
Pogrzebany = buried [adj. s. male subject form]

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Episode 72: Gone Fat!

Przepadło sadło!

English Phonemes: “p[sz]eh-PAH-dwoh SAH-dwoh”

Literal Translation: Gone fat!

Elegant Translation: The fat has gone.

English Equivalent: Too bad, so sad.

This phrase is meant to be light and funny and doesn’t actually have anything to do with fat. The rhyme is just a silly way to say something has come and gone and we missed it. It’s broadly applicable. 

If your friend is talking about a job that they loved that they got laid off from, you can use this to lighten their mood in an “easy come, easy go” kind of way. If your kid lost a sock and they can’t find it in time to make the school bus, you can use this phrase in a “let it go” way to encourage them to find a different pair of socks. It’s probably not smart to use this phrase at a funeral, but besides that, you can work out many places where this phrase fits.

Przepadło = it has gone [3rd s. person, past tense of “przepaść” - to perish]
Sadło = fat (specifically, body fat) [subject form]


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Episode 71: Prima Aprilis!

April Fools!

Polish Phonemes: “EJ-pryl’ ful’z”

Literal Translation: Kwiecień Głupcy!

Elegant Translation: Głupce kwietnia!

Polish Equivalent: Prima Aprilis bo się omylisz!

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_______

Here’s a full translation of what I said ;-) (Polish transcript is at the bottom!)

Hello everyone! Here’s the 71st episode of How You Say?, where I teach you how to say something fun or playful in English. I’m your host, my name is Julia Tutko-Balena.

Today I will tell you how to say “First April or you’ll mistake yourself!” in English. So let’s get started!

Today’s phrase is “April fools”, which literally translates to “April dummies” in Polish. We Poles would say “First April or you'‘ll mistake yourself!”. In English, it’s significantly shorter!

The first word is “April”. It means “April” in English. Let’s say it three times. Accent, that is, the emphasis, on the first syllable. Remember that in English, vowels have usually more than one syllable. Oh well, they don’t want to make it easy on us! But don’t be afraid, I’ll help you.

Here when you say the letter A, you have to start on the sound “E” and transition into the sound “I”. So together that sounds like “eejji”.

Next, in English speaking countries, people usually don’t pronounce the letter “r” like in Polish. They pronounce it very weakly, they don’t “roll”, they don’t know how to do “rrrrrrr”. Usually. Of course, if they know more than one language, they’ll learn this, but in the English language, that sound is simply not needed. So, in order to pronounce correctly the “r” in the word “April”, you have to allow the tongue to a bit flaccid. Or imagine that something is bothering you, as if you had in your mouth hot potatoes. “Rrrrr”. Try it. “Rrrr”.

Next, in English, usually those devilish vowels change sound depending on their position in the word. And here, the letter “i” simply remember that it has to be pronounced like our “y”. “April”.

And the last thing, the ‘l’ at the end is pronounced softly, similar to the Russian “l”.

Okay. We’re ready! Repeat slowly after me. “April” “April” “April”. Excellent.

The next word is “Fools”. It means “dummies”, that is, more than one dummy. This word is a bit easier. “F” is pronounced normally, “l” like we just saw in “April”, but those vowels are playing with us again.

Those who are learning English surely [already] know that usually when you see “o o” together, it’s pronounced like “u” in English. “Cool”, “Tools”, and others. There are of course exceptions, where “o o” doesn’t sound exactly like “a”, but close… “Blood”, “flood”… consequently, you have to be careful not to study and learn incorrect information. But now we have the internet and you can always check.

In the word “fools”, “o o” is pronounced “u”. “Fools”.

Let’s repeat 3 times. “Fools”. “Fools”. “Fools.” Good.

Now everything together, 3 times, slowly let’s repeat: “April fools!” “April fools!” “April fools!” Very good!

All set! That’s it for today! I how you liked it. If you want to contact the show, we have email, mailbag@howyousay.fm, our Twitter is @HowYouSayFM, and our main web page is www.howyousay.fm.

Until next time! I wish you well! Bye!

_______

Here’s the full Polish transcript, just in case you’re interested ;-)

Witam Państwa! Oto 71 epizod programu How You Say? gdzie uczę Was jak powiedzieć coś fajnego albo zabawnego po angielsku. Jestem Waszym gospodarzem, nazywam się Julia Tutko-Balena.

Dziś Wam powiem jak się mówi „Prima Aprilis bo się omylisz” po angielsku. No to zaczynajmy! 

Dzisiejszy wyraz jest „April Fools”. Znaczy to dosłownie „kwiecień głupcy”. My Polacy powiedzielibyśmy „Prima Aprilis bo się omylisz!” Po angielsku znacznie krócej!

Pierwsze słowo jest „April”. Znaczy „kwiecień” po angielsku. Powtórzmy to 3 razy. Akcent, czyli nacisk, na pierwszej sylabie. Pamiętajcie, że po angielsku, samogłoski mają przeważnie więcej niż jedną sylabę. No cóż, nie chcą nam ułatwić. Ale nie bójcie się, ja Wam pomogę. 

Tu kiedy się mówi literę A, trzeba zacząć na dźwięku „E” i przejść powoli na dźwięk „I”. Czyli razem brzmi to „eejji”. 

Następnie, w anglojęzycznych krajach, ludzie przeważnie nie wymawiają litery „r” tak jak Polacy. Wymawiają to bardzo słabo, nie „turlają”, nie umieją zrobić „rrrrrrr”. Przeważnie. Oczywiście, jeśli znają więcej niż jeden język, to się tego nauczą ale w angielskim języku ten dźwięk jest po prostu nie potrzebny. Zatem, aby wymówić prawidłowo „r” w słowie „April”, musicie pozwolić, żeby język trochę zdrętwiał. Albo wyobraźcie sobie, że coś Wam przeszkadza, jakbyście mieli w buzi gorące kartofle. „Rrrrr”. Spróbujcie. „Rrrr”. 

Następnie, po angielsku przeważnie te diabelskie samogłoski zmieniają dźwięk zależnie od pozycji w słowie. I tu litera „i” po prostu pamiętajcie, że trzeba wymówić jak nasze „y”. „April”.

No i ostatnia rzecz, to „l” na końcu to się wymawia miękko, podobno do rosyjskiego „l”. 

Okay. Jesteśmy gotowi! Powtórzcie powoli za mną. „April” „April” „April” Doskonale.

Następne słowo jest „Fools”. Znaczy to „głupcy” czyli, więcej niż jeden głupiec. To słowo jest troszkę łatwiejsze. „F” się wymawia normalnie, „l” jak dopiero nauczyliśmy się w „April”, ale samogłoski znowu się z nami zabawiają. 

Ci co się uczą angielskiego napewno to wiedzą, że przeważnie jak się widzi „o o” razem tak, to się wymawia „u” po angielsku. „Cool”, „tools” i inne. Są oczywiście wyjątki, gdzie „o o” nie brzmi dokładnie jak „a” ale bardzo podobnie ... „Blood” „flood”... zatem trzeba uważać, aby nie wkuwać złych informacji. Ale teraz mamy internet i zawsze można sprawdzić. 

W słowie „Fools”, „o o” wymawia się jako „u”. „Fools”. 

Powtórzmy to 3 razy. „Fools” „Fools” „Fools”. Dobrze. 

Teraz wszystko razem, 3 razy, wolno powtórzmy: „April Fools” Bardzo dobrze!

W porządku! To tyle na dzisiaj! Mam nadzieje, że się podobało. Jeśli chcecie skontaktować się z programem, mamy email: Mailbag@howyousay.fm, nasz Twitter jest @howYouSayFM i nasza strona główna jest www.howyousay.fm

Do następnego razu! Pozdrawiam! Cześć!

Julia Tutko
Episode 70: I Am Sick!

Jestem Chora/Chory

English Phonemes: “YEHS-tehm HOH-rah HOH-rih”

Literal Translation: I am sick.

Elegant Translation: I’m sick!

This is a useful phrase to have in your back pocket, just in case!

It’s also a good demonstration of gendered adjectives! If you are female, the correct adjective is “chorA”. If you are male, the correct adjective is “chorY”. 

Jestem = I am [1st person singular of ‘być’ (to be)]
Chora/Chory = sick [adj. changes depending on gender]

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Julia Tutko