ETA: missing capital letters =_=
This post was born over the course of a few days and was inspired by my lesbian-wannabe girlfriend, who realised we were randomly switching between English, Polish and Japanese while writing silly comments on Facebook, and that it was a terrible shame that so many of our pals can’t understand Polish at all. Because, sometimes, we write haikus. In Polish. With lots of swearing.
Don’t worry, pals! I’ll teach you all you have to know!
(Also known as the “How many German loanwords you can fit in a single post”-post or “How many Brecht quotes can you fit in a single post”-post)
(The answer to the both questions is: A LOT)
(Special thanks: to Albanian techno that helped to get me through this after the 100th “fuck the fuck off, you whore”)
The basic sentence structure of the Polish language is:
Note that the profanity is a theoretically optional, if rarely omitted, part of the typical Polish sentence.
(Cut for absolutely NSFW NSFW NSFW swearing)
Thus a typical Polish sentence will look like that:
Poszłam do sklepu kupić kurwa, kartofle.
I (female) went out to buy, fuck, potatoes.
Note that the swear word will often take the position before the direct object on which the emphasis is put.
Because Polish has grammatical cases (seven), grammatical genders (three in singular, two in plural), several tenses, innumerable irregular verbs, and wacky spelling with diacritics that sometimes afftect the pronunciation and sometimes don’t, it is very unlikely that you will actually have the patience to actually learn Polish*.
Therefore, to reach the level of basic communicability, it is imperative that the PFL learner at least fully masters the Polish imperative form, so as to be able to say:
Fuck the fuck off.
The more polite version of this sentence would be:
Kurwaj, spierdalaj pan!
Fuck the fuck off, Mister.
Kurwa, spierdalaj, pani!
Fuck the fuck off, Madam.
This is perhaps one of the most commonly used Polish expressions ever***. The crucial part of getting used to speak Polish is the part where the learner has to realise that virtually no communication exists apart from swearing. This is quite counter-intuitive, and difficult to parse, especially for learners from countries in which swearing is considered a major cultural taboo. Nevertheless, it certainly is something that needs to be dealt with in the course of second language acquisition, and, as the poet says, language is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it, fuck.
Other common words and expressions include:
Chuj: vernacular for penis. Normal Polish word for “penis” is also “penis”.
Dzień dobry: Good morning.
Dobranoc: Good night. Remarkably enough, good night and good morning are two of the very few expressions in the Polish language which can’t easily be turned into profanities.
Jebać: fuck. The full conjugation in the present tense is:
1. jebię 1. jebiemy
2. jebiesz. 2. jebiecie
3. jebie 3. jebią
However, the most common form is the past imperfect participle jebany, which means “fucked”, but is used as English “fucking”, e.g.:
A variant of jebać is zajebać, which means “to steal”.
Gówno: shit. Used very often, much like the English damn, shit, fuck, and the like.
Jesteś już na pierwszym orgazmie? Are you done with the first orgasm yet?: words of gentle encouragement for your Polish friend who is an aspiring erotica writer.
Kac: hangover. A common occurrence on a Saturday morning.
Kurwa, znowu mam kaca.
Fuck, I’m hangover again.
Kapusta kiszona: sauerkraut, the main source of nutrition for most Poles. Perhaps the only reason why they don’t suffer from scurvy. Often used in sentences in the following fashion:
Kupiłeś wódeczkę i kapustę kiszoną na bigos?
Have you (male) bought vodka, and sauerkraut for bigos?
Kurwa: whore, used like the English fuck; often a random substitute for pauses and muttering in speech.
Kurwa mać: (somebody’s) mum (is) a whore; used similarly to kurwa. Native speakers decide on which to use based on which of them seems more suitable in the general framework of the rhythm of a sentence.
Note how it is not stated WHOSE mum is a whore. This is a subtle omission, typical for the Polish language, and often employed by native speakers to hint at the possibility of, among other things, somebody’s mum being a whore, and the possibility of the innateness of undetermination in the very fabric of reality.
The Poles, in a bizzare indication of a somewhat oriental politeness, will generally be disinclined to inform you that it is your mum who is a whore, and make other statements with a high degree of directness.
This is because Eastern Europe is batshit crazy.
Kurwa jego mać: his mum (is) a whore. Despite the presence of the male possessive pronoun, it is still unclear whose mum exactly the speaker thinks is a whore. The pronoun should be treated here as a generic “somebody’s”, and not as indicating any actual person.
As the male possessive pronoun is used as a generic possessive pronoun, the whole expression should be perhaps avoided by more PC-minded speakers.
Important visual aid 1: note how out of 28 words in this short dialogue, 5 are profanities (kurwa: fuck).
Miałam kurwa rację: I was fucking right (feminine) (also: I was fucking right all along). Sendai Anonymous’ battle cry, as she taunts the battered carcasses of the Elamite army her enemies battered corpse of her opponent. Masculine grammatical gender:
Miałem kurwa rację!
Pierdolić/spierdalać: blather, prattle, fuck up/ fuck off, fuck up, run away. Those two verbs can be basically substituted for any other Polish verbs:
Pierdolę, nie robię.
Fuck that, I’m not doing nothing (a popular Polish proverb)
Fuck off, fucker!
I spierdolił chuj z moim rowerem!
And (then) the fuckwit (male) fucking legged it with my bike! (used to express outrage at the shameless act of the theft of a bike by a shameless thief)
Pisz do kurwy nędzy tę jebaną dysertację: Write the fuck your bloody fucking dissertation, will you?: words of gentle encouragement for your Polish friend when she can’t finish her dissertation, because she’s spending too much time taking stupid quizzes on Facebook.
Poniedziałek: Monday, most hated day for most Polish people, and most likely the most universal object of human hatred****, used especially in the phrase:
Nienawidzę, kurwa, poniedziałków.
I fucking hate Mondays.
Racuchy: apfelpfannenkuchen, a traditional Polish dish. Example sentence:
Bardzo lubię racuchy.
I like apple pancakes a lot.
Bardzo, kurwa, lubię jebane racuchy.
I fucking like the fucking apple pancakes a lot.
Szadenfrojde: schadenfreude, a feeling with which many Poles are intimately familiar. In fact according to a survey conducted in 2003, 67% of the respondents strongly hinted that they would rather feel schadefreude as often as possible than have orgasms*****.
This is because Easter Europe is batshit crazy.
Szajse: Scheisse, German word for “shit”. The fact that the Polish people often borrowed profanities from other languages is perhaps the most striking proof for the cultural significance of swearing for the Poles. For the Polish equivalent, see “Gówno”. For the English loan word, see “Szit”.
Szit: shit, see Szajse.
Zajebiście: fucking awesome:
Zajebiście ci poszła ta praca semestralna, Jasiu.
You did some fucking awesome work on that end-of-term report, Johnny.
Note that zajebiście is in fact an adverb.
*In fact, being fluent in Polish is not only unnecessary, but also will in many cases prevent you from finding out interesting things about Polish culture. To start off, the best Polish novel ever written, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, was originally written in French by a suicidal Polish count in the XIX century.
What many Poles might try to argue is that a much better example of Polish literature is the Mister Thaddeus, or the Last Foray in Lithuania: a History of the Nobility in the Years 1811 and 1812 in Twelve Books of Verse, a politically involved epic poem about a young angsty white male, who can’t make up his mind about, what in modern terms can only be called, which party to vote for. Seeing as it is the early XIX century we are talking about, every party sucked**, and you could win only by a. time-travelling, b. commiting a suicide.
Also, the author was batshit crazy.
Spoiler 1: The first lines of the patriotic Polish epic poem are:
- O Lithuania, my country, thou
- Art like good health; I never knew till now
- How precious, till I lost thee.
This shows that the early modern history of eastern Europe is pretty much full of batshit crazy.
Spolier 2: Mr Thaddeus finally decides to vote for one of the parties thanks to the Healing Power of Vagina (and some very boring introspection). This is remarkably similar to the role of Healing Vagina in the books of another Slavic author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who, remarkably enough, was also batshit crazy.
Personally, Sendai Anonymous would look forward to an epic bitch-slapping fisticuffs between Mickiewicz and Dosteyevsky, from which only (surprise!) Tolstoy would emerge victorious, because clearly Anna Karenina > Mr Thaddeus + Crime and Punishment + The Brothers Karamazov.
This is an indisputable scientific fact.
** This noble patriotic tradition is continued in Poland to this day, as every five years or so, when the election day comes, the most pathetic failures and mishaps of natural selection are summoned from every nook and cranny of our vaterland, and a hapless voter has a choice between the crazy right-wing party, the crazier right-wing party, the right-wing party so crazy its members should be locked up for their own good, and the right-wing party masquerading as a left-wing party, whose leader’s greatest accomplishment so far has been to serve as an altar boy when he was a kid.
*** As the poet says, don’t be afraid of death so much as a life in Poland.
**** Apart from a. school, and b. the times when your hometown is being carpet bombed.
***** Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste.