Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cannot tell Russian from Polish

Being a Pole, you'd think I could differentiate, but 10 feet (or about 3 meters) behind me here in the Frankfurt airport, is a Slav speaking very loudly and clearly on his cell phone. Lots of "tak, tak" s... sounds Alot like the conversations I used to hear at paternal family gatherings my entire childhood... but there's so many Russian newspapers and magazines lying around here, I am thinking it may be Russian. The guy looks like a blue collar Pole, not a Russian mobster... who knows.

I could'da been bi-lingual... had not my parents been afraid of discrimination and immigrant stigma. Argh.


  1. wait wait.. several calls later, and many "jak się masz?"s and "dziękuję bardzo"s later... the guy behind me is definitely a Pole.

    Polish - inmy perspective - also has more of a ... almost romantic lyric-ism to it, that Russian's slightly more harsher tones does not (think of Cleese in "A Fish Called Wanda") It's kind of sad that I know more Mandarin, Hindi, Tamil than I do Polish... and I couldn't get my way out a jamb with any of them. French and German I could, and Spanish and Italian I could very very slowly, or if it was all written down I could....

    że życie|pl|c'est%20la%20vie

  2. Listen to see if the guy tells any polish jokes. That might give him away!

  3. Dr Z, I did not hear "A facet idzie do baru, z Kiełbasa pod jednym ramieniu, a pakiet Pierogi ramach innych ..." when I was in Frankfurt.
    =) I've got a 3 sigma confidence level that the guy was another Pole behind me, and not a Russian.


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