Question of the day.

What are some annoying things that people do to sound/seem intelligent?

My answer:

I haven’t noticed it so much in English, but in Polish it’s specific filler words, and, once you pick up on it, it’s annoying as hell. 😀 Using fillers is generally perceived to be something that not very intelligent people do, and, like I said, I don’t really have a very detailed idea of how exactly it works in English, that is, if some fillers are perceived differently than others and if some people use some fillers more than others, but in Polish we do have some filler words, or maybe not even necessarily fillers as such but words that are very much overused by people who want to be perceived as intelligent –
and often are indeed intelligent but, well, it’s annoying. – I don’t suppose they do it out of some desire to brag or cockiness or something, I guess it’s just something that became a thing with some types of intelligent, or should I say academically successful, people.

Another thing which is less annoying for me personally (because I am guilty of doing it too so that’s probably why I’m more forgiving 😀 ), but is widely perceived as trying to sound more intelligent and intimidates some people is using way more foreign-sounding words/loanwords than necessary – mostly what I’m talking about is a lot of words with Latin or perhaps Greek origins when we have words to use that express the same thing but sound more familiar because they come from the same language group that our language does, so Germanic in English and Slavic in Polish. Why say existence if you can say life, of course in situations when it won’t impact somehow the meaning of what you want to say. Or, in Polish, especially in a workplace setting, why say deadline in English if you can say termin in Polish (oh well, termin is Latin, 😀 but we don’t have anything better and termin is a lot more familiar and home(l)y). As I said, I do that a lot myself, however usually when I do it, it’s consciously and because I want to convey something by using lots of latinisms, like sarcasm for example, or sometimes I just prefer the sound or my synaesthetic associations of a specific Latin word over a more familiar, less sophisticated word. Other times though, I just want to brag with my vocabulary and language skills. 😀 Sometimes I also do something opposite in Polish and use a Slavic equivalent even though a Latin one is more popular, I’ve even made up some neologisms of my own because they sound better to me and I like making up neologisms, and ones which are rooted firmly in the language can be easily understood by others even if they’ve never heard such a word before.

One situation where this gets problematic is I think when you start using latinisms and hellenisms more than necessary all the time without realising and sound VERY clunky and serious and big-headed, and sometimes people don’t even understand exactly what you’re saying. Another is when you use them without really understanding what they mean, especially as an adult and in your native language. And then there is yet another situation where it perhaps isn’t problematic, but, like I said before, can be potentially intimidating for others. 😀

A perfect example is a Polish Catholic YouTuber whom my Mum, Sofi and me (but especially Sofi!) like to watch. We like him because he is a traditional Catholic like us, and he’s also very intelligent and clearly knows a lot about a lot of things and has his brain in the right place, while being humble and able to admit if he was wrong about something and just talking about things from the perspective of a lay person – perhaps well-educated and aware of a lot of things in the world, but without a degree in theology and often not understanding a lot of things. – Plus I like that he has a bit of a different way of presenting things than most Catholic people or media online that I have come across – not a different way of looking at them, but a different way of talking about them that speaks to me more. – Anyway, one thing I don’t like about his channel is how he uses those big words all the time. Yes they do sound better, and he knows what they mean, but his audience is very diverse, and not everyone knows that just because they’re Catholic. Sofi, who is very interested in all that stuff like religion and also politics, and likes to know everything, asks a lot of questions and likes to watch things like that, always says she has to watch his videos with me or Mum so that someone will explain everything to her, because it’s interesting but she doesn’t understand a lot of words. Admittedly, Sofi has a bit limited vocabulary, likely because of being a preemie and generally struggling at school a little, but the things he talks about aren’t usually so difficult that Sofi shouldn’t be able to understand them if they were said in a slightly more approachable way. I remember watching one of his videos last year and was quite confused as to what parousia was, as he was using that word in almost every sentence. Like really, I’d think I have quite a rich vocabulary but I had no clue what that parousia thing was. Finally I figured it out from the context and then looked it up just to make sure, and I was right – it means the second coming of Jesus, at the end of the world – and then when my Mum was watching that video, she had the same problem. And you could just say second coming/Final Judgment. Before we moved to where we live now, we lived in the countryside and our church parish consisted of a few small villages, where most people were farmers or something like that and had enough stuff to deal with in their own daily lives to be concerned with such a thing as language, even though a lot of them – being Kashubs –
were bilingual, and a lot were elderly people. And we had a priest who was a very intelligent, studious man, very eloquent and I guess he must have felt quite out of place in there and would have probably been able to use his talents better with theology students or something. He had a weird way of saying everything in such a way that it seemed extremely complicated. Even my Mum’s family – who are relatively intellectual people, my maternal grandparents were both born to intelligentsia families (I only recently learned that the word intelligentsia works in English 😀 ) – were often complaining of not understanding his sermons. I was a child and teenager then and the one thing I remember about him most clearly is that he used the word exegesis extremely often in his sermons, and no one could tell me what it was. I still don’t think I’d be able to use it naturally in any sentence other than something like the one I just wrote, even though I have a basic idea of what it is. 😀

Oh yeah, and, in Polish, the nasal vowels can make you sound more intelligent or less intelligent. Polish nasal vowels are ą and ę, which are pronounced like the French nasal sounds, ą is like the on in “bon”, and ę is like… well, I don’t have a very wide French vocabulary at all, but I can vaguely remember the word “chermins” so it’s pronounced like the in in it. But, the thing is, sometimes they are pronounced differently, depending where in the word they are, and, to a lesser extend, where in Poland you are. Ą can sound like the English on, or like om, while ę can sound like en, em or e, so then naturally they’re no longer nasal. Now, when people still pronounce them in a nasal way where it shouldn’t be so, it’s considered hypercorrection, and it makes a kind of overintelectualised impression it makes. Hence a rather hilarious way of saying in Polish that someone who is desperately trying to be more sophisticated, more intelligent than they actually are or generally aspiring to something they are not is so “ą ę”, it’s used like an adjective.

What are such things in your opinion/experience? 🙂

Reasons why I love Polish.

If any of you have been reading my blogfrom it’s early months, you might recall a post I wrote about all the

reasons why I’m learning Welsh

that I could come up with. It was a translated post from my previous, Polish blog, and I wrote it because pretty much every single person whom I mentioned it to would ask me this question as either the first, or the second one, right after “Isn’t it an English dialect?” 😀 and because, well, as you can see in that post, there are very many reasons.

I enjoyed writing that post and it got a lot more attention than I thought it would, so the next year I also wrote about

reasons why I’m learning Swedish

and last year

reasons why I’m learning English.

I haven’t started learning any new language since then (even though some people seem to believe that I start learning a new one every month, haha), and I think it’ll be a while yet until I do, but although my language bucket list is long, I’m not rushing anywhere. And, there’s still one language that I know that I think also deserves its own post, even though I’m not learning it. Well, I am technically, but since I’m a native, it’s a different kind of learning, of course. And obviously as you can figure out of the title, or even if you know about me, this language is Polish. I was a little hesitant about writing this post however, even though I was thinking from the beginning of this yearly language series that I should do it. Of course I love Polish, and in a way it’s a more special relationship than with any other of my languages, but, because it’s always been a part of my life and not really as a result of my own, conscious choice as is the case with the others, I thought it would be harder to come up with as many reasons. As someone who hates anything to do with math, I always tend to appreciate quality over quantity, but I wouldn’t like this post to stand out as the shortest of the whole series, that would be sad and unfair, even if just in my opinion.

I shared the dilemma with my Mum, who rightly noticed that it would be much more sad and unfair if I didn’t write it at all. And that perhaps the reasons as such will speak louder here than their amount would. That was a very fair point to me, so that’s why I am writing this post today, after all.

Here are all the reasons why I love Polish:

   1.

It is, like I said earlier, my mother tongue, so, in a way, I have even more of a connection with it than any other of my languages. It was the first language that sparked the love for language in my brain, I mean language in general, as a phenomenon, linguistics. It made me fall in love with words, my synaesthetic associations with them, it showed me how fun it is to play with words and expand your vocabulary. I love it because it’s the language in which I communicate with people I love – my family. – And because learning it made me more able and open to learn other languages later on.

   2.

Like all my languages. It is plain beautiful. While other Slavic languages aren’t among my most most most favourites (I do like them a lot, they are super cool and very charming but they aren’t in that MOST group), I strongly believe that even if it wasn’t my mother tongue, I’d still end up loving Polish, I don’t know how I could not.

   3.

While I’m not inclined to brag like some of us like to do that our language is the most difficult in the world (it depends on what you’re starting with, and there are much, much more complex languages out there), Polish does have a rather complex grammatical structure when compared to English, and – if you can ever be objective about such things – I’d say it’s also more complex phonetically than all the languages I’ve learnt so far. That makes me lucky, because the more difficult language you’re starting with, the easier you’ll likely find learning other languages, because you may be familiar with their trickier bits already from your mother tongue. I don’t have to be scared of languages with genuses or cases, for example, and arduously try to conceptualise them, because I already know what they are all about, now I just have to figure out how they apply to the language I’m learning and what differences there are compared to what I’m used to. And while picking up phonetics of foreign languages seems to be more of an individual trait, I think it does help me with it that, in my mother tongue, there are sounds which can hardly be differentiated from each other by a non-native even though they are different (see ś and sz, ć and cz etc.).

   4.

There is a lot of great Polish literature. I don’t know much about how much of it gets translated to other languages and which ones most often, but given that most countries are largely focused either on writing their own literature, or translating things from English, and the Anglophone world doesn’t seem to translate a lot, if I lived anywhere else and didn’t speak Polish, I probably wouldn’t get to know books by people who are now my favourite Polish authors.

   5.

Some of the swearwords and expletives are priceless. See my post

about gingerbread,

for example, if you want to learn more.

   6.

It has loads of amusing idioms. And lots of such that are very straightforward and to the point, and lots of such that I just love the sound of.

7.

The archaic Polish language. While I think it’s very true that a language is alive as long as it’s changing, because we are always changing and the times are always changing so it would be weird if the language wouldn’t, hence I don’t understand people who are all against slang, loanwords and other such things, I think it would be fun if we talked more like we used to, used more of that vocabulary we no longer do. Or, why the heck did we stop using initial stress in words to replace it with a paroxytone stress? I guess only highlanders speak with an initial syllable stress now, and I like that because it makes them sound like Finns. 😀 Or I hate that we stopped using long and short vowels because that makes the prosody of a language feel more interesting. I love love love reading older Polish books where there are words that we no longer use, some that I don’t even really get and I love learning what they mean and feeling them. People used to have such a delicious way of writing, even at the beginning of the 20th century, not to mention earlier. I feel like it often gets lost now. I say delicious because one of the synaesthesias I have is lexical-gustatory and while words almost always have some sort of a taste and it’s not like the modern Polish language doesn’t and like there aren’t any delicious words in it (far from it), it’s just that more archaic Polish language tends to have something very specific about its taste as a whole, that I really like. My Mum has also always loved reading books written in an archaic or obsolete language, so I guess it must be genetic. She especially has a lot of prayer books from like even before WWI I guess, when even the spelling was different and we used y instead of j, or my grandma has a cook book from the end of 19th century. I just love things like these!

8.

Dialects. You may perhaps remember from my post about English, that I wrote about Polish being a fairly unified language in terms of accent, especially when compared to English. However, there still are some slight variations to how people speak in different regions and it’s interesting to observe. There are also some dialects. I don’t necessarily have to love all of them as such in terms of whether they appeal to me aesthetically, but I love that the ones that exist still do, that we have some linguistic diversity (although I wish there was more or at least that it would be more pronounced), and although I myself don’t speak any dialect or don’t have a particularly distinguishable accent (despite being half-Kashub, and Kashubian is classified as a minority language but I can hardly understand it let alone speak it), I am very easily driven up the wall by people saying things like that it is not “elegant” to speak in a dialect, for example. I do think it’s a good skill to have to be able to speak your language in some universal, standard way that is often considered more formal, but being disapproving of someone speaking in a different way is not only discriminatory but also kind of smothering a person’s identity, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why it bothers me so much whenever I come across such an attitude.

   9.

Words that are untranslatable to other languages that I know. I am always interested in the concept of untranslatable words, in any language, and the ideas behind them, how you can express sometimes some incredibly complex ideas using one word in one language, but in another, one sentence may sometimes be too little. A very good example of a Polish word that is untranslatable to English is kombinować, which also happens to be a word that I really like and which, as many Poles think, reflects our resourcefulness as a nation. 😀 Yes, there is combine, and kombinować absolutely can mean combine, but it also has another definition. It is something you do when you have a problem that you need to resolve, but there’s no straight way out of it and it needs first a lot of thinking and then coming up with some unconventional work-around strategy, which sometimes may not be the most honest one. Both the thinking process and then carrying your idea out is what kombinować means. When it is dishonest, you could of course say it’s plain cheating but cheating feels a LOT more weighty and negative, and also kombinować is more colloquial, plus kombinować may, but doesn’t have to include, any cheating. It could be coming up with any creative, out-of-the-box solution or idea and then doing what you came up with. It is often translated as being up to something but it’s not the same.

   10.

Poglish, Ponglish, Pinglish or whatchamacallit. I’ve always said Ponglish, but a lot of people say Poglish and recently I came across Pinglish and I think Pinglish is best. Anyway, obviously you know what I’m talking about, the blend of Polish and English. It is often used by Polish diaspore in the US and the UK (like in Chicago I guess it’s quite a big thing) or by Polish young people in a slangy sort of way, or (voluntarily or not) by Polish speakers learning English/English speakers learning Polish when they’re dealing with language interference and/or nearly discharged/fried brains. It can be so freakishly amusing sometimes.

   11.

I often gravitate towards languages that are less popular and less heard off, if not obscure. Polish may not be as much as obscure, but, apart from Poland or places in other countries where there are a lot of Polish immigrants, you won’t hear it a lot, and there aren’t super many non-natives who would speak it. This small language factor is very appealing to me.

   12.

Because, whether it is the most difficult language in the world or not, it is viewed by many learners and natives as difficult, and I was lucky enough to not have to make a conscious effort of learning it. 😀 And the difficult factor is also appealing in itself. I like difficult languages, they are fascinating, kind of similarly to how complex human beings are.

What do you love your native language for, if you do, and if you don’t, why? 🙂

 

What does gingerbread have to do with the windmill, or, why do Poles use gingerbread as an expletive?

Looking back at my blog stats at the end of last year, I came across an interesting search term that brought someone to my blog, namely –
“piernika swearword”. – I like to be sure that when people do find my tiny little Mishmashy islet amid the whole huge Internet sea, they can actually find what they were looking for. I think usually they do, and if they don’t, it’s most often because I can’t provide the info myself, but in this case, I think I can shed some light on it, so that’s what I’ll try to do today.

But what does that “piernika” thing even mean? “Piernika” is both dative and accusative case of the Polish word “piernik”, which means gingerbread, it doesn’t really make much sense on its own in such form, without some broader context. I think someone looking for something on the topic must have heard about the word gingerbread being used in Polish as a swearword/expletive but didn’t have a clear idea so just Googled whatever. There is neither such a swearword in Polish as “piernika” or “piernik”. However, we do have some rather light swearwords which do derive from this word, and that’s what I’ll write about today. I’ll also tell you about other Polish expressions with the word gingerbread, because we not only have famous and yummilicious gingerbreads from Toruń, but also somehow really like to use this word.

I’d just like people to know that I am not a linguist, just a linguophile who is interested in all things language, so this may not be exhaustive, and that it is only Polish, not English, which is my native language, so some things are a bit awkward to explain in English, but if something isn’t clear let me know and maybe I can explain it differently. Also, there’s not really a whole lot of resources I’ll be working with, as I didn’t find a whole lot of information that would be satisfactory for me on this so very narrow topic. I am mostly writing this as a more rambly sort of postthat I thought could be fun and also interesting, perhaps somewhat educating even, rather than a really valid reference for someone that you can rely on without any reservations, my main resource here is actually a Polish YA book, so… yeah, don’t take it too seriously. 😀

I used the phrase “What does gingerbread have to do with a windmill?” in the title of this post, because it is a legit Polish saying, which is “Co ma piernik do wiatraka” in the original. It is used to point out that something is irrelevant to the conversation, or if you feel kind of confused or don’t understand a relationship between things. Let’s say Sofi and Bibiel are in the middle of a heated discussion about their favourite iPhone games, trying to establish what is better, BitLife or Among Us, and suddenly, out of the blue, Sofi informs Bibiel that she ate an ice-cream sandwich… No information about when she did this and why that would even be important! (real life situation 😀 ). So then Bibiel can ask: “Eh?! What does a gingerbread have to do with a windmill?”

But, actually, just think of it… doesn’t gingerbread have a whole lot to do with the windmill? When I was a child, there was such a radio station here in Poland called Polish Radio BIS (BIS was the acronym for Bardzo Inna Stacja which means Very different Station, and also I really liked how the word BIS sounded and the whole station was just so cool!). One of my favourite programmes on there was BIS-up, which was generally about all things language, but also travel, different cultures and the like. It was a station mostly geared at youth, like uni students or something like that I suppose, and in BIS-up they did language lessons and had a lot of interesting brainstorming questions and stuff. And one thing they once asked to make people think that I remember very vividly was exactly that – what does gingerbread have to do with a windmill? –
People came up with lots of things, interestingly, mostly linguistic, like that they both have an i as their second letter (even in English!), that they’re both masculine nouns and such… But, of course, they have much more in common. Windmill grinds the grain to flour, from which you can then make gingerbread. And you can make a windmill of gingerbread. 😀 So this expression doesn’t really make all that much sense. But doesn’t everything have something in common with each other, if you think long enough? A bit off topic but still on a similar note, we also have an expression that something fits like a flower to a sheepskin coat, meaning it doesn’t fit at all, kinda like a square peg in a round hole. But why do a flower and a sheepskin coat have to make such a dissonance and do they really do? 😀

Then there is “stary piernik” which literally means old gingerbread. Many people think that the older gingerbread, the better it is, but here this is definitely negative. Old gingerbread is a scornful or derogatory phrase used in reference to an elderly man. I’ve also come across people saying “old gingerbreads” in relation to elderly people of both genders, but because gingerbread is a masculine noun it seems more natural in reference to a man. Actually I’ve heard it used more often by older people themselves in a sort of self-deprecating manner, like when comparing themselves to someone younger, rather than someone saying this to an older person or describing them this way.

And now, expletives. So we have swearwords like pierdolić or pierdzielić. Some of our swearwords, especially the ones which are verbs, can have loads and loads of meanings, some more vulgar than the others, but generally these verbs, in any meaning, aren’t something you’d use in a formal way, or around children or somehow very language-sensitive people. I think their primary meaning though is very much like the English fuck. Most frequently, at least from what I hear, people use it as a way of expressing shock, anger or surprise: “Ja pierdolę!/Ja pierdzielę!”, so literally something like “I fuck”. )

We also have some other words starting with pier- which maybe aren’t really swearwords, but generally have a bit of a vulgar feel or aren’t considered appropriate language in a lot of situations, like pierdzieć (to fart).

And as you may remember, ginberbread in Polish is piernik. So I think the story behind the origin of Polish piernik-derived expletives is very much like with English heck, flip or shot. That’s how the word pierniczyć – a verb derived from piernik – most likely came to be.

Polish works in such a funny way that when you have a verb, you can add various prefixes to it and it’ll change its meaning, sometimes dramatically. And the whole versatility of the word pierniczyć is hidden in those prefixes. If you really want to use it all the time, I think you can do so with the right prefixes.

I must admit that I’ve always really liked this expletive. It’s not too offensive, it’s not an actual swearword, but it’s also not totally wishy-washy or smooth and can actually express strong emotions quite well, so you can express yourself to the point without offending someone, unless you’re like really steaming with rage then maybe it won’t feel quite satisfactory. I also like the way it sounds for some reason, there’s something funny about it, and have some nice associations with it, and yes, I love gingerbreads!

The word pierniczyć itself, on its own, with no prefixes may mean something similar to pierdolić/pierdzielić, only milder. I found one human Polish to English translation of this word and they said it’s an equivalent of the English phrase “to tell fibs”. I’m not sure I agree, because while the general meaning is of course the same – to tell something that is not true – I feel like to tell fibs is even milder than pierniczyć, though I may be wrong here. I’ve come across the expression to tell fibs in an English children’s book, where one child was accusing another of telling fibs, and in another book where an adult was telling a child that she thinks the child is telling fibs. I don’t think I would use the word pierniczyć to say this to a child in Polish. I think they could feel hurt or like I was really badly telling them off and it would sound a bit harsh and maybe even slightly vulgar. I could tell that to Sofi, because she is a teenager and I know her well and she’d know I’d probably use it not fully seriously, but with younger children, no. I also don’t think most parents would find it appropriate for younger children to use this word regularly.

Like with pierdzielić/pierdolić, pierniczyć can also be used in the exclamation: “Ja pierniczę!” to express some disbelief, surprise, frustration, irritation and what not but in a more euphemistic way.

When I was thinking about how I should go about this post, I remembered a young adult book I once read called Klasa Pani Czajki (MS. Czajka’s Class), about secondary/junior high school students who all were in the same class, and their class teacher was the title character Ms. Czajka, who taught them Polish. She has a huge passion for the subject she teaches and doesn’t like any slang expressions (let alone such expletives like “Ja pierniczę!”). She doesn’t even let their students use the word fajnie (fine), because it’s a relatively modern loanword.

One day, one of her students (Kaśka), while sitting in Ms. Czajka’s class, looks out the window and sees a boy (Olek) strolling aimlessly around the school backyard, waiting for another girl. It was warm so he took of his jacket, revealing his muscular shoulders, which must have made a huge impression on Kaśka, who exclaimed: “Ja pierniczę!”

Of course that made her teacher very cross and call the girl out for it. But then one of the boys (Maciek), Ms. Czajka’s most eloquent student, spoke up and started explaining to her, that every language, including Polish, is evolving, and that pierniczyć is a word with many different meanings, and its analysis makes one learn grammar. He continues to explain to her that what she just wanted do was to opierniczyć (tell off) Kaśka as a way of showing her disapproval. (you can also give someone opiernicz and it will mean the same, or you can opierniczać się, which will mean that you’re lazing around and not doing what you should). Then Maciek gives a whole very hilarious lecture, to the amusement of his class, and throughout the whole chapter we have the following phrases come up:

odpierniczyć się (to bugger off), spierniczyć (to run away, but spierniczyć something will already mean something completely different –
to destroy or spoil something – ), podpierniczyć/zapierniczyć (to steal, but zapierniczać can also mean to run very fast, or do something very fast, that’s at least how my Dad uses it, I’ve also come across zapiernicz as a noun meaning a very busy, hectic time when you have a lot of work to do), wypierniczyć ( to throw away, and then wypierniczać can also mean to leave), wpierniczyć (to beat/spank, wpiernicz can mean beating – dać komuś wpiernicz =give someone a beating – and wpierniczać can mean to eat, but implies that someone is eating fast and/or a lot), “Popierniczyło cię?” (Are you crazy?, and popierniczony is crazy/nutty), pierniczony (flipping).

And I’m sure there must be some more that people use! Rozpierniczyć (to take something apart, to destroy), I’m pretty sure I heard someone using rozpierniczyć się meaning to fall (from a bike for example, and wypierniczyć się could also mean to fall), popierniczyć (to mix something up). Maybe there are even more…

To make things more interesting, we have more spicy expletives like that, involving pepper (pieprz) and horseradish (chrzan).

Pieprzyć is very much a synonym of pierdolić and pierdzielić, but one which definitely doesn’t have the euphemistic character of pierniczyć, most people think of it as rather vulgar. It also has gazillions of versions with different prefixes.

Horseradish is lighter, I think maybe even lighter than gingerbread. You can say that something is do chrzanu (for horseradish) means something like crappy. Chrzanić is very much like pierniczyć (to talk rubbish), and, again, there are many similar verbs with prefixes meaning mostly the same.

And then – although it doesn’t really belong in the expletives/swearwords category – we have cumin (kminek). There is a slang word rozkminiać (to wonder, to try to understand, to think deeply), similarly there are rozkminy (singular rozkmina, deep thoughts, attempts at understanding something, creative, sometimes weird, ideas). I really like this word. You can also wykminić something (come up with something) or kminić (think a lot and deeply, usually wondering about something or trying to come up with something).

I feel like my brain might have turned into a piernik by now. 😀 And thus I am having a rozkmina: will that make it get better and better as it gets older, as gingerbread normally does? Or will it end up totally popierniczony as a result?

What is your favourite swearword or expletive or any weird phrase in your language? And, what else do you think gingerbread could have to do with a windmill? 🙂

Ps: I’ve just had supper, over which we were talking with Dad about camper vans (he’s been wanting to buy one for ages and it’s his biggest dream and pretty much an obsession by now), and he said that the one his friend has is very “odpierniczony”, which was supposed to mean that he put a lot of care in it and that it’s very luxurious and neat and fancy etc. As you can see, the potential of gingerbreads is neverending.

Chłopcy Kontra Basia – “Oj Tak” (Oh Yeah).

So today we – Polish people – are celebrating the 102nd anniversary of regaining our country’s independence, yay!🇵🇱🇵🇱🇵🇱🎉 And we need to celebrate it on My Inner Mishmash as well, with some Polish music. Especially that there is generally very little Polish music on here. Not because I don’t like Polish music, but just because I know rather little of it that I would truly love. I’m sure though that there is still a lot that I haven’t discovered and many musicians that just aren’t promoted enough so people don’t get to learn about them.

Previously as some of you may remember, on our major national holidays I had a habit of sharing some music by non-native Polish speakers singing in Polish, often something about Poland. I don’t think I have any more of such quirky findings for today but I’ll definitely keep looking as it’s always interesting both from a Pole’s and linguophile’s perspective. 😀

Today, it’s a native Polish band. Funnily enough, while I’m not a huge fan of jazz, as it happens, both the group performing the song for yesterday and for today make some sort of folk and jazz fusion. 😀 But it wasn’t planned. I mean yes, I did plan ahead to share them as I always do and in this particular order but I didn’t really realise when doing so that they have this in common, haha!

I discovered this band years ago, when sitting in the car and waiting for my Mum, and Polish Radio Programme 2 was on – they usually play classical music or jazz but you can also hear a fair bit of folk or even some kind of experimental music, I’m not really sure what genre exactly it should classify as, it’s generally considered a very sophisticated radio station by many. 😀 I was just at such a time where I was looking for some new Polish music, especially folk music, that I could like and listen to, and I heard this song I’m about to introduce to you. And I decided I liked it a lot. It was so very strongly folksy while at the same time with just as strong neo- feel because of the jazzy instrumentation, and I loved the lyrics.

This band’s name can be translated to The Boys vs Basia in English. The Basia in the band’s name is the leader, vocalist and frequently the lyricist Basia Derlak, while the boys are the other members.

I don’t think I’d be able to write a quality literal translation of this song, so I’ll try to simply explain to you what it’s all about.

It tells the story of a girl who is pasturing her mare by the water, and just at the same time God is sailing there in His boat, rowing with his leg. The girl tries to discourage Him from sailing closer to her, saying that she is young and likes to sin, and tells him to sail to the nearest village where there are good, married girls and not to look at her because He might yet see the devil, and she is not worth His Eyes. God tells her that he sailed from heaven and just wanted to look at her for a moment. But she insists for Him not to do so, because she is young and sin doesn’t hurt, and tells him to come back in ten years, and then he’ll be able to look at her to His Heart’s content. So ten years passed, the girl turned into a woman, but God isn’t coming. “Perhaps  something happened to the Divine boat?” Finally, even two hundred years passed by, and the girl turned into a crone. She is waiting and waiting for God, and pasturing her mare again. But God forgot about the crone, who was standing by the water, called His Name and stomped her foot at eternity.

I like how subtly pawky it is and how you can interpret it in a few different ways. I am Christian as you may know but once talked about it with someone who was atheist and we both understood it totally differently, it blew my mind. 😀

Question of the day (19th September).

Hey people! 🙂

Let’s talk languages for a while. Simple question for now:

What’s your native language?

My answer:

As most of you on here surely know, my native language is Polish. My Dad is Kashub and can also speak Kashubian but I only know little bits and pieces of it and can’t understand anything substantial if someone speaks really fluently and fast, also I don’t really identify myself strongly with Kashubian. But I do love Polish to bits and I’m so glad that it’s my native language. It’s cool, beautiful, and a great language to start out with if you want to learn difficult languages. 😀

You? 🙂

Sława Przybylska – “Kroki Oczekiwane” (Expected Steps).

Hey people!:)

Huh, I’d never ever think that this lady could be featured in my song of the day series, and I think if someone told me that she will, I’d find it very amusing! 😀 Sława Przybylska became popular in late 1950’s and is probably most famous for singing the Polish version of “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”. At least that’s what I most associate her with. She’s absolutely not my style, I generally am not a fan of Polish retro music, a lot of it feels exalted and overly sentimental to me and I find this annoying, it just doesn’t speak to me. However…

I decided to share this song with you for one very specific and very special reason. The lyrics!

As you may know from one of my latest post, the book I was reading very recently was an anthology of excerpts from literature from across multiple genres, mostly Polish literature, about cats! Some of the texts in there really spoke to me, like an excerpt of “Honorable Cat” by Paul Galico, about a cat who scolds her owner for that despite he can speak multiple human languages, including extincted ones, he doesn’t understand her language. I really regret I can’t find at least a little excerpt of this excerpt somewhere online in the original form so I could share it with you.

Among the things that particularly moved me was a poem, which as it turned out later from a note below was actually a song, and which was written by Kazimierz Szemioth. The author of the anthology – Anna Bańkowska – also mentioned that it was sang by Sława Przybylska. That made me think I’m not going to like the song as much as I did its lyrics,so first I tried to look up if there are some other versions of it that would be more digestible for my brain. But as I couldn’t find anything noteworthy I thought it would be a real shame if I gave up on the original song without listening to it, when it has such beautiful, moving lyrics.

Indeed, the musical arrangement didn’t strike a chord. But still, I think she sings it in a very expressive way and the only problem here is that it’s just not my style. But the more I listen to it, the more I love the lyrics, so finally I thought I’ll share the song, as well as my translation of the lyrics, with you. I’d like to be able to make it sound a bit less raw in English, and it’s certainly not a poem anymore, haha, as I wasn’t even intending it to be, but oh well… I just want you to have a feel of it. Also I must say that since I’ve read this, I am even more glad that Misha is not an outdoor cat and cannot go in and out as he pleases, this has been so for many reasons as you know, but now I’ve realised I’d probably be in at least equal distress than the girl in this poem if I were to wonder where he is and when he’ll come home, every night.

   Can you hear how this clock is chiming?

It’s 8 PM already, and it’s raining so much

And he is not here, no

She is waiting, jumps up at every sound

So empty when he has gone somewhere

And she is feeling so bad

It must be him, oh no, it’s rain

Skeins of clouds in the window

Maybe it’s him? And again it’s not

It was only the whistling of the wind

Maybe it’s him? And again it’s not

It was only the whistling of the wind

 

She has been alone in the world for so long already

Only he wants to stay with her

He doesn’t laugh at tears

So why is she looking at the wet roof?

Shall her dearest come back this way

Like an apparition in strange dreams?

 

Whose steps is she awaiting so much?

Who of us will guess?

Is it true, that he should have come today

Or is he just deceiving her so?

Is it true, that he should have come today

Or is he just deceiving her so?

 

He’s come back, he’s come back, but so pathetically wet

His fur was crinkled, he shivered

And his paws were cold

He’s come back, he’s come back, through the wet, cold roof

And is purring quietly, while she

Has him in her arms again

 

She’s not alone anymore, when he’s asleep here next to her

He will be purring her to sleep until the morning

And here’s the song:

 

What roles do I play?

This post is going to be long, the more that before I get to the actual topic of it, I’d like to fill you in a little on what’s been happening in my life so that you have an idea if you’ve been wondering what was going on, but feel free to skip a few paragraphs to the actual topic. 🙂

As you know, I’ve been getting used to my new iPhone the last couple of weeks, which is one of the reason I hadn’t blogged much at all lately. I’m getting better with it, though still, there are things I have to figure out, and I’m still pretty slow at using it, and I suppose it may just be the case that, despite it seems to be the opposite for most people, I will not be able to use the iPhone as fast and efficiently as my computer. But I do know how to do the basics, and even some things that aren’t basic by now.

Also, we had a bit of a heatwave and that really affected my energy and generally my wellbeing, and last week was migraine-filled and also difficult emotionally as I was really low, which was followed by our short family trip during the weekend. The trip wasn’t that very fun at all, as it wasn’t a particularly interesting place and there wasn’t much at all to do, also it was terribly hot for all of us and the conditions in our hotel were rather poor, but we mostly just went to keep Dad company as he was having some work related training and exams there, and because Zofijka loves staying at hotels, so we thought it could be fun for her. I’m really happy to be back home and now appreciate it even more than I did before that I can sleep in my own bed and do things I want when I want and just be in my safe space. We also went to the seaside on Sunday and that was so much more fun, I just love the sea. Except that I got badly sunburnt and now it hurts like shit but oh well, luckily it’s going to pass at some point. So that was, in a nutshell, why I was less active in the blogosphere in the last few weeks.

Another thing I started doing recently is I’ve got more ebooks to read in English. I’ve always wanted to read Kindle ebooks which I theoretically can do as there’s a pretty accessible Kindle for PC app, or was I really determined I could get myself a Kindle device with text to speech functionalities, but I’m very picky about the ways I read, and I want to be able to read my books on my PlexTalk, as well as Braille-Sense. Which I can only do with Kindle ebooks if I remove the DRM. I know, I know, it’s illegal, but I believe that if I buy a book, I have every right to read it however is convenient for me, and the mere fact that I’ve removed the DRM doesn’t immediately have to mean that I’m going to give it away to all the people I know IRL and online, or to anyone at all, for that matter, does it? There is a pretty uncomplicated little app that converts ebooks from and to lots of different formats and can remove DRM protection so that you can copy your book on to your preferred device and have it in a format that your device is able to recognise. But despite this app is very easy, for some reason I’ve been struggling to remove the DRM with it from Kindle ebooks specifically, it just doesn’t seem to recognise them properly or something or can’t locate them, even when I select the Kindle folder and a specific file manually, there’s just something wrong and I can’t figure it out on my own. I contacted the developer but so far haven’t heard from him, it seems like he’s been inactive online for a while so I may have to just wait. Meanwhile, because the app is able to work with other types of files on my computer with no issues, I decided to give Kobo books a go. And Kobo works really well for me, I don’t have to convert their books, as my devices read epub, so I only have to remove the DRM. I also may give iBooks a try soon, now that I have an iPhone.

Anyways, since I’ve started using Kobo, I’ve got myself quite a few ebooks, all of which I’m still going to read, and among  them are two books with journaling prompts that I learned about from Astrid of

A Multitude of Musings

who uses them. One is The Goddess Journaling Workbook” by Beatrix Minerva Linden, which sounded really good to me as a folklore junkie, and the other is “The Year of You” by Hannah Braime. I really like the idea of books for journaling and I think I may be getting more of them. I’ve already used a few prompts from both in my diary, but also thought that I’d like to do some of them on my blog, and this is going to be the case today.

I thought I’d use the very first prompt in Hannah Braime book, which I already did in my diary in a bit of a more extended and personal form, but I think I could just as well write about this one on my blog. The prompt goes as follows:

What are the different roles you play in your life (e.g. mother, partner, sister, etc.) List as many as you can think of.

So here goes, in mostly random order. To make it more interesting than just a mere list, I will write a bit about each of these roles. I am not including roles as in masks, like who I may pretend to be for all sorts of purposes that isn’t actually me, and also I’m not including very small roles that don’t really matter for my life as a whole and that I simply don’t have much to say about.

  •    I am a human being. This sounds very obvious and we rarely think much about the fact that we are humans but I think it is a very important role that we should remember that we have and that one of our responsibilities as human beings is to act in a humane way and be proud of all the things that make us human, that distinguish us from any other beings in the world. It’s especially important in times like these when you see so many different situations where people as individuals and as a whole are being dehumanised in so many different ways, some very overt and some very subtle, that have become casual to us over the years and that we rarely think about as dehumanising, or that we may even perceive as good and beneficial because of how our collective thinking has twisted over the years. I personally think I often underestimate how important this role is. And I guess I don’t often take it seriously, for example in the situations where I feel a lot of self-loathing I definitely tend not to think about it at all.
  •    I am a daughter. – It is also one of the main roles, in my case. I am really grateful to have my parents and that my parents are the way they are. From what I have observed, it seems common for children to want their parents to be more like someone else’s parents, or to idealise other kids’ parents and think that theirs aren’t quite as good. But I remember when I was younger and thought about it sometimes, whether I would like to have different parents, and with which of my school friends I’d be happiest to swap, and, especially when it comes to a mum, I couldn’t think of one from those that I knew that I would like more as my mum. This doesn’t mean that my parents are perfect, as neither am I so I couldn’t expect them to be, or that there certainly are no other people on Earth who would make better parents for me, but that I think I’m really lucky to have the parents I have. Perhaps it’s my AVPD speaking, or something else irrational like that, but I often have a strong impression that I’m not quite as good in this role as I could be, and as I should be. I know that I often disappoint them, but it’s not even this that makes me think that I’m not as good a daughter as I could be, because children usually tend to disappoint parents in some way, I guess, just because they hardly ever are exactly the same as the parents expected them to be. I’m always more concerned about that I am mainly a burden for them, especially for my Mum, more than my siblings. I feel like there’s little balance in our relationship, and I guess that’s how most of my relationships actually work. What I mean by that is that I often have, or in any case, feel like I have, relationships with people where I either give too much and the other person keeps overstepping my boundaries, so that I don’t really have much satisfaction out of it long-term, or take too much than I give and feel like I am not able to recompensate as much as I should and would like. And it’s the same here. I know that my parents, especially my Mum, like to chat with me, my Mum often says that she would go crazy here if not me because I am the only person in this house with whom she can have a more intelligent discussion or share some of her thoughts that no one else in this house would be able to understand, and I am also a good listener and both of my parents like to come to me for advice, which I find pretty hilarious since obviously I am much younger than them and don’t have quite as much life experience, my Dad seems to appreciate my sense of humour because we’re on the same wavelength and no one else here gets some bits of our sense of humour, but overall it feels very little compared with what they do for me.
      •    I am a sister. – As you likely know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I have a brother and a sister. I get along worse with Olek than I do with Zofijka. I’m happy to be his sister and I like him overall, but our relationship isn’t and has never been very strong. These days it looks so that we barely talk to each other unless there’s a clear need for it, we hardly just do small talk. Not because there’s any resentment, conflict or anything, although we used to argue a lot as kids and at least I openly disliked him and was really nasty to him at times, though I mostly don’t remember that, but it just feels awkward these days. With Zofijka, we have a very strong relationship, despite she is much younger than me than Olek is. We often argue with Sofi and get on each other nerves, sometimes it can be very harsh, explosive and difficult because we are very, very, very different from each other and often have trouble understanding each other and our personalities can just clash in a big way, but we can also have lots of fun together and I think in a way I could say that Zofijka is my best friend, we’re sort of like yin and yang and despite there’s a ten years old difference between us we interact with each other very much like peers. I very clearly remember when Mum was pregnant with her, and I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at nights because I was thinking about “Helenka” (we referred to her as Helena throughout the pregnancy and only after she was born was she named Zofia) and I just couldn’t wait for her to be born and was so badly frustrated that I had to wait for so long, I would think all the time what it would be like and what we would do together. And after all I didn’t have to wait that long as Zofijka was born prematurely. That was so much different than with Olek, whose birth is my very first memory and I wrote about it in detail here which was definitely not so pleasant for me. While I’m not sure I am a good sister for Olek, I think I am a pretty good sister for Zofijka, I try to be helpful for her when I can and she often comes to me when she wants to talk about things that she isn’t comfortable talking about with Mum, even though our Mum is the kind of parent with whom you can talk about most things, but about some things Sofi seems to prefer to talk to me. I want her to have a happy childhood and so I do what is possible for me to do to contribute to it, we spend a lot of time together and I teach her a lot of things and I’ve created the Jim guy for her about whom she still likes to hear, and about whom I wrote here.
      • I am Polish. I love being Polish! I feel an affinity with all “my” countries (that is all that speak my favourite languages) and their nations, I love their languages, but I can’t imagine being something else other than Polish myself. 😀 I am very proud of my country and language and I love the Polish language to pieces. Speaking of being Polish, we just had presidential election a few days ago, so I was able to fulfill one of the duties associated with that role, and I was very happy that that our current president, for whom I voted, has got the majority of votes this time round as well, but We’ll still have to have another round, as one of his opponents also got quite a lot of votes and at the same time no one had at least 50%, and to be the president in Poland you have to have at least 50% of votes. So we’ll see yet how it goes, but I’m very hopeful.
      • I am a Christian, and a Catholic. This is a hugely important role for me and to me personally it has a lot of overlap with the human being bit. This has been something that I’ve had a different view on throughout my life and I didn’t always identify as Christian, I was born to a devout family and raised Catholic but there was a period in my life where I considered myself agnostic/atheist, and later also something like Wiccan or along these lines, but I’ve sort of “reconverted” to Christianity after some deep thinking and I’m really happy I did it. It isn’t easy to be a good Christian, especially when you have a mental illness and stuff, some days are harder than others, but I think it’s still really worth the effort. What I struggle with the most in regards to my faith is that I often don’t feel the connection to God as much as I would like, I often feel lost, or don’t feel much towards Him, or not as much as I think I should when I listen to other people. I’d really like to be the “hot” kind of Christian, and I really envy people who are, but I think I’m still really lukewarm and more intellectual than emotional/spiritual in my faith, and I’d like to be able to love God more and have a more genuine relationship with Him. I even envy people like my Mum, who are able to dissolve into spontaneous and genuine tears when contemplating Way of the Cross, or feel deeply moved on a spiritual level by a homily or a hymn, cry during confession or feel a deep spiritual need to receive Communion when they haven’t been able to for weeks, and awful sadness when they cannot, like Zofijka does. I guess it’s already something that I want it, but I don’t know how to make it. I try to be the best Christian I can be without being able to feel such extreme things and think that perhaps I am just meant to live like this and need to accept it, and that there’s some meaning to it, I don’t know. Another huge obstacle I’m facing every day is that I have real real trouble focusing on prayer, my brain doesn’t seem to be cut out for thinking about just one thing at a time. 😀 I realise though that these things are probably also partly a consequence of how things used to look in the past for me.
      •    I am a cat mummy. I love my Misha to pieces, am immensely grateful and happy to have him and so glad that I can take care of him as much as I can, feed him, sleep with him, cuddle with him and receive so much love and beauty in return. This is a relatively new role in my life but I love it, it is a pure pleasure to take care of Misha. I only think it’s a pity that I can’t do all the things that a cat mummy should do, whether it comes to his hygiene or our relationship. Contact with Misha is mostly visual, so that makes the situation more difficult for both of us. For me, because I don’t have the ability to read many of the cues he’s sending, so I often feel confused about what he wants or needs or how he’s feeling, and for him, because that means I have to touch him more than I would otherwise, and that he would like, because he isn’t the most touchy-feely and is often fearful of touch and closeness.
      • I am a friend. At this point in my life, I have no friends in real life (unless we count Misha and people like Zofijka and my Mum in, then I have three), and I’m pretty happy about this fact because I don’t really feel the need to have them in real life just for the sake of having friends. I wouldn’t mind having friends in real life, if there were people in my surroundings that I would feel we have a lot in common with each other and if they’d also want to be my friends, but I’m not desperate and happy to be friends with just anyone just because it looks better to have friends. I do have a few people online though that I consider friends. Some in the blogosphere, and some who are my more long-term pen pals. This can be challenging at times too because I still have some struggles with social interactions or expressing myself even online, so I find it difficult to have really close relationships with people, but it is easier and I really appreciate having friends who think similarly, have similar interests and like me. I know I can’t always be as supportive for them as I’d like, but I do like to be, and I want to be helpful, or at least kind. And, when it comes to writing with my pen pals, especially those with whom I’m closer and have known them for a while, I treat it very seriously and even when I have little time or don’t feel that well or when sometimes I don’t feel very much like writing, I try to write back as soon, as much and as interestingly as I can. Which means that sometimes I can spend a large portion of my day, or even more than that, typing away to people. Not because I have so very many penfriends but because if you’re committed to it, it can consume a lot of time, unless you’re instant messaging or something. ALso sometimes there indeed are a lot of people to write back to, because I still try to make new penfriends, or people initiate contact with me, and there are times when I get like waves of emails, and after a while it gets much quieter because a few people fell off for all sorts of reasons or just have a temporarily a more busy time. Usually when you want to have penfriends you do snail mail or email and typically both of you want to get long mails and possibly regularly, get to know the other person and their life and anything that may be interesting about them and their life, and also know that they are genuinely interested in you. So, if you want to get long mails, you have to write them, too. Some people get easily discouraged from pen palling after a bit of initial enthusiasm when they realise that they won’t get long, beautiful letters every week automatically just because they wrote to someone once, and that they need to put some effort into it as well. So I would say it’s not really for very busy people, because they won’t be able to keep up, unless they’re very organised and motivated. It pays off definitely, if you can find people with whom you actually click and who are equally committed, which may take some trials and errors, some disappointments on both sides and some time, a lot of time in some cases. I am grateful for all of my friends, especially that not so long ago I didn’t have friends like these at all, and now life feels much better.
      • I am a granddaughter. I rarely think of this role of mine. I love my grandparents because they are my grandparents (though I dislike my (paternal) gran and it’s hard to love someone when you dislike them and when you know that they dislike you even more), but, except for my (maternal) grandad, I find it difficult to connect or even just interact with my grandparents. I often think that I am a very bad granddaughter, because I know they generally really like it when their grandchildren visit them and consider it a primary sign of respect or something like that, while I don’t visit them nearly as willingly, nor as often as I and other people think I should, as I find all the socialising exhausting, and, don’t really have a personal bond with them, again except for my grandad with whom we have some sort of an understanding without words and he’s always stood by my side even when no one else did and I will be eternally grateful for that to him. Emily Starr [of New Moon] wrote in her diary in context of her cousin Jimmy that it’s good to have one such person in your life who only sees the good things about you and none of your flaws, more of such people would spoil you. For me such person is my grandad. Therefore I feel even more guilty these days that I don’t live close to him anymore that I don’t visit him more often, and I’m not sure he understands actually why. But what I can do is to try to be nice and kind to my grandparents and show it as much as I can while we are together. I guess though that the lack of relationships with my grandmas (my paternal grandpa died when I was rather little), isn’t entirely my fault. They have a hard time connecting to me just as well, the way I see it, I guess mostly because I’ve been away from home for most of my childhood.
      •    I am a goddaughter. This is another role I hardly think about on a conscious level. But the way I was brought up, since I am a Christian, I was often told by my parents that it’s important to pray for your godparents and support them this way just like they are obliged to support you in your spiritual development. I think it makes sense, so while I don’t have close relationships with my godparents either, and actually don’t really like them, I pray for them every day, especially that they both have very difficult life situations. My godmother is someone with whom I find it really difficult to talk and she usually ends up triggering all my shit so I hardly feel normal after talking to her. We used to get along a bit better when I was younger, and I can enjoy talking to her still because we have a lot in common, but you have to know how to interact with her and which topics are better to be avoided. I am not the only one person in our family who finds her extremely difficult, though. She is generally the type of person who will always give you unsolicited advice and ask lots of questions you definitely don’t want her to ask, and she always knows best what’s best for you but you simply happen not to have discovered it yet, she can be also very hurtful. I suppose attending her birthdays, name days and such also belongs to my duties associated with this role, but as I usually can’t bring myself to do that, I just call my godparents on their special days. This is one of the few instances where I actually prefer to call people rather than see them. 😀
      •    I am a blogger. I have been a blogger for years, almost a half of my life, haha! I’ve always really liked it and I’m proud that I’m doing it. I’m especially proud now, that I have an English blog, this was a really big decision for me and a big dream of mine and it has helped me very much both with my mental health and my language development.
      • I am a language learner. I am not sure if something you do mostly as a hobby can also be your role, but I guess so in a way. What I perceive as a role about it is particularly the bit with endangered languages. My role is learning them so that they are still in use and can survive, or at the very least, even if I don’t get to use them that much in practice, I am still able to speak them. For now, the only minority language I speak is Welsh, and I’m nowhere near fluent yet, but I am learning and I’m going to learn more languages – endangered and not endangered. –

What are the roles you play in your life? 🙂

 

Question of the day (2nd June).

Hey people! 🙂

Do you prefer pie or cake? What kind?

My answer:

I’ve asked that question on my blog some two years ago and answered it so in case you haven’t seen that post, I’ll copy my response.

It really really depends on what cake or pie it is. Plus, for me this difference isn’t really that important, because in Polish we usually call both the same name, which is ciasto. Of course, you can call a pie placek, but it’s rather rarely heard nowadays, placek is actually in some regions more like a pancake, so just no one cares what is a cake, and what is a pie. 😀 How about you? And what are your favourites? 🙂

Song of the day (19th November) – Mikromusic – “Takiego Chłopaka” (A Boyfriend Like This).

Here’s another Polish song I have for you.

I used to have very mixed feelings about it, and I’ve seen quite a few different interpretations of what it really is about, including that it shows all men as being awful or that women are super picky. I liked the sound of it immediately when I heard it. It’s trip-hop but the song has a bit of a folksy feel and I liked that it was sort of ironic and humourous. The song is about a woman who wants a boyfriend, and she has a whole list of what he should not be, looks like she’s such an idealist and wants just someone very exceptional who only has good traits. Yet something in this song really stung me, ’cause on her list of things he cannot be is “not a Pole”. I mean, it’s completely okay not to want to have a Polish boyfriend, even if you’re Polish, but the whole list was made up of various negative things and “not a Pole” thrown in-between, it made it look very bad and very offensive to me, and I’m sure could feel even more so to Polish guys. And I’ve seen many other people finding it controversial too.

But these days I think this song does not contain any anti-Polish messages. I think you can see this song in two ways, depending if you are an optimist or a pessimist, although I have no idea what Natalia Grosiak – the vocalist and author of the lyrics – had in mind writing this song. If you are an optimist, you can think that the girl speaking in the song is very young, romantic, idealistic and picky to begin with. She wants someone who won’t change her life overly and will just be perfectly the way she imagined him. Then, as the song progresses, she changes her mind. She decides that “yes, give me a boy who is ugly, who is a bit crazy, who has his weaknesses”. She finds someone that she loves despite the traits in him that are difficult and she happily accepts the fact that there are no perfect people and that there is no way to fall in love with someone who is perfect. If you are a pessimist, you can see this song as showing how bad life can be and often is. You begin with having dreams and hopes and wanting someone special and perfect. Only that, as you gain more experience in life and in relationships, instead of happily accepting that we all have weaknesses and it’s okay and finding someone whose weaknesses are complementary with yours and you are able to live with him the way he is, as it should be in a proper romantic movie with a happy end, you give up. Because whoever you’ll choose, it will be difficult and nothing will work out the way you want. You don’t care what he’s like anymore, maybe not even whether you love him, you just want someone and you know you have very limited choice.

Despite I am a pessimist, in this particular song I have a feeling the optimistic theory looks better not only because it’s more pleasant. It’s just easier for me to imagine such a scenario. Personally I’d rather be lonely than look for all means for whoever to be my boyfriend, even if he is a drunkard to whom I don’t feel anything.

So, here are the lyrics that I’ve translated and the song.

 

Mr Fate, please give me someone who won’t stir the water in my pond
Someone who won’t fade away like a bad dream
When there are no more fish in my pond

Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?
Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?

Give me a boyfriend
Not a crazy one, give
Not a smoker
Not a poor one, give
Not a drunkard
Not a Pole, give
Not an ugly one

Send me a boyfriend
not a crazy one, give
Not a dodge
not a clown, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not a poor one
Send me

Mr Fate, please give me someone who won’t pick all the roses from my garden
Someone who won’t eat all the apples
and run away overseas

Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?
Where will I find someone so
beautifully kind?

Give me a boyfriend
Not a crazy one, give
Not a smoker
not a poor one, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not an ugly one

Send me a boyfriend
not a crazy one, give
Not a dodge
not a clown, give
Not a drunkard
not a Pole, give
Not a poor one

Send me a boyfriend
Give me a Pole
yes, I want a crazy one!
I want a drunkard
Yes, give me a strongman
An ugly one
Yes, give me a Pole

Send me a boyfriend
a boyfriend like this
a boyfriend like this
a boyfriend like this
like this

Song of the day (16th November) – Coma – “Los Cebula I Krokodyle Łzy” (Fate Onion And Crocodile Tears).

I didn’t plan to share this song at all but I kind of had no idea for a song for this day, and I heard this one playing in the bathroom, so decided to share it because I have a bit of a personal story with her. It’s a song dedicated to people who struggle with depression but also generally just any kind of life difficulties. I heard it for the first time in the kitchen, one late Sunday evening, night actually. I went downstairs because I had self harm urges and wanted to cut or something. I came into the kitchen and took out the knife from the drawer when I heard this song playing: “Leave that damn mug alone, you’ll cut your fingers…”. 😀 I had a knife in my hand, not a mug, and intended to cut not necessarily my fingers with it, but the irony of the situation made me laugh out loud despite I was crying some five minutes earlier. 😀 I started to listen to the song and it sort of made me feel better, at least I could relate to it. I’d like to tell you that Coma prevented me from cutting that time but they didn’t, but the song helped me a little bit to make me feel less alone with my shit. And now I am going to share it with you and my translation of the lyrics as well.

   Leave that damn mug alone – you’ll cut your fingers.
Drink the milk, wash your face. I’ll come before you fall asleep.
Even though the galactic blast will destroy the civilisation
It’s not enough to burst out into tears.
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too, but you must admit, that all in all, life is wonderful
And stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!
And why do you read the comments from frustrated pipsqueaks?
Let the blockheads poison themselves with venom, save yourself the evil.
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too fate, onion and crocodile tears.
Stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!
For me, the day wasn’t too gracious either.
For me too, too long and bad is the winter
For me too fate, onion and crocodile tears.
Stop wailing! Stop wailing! Stop crying!i

Hungarica – “Burzliwe Stulecia / Viharos Szazadok” (Stormy Centuries).

Hi guys! 🙂

You know it’s Independence Day today in Poland? Yaaay! It’s 101 years since Poland regained its Independence, and, while you can hear so much about it in the media, especially on a special occasion like this, I have a feeling like we still so often take it for granted a bit, and that so many people had to die and suffer their personal losses for it to happen. Sofi is having a concert tomorrow at her school because of that, and she is going to sing solo one verse of a song, as she is in a choir. I’ve always thought that, while she loves to sing, her ability to sing in tune is very questionable, but it seems like her music teacher’s opinion is different, so hopefully it goes well for her, she’s very stressed now so any and all crossed fingers will be appreciated! 🙂

Last year on this day I shared with you a song “40:1” by a Swedish band called Sabaton, sung in Polish, about the Battle of Wizna. You know I’m into language so I like to kinda incorporate this holiday into the overal feel of my blog. So, there is such a radio programme on Polish Radio Programme 3, called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola” (Rock&roll Zone Free of English), where you can hear a lot of good rock music and some related more or less closely genres, and it’s in all possible languages but not English. Not because anyone has any problem with English, but because English in music is definitely overrated and it’s unfair for all the other languages. Polish is also rarely heard, because you can hear Polish music in Polish media on a daily basis. The only times you can hear Polish in this programme is when it’s on air on Independence Day, or on May 3, when we celebrate the anniversary of proclaiming the Constitution of May 3, which was the first modern constitution in Europe. I really like to listen to it then, because you can hear foreign bands and musicians singing in Polish, or making any kind of Poland-themed music, it’s very interesting. And the song I have for you today is from there as well.

Hungarica is a (surprise!) Hungarian national rock band, whose songs usually are on the topic of Hungarian history, and from what I’ve read they are one of the most popular Hungarian rock groups. They had a concert in Katowice in Poland some years ago and from the band’s history it seems like they feel a strong bond with Poland, which is not much of a surprise, as Poland and Hungary have a history of quite close relationship, and have a lot of similarities in our histories. And one of this manifestos of their bond with Poland is the song “Burzliwe Stulecia”, “Viharos Szazadok” in Hungarian, which means Stormy Centuries. The group’s vocalist sings it entirely in Polish and does it really wel. Better even than Joakim Broden from Sabaton, who said he struggled with Polish very much and needed frequent breaks throughout the recording, but suppose Hugarian (as weird and enigmatic as it sounds to Poles, and not belonging to the same language family) has paradoxically more in common with Polish phonetically than Swedish. Though you can see that the word accents work much differently in Hungarian, as he does them rather funnily in Polish sometimes.

The song is great. It is a short retelling of Polish history, accentuating what a brave and strong nation Polish people are, despite, or maybe thanks to, all we have been through over the ages.

I managed to write a very rough translation, I don’t think it’s very good this time round, but it’s just so you know what it is about.

   Since a thousand of stormy years
Courageous people are lasting by the Vistula river
Misery and glory
Partitions and occupation
Fake transformation
Despite the storms, Poland has survived
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
We didn’t disown our motherland
We raised the banner of Poland
Though our freedom was taken away from us
We were sold out at Yalta
But we have survived that too
We ended communism
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!

Marta Bijan – “Lot Na Marsa” (A Flight To Mars).

Hey people! 🙂

A slightly peculiar song I have for you today. Well Okay, maybe not as much peculiar as simply not very typical kinda thing on here. But it’s in Polish. Marta Bijan is a singer songwriter that I’ve become vaguely familiar with thanks to my Polish friend who liked her. I liked her music but it felt, and still feels, quite emo to me. I mean, I like, often love, sad music, sad lyrics, I like gloomy stuff (within reason, I stop liking it when it gets either too dark or so pathetic that you can see that the author sort of lacked that tiny little bit of distance to themselves and their gloom and it feels almost immature) and I listen to sad music a lot, but it usually has to have something more to it than just be sad/gloomy. And Marta’s music did seem pathetic to me. It still does, despite I can’t say I don’t like her. Perhaps it’s that, despite feeling a bit overdone and virtually always sad, her lyrics are often also somewhat relatable for me, and I’d think for many people, while at the same time it’s clear they’re very personal. I just don’t listen to her that much, if at all, because, well, when I’m feeling well, there’s no point in listening to emo stuff like that. When I’m more depressed than what I’m used to and can handle, or just having a normal blues, my strategy is to listen first to something very sad, and then when I feel ready and like it I go on to something more cheerful. But when I am just super low Marta’s music doesn’t speak to me, so it has to be something in the middle, where I’m just in the mood for the slightly emo sort of music. Probably when I’m feeling emo myself, or having a pity party or something haha. Also another reason why I don’t listen to her too much is that I just don’t listen to Polish music very much. Which is a bit of a shame and I’d like to change it, but I haven’t come across many Polish artists that would really speak to me very strongly in months, my Polish favourites don’t change a lot and it’s mostly some alternative bands, some folk, and occasionally reggae. If I listen to reggae these days it’s only Polish reggae, but I listen to it hardly ever anyway.

But, why I’m sharing this song with you? I’ve just heard Marta’s name in some radiostation lately and thought I’d have a look if she has released something new and listen to some of her music to see if my perception of it is still the same. As I said, it is. But, when listening to this particular song, I decided that, because it’s a bit relatable for me, on some level, and because there has been scandalously little of Polish music on my blog, I will share her song with you.

The lyrics are quite simple so I even went as far as translating this song to English (very roughly, nothing artistic, just so you know what it’s about).

Marta comes from Upper Silesia, and she was the finalist of Polish edition of X Factor in 2014. She also plays piano.

So, here are the English lyrics and the song. Sorry if the translation sounds a bit too raw haha.

 

Yes, I know, I should take my clothes off
Get to the flesh
Is it better to hear me when I’m wearing less
I apologise
To everyone here who is disappointed
They will not find ohs and ahs in my voice
I just wanted to say goodbye,
because it seems like there is no place for everyone here

I book a flight to Mars
With one-way ticket
What a farce
This thought has been growing in me
For a long time
If someone would ask
I’m already packed
I am packed

In the past, it was the lark who used to sing,
nightingale and siren
Today, the owl shows off its deep voice
So I’m saying goodbye
to all the insatiable
Ready for the parting,
I will burn the bridge
I just wanted it to be my way,
but there doesn’t seem to be enough oxygen for everyone

I book a flight to Mars
With one-way ticket
What a farce
This thought has been in me
For a long time
If someone would ask
I’m already packed
I am packed

I booked a flight to Mars
With one-way ticket
What a farce
This thought has been growing in me
For a long time
If someone would ask
I’m already packed
I am packed.

My Jackophilia.

Recently, one of my penfriends asked me whether I have ever written a post about my Jackophilia – that is, why I like the name Jacek, and Jack, and many other Jac- names, and why I have such a soft spot for people with those names – and if there’s any backstory to it. And it’s only then that I realised I’ve never written a post about that. The reason is quite simple, because there is no backstory, nothing that I could clearly point out or no particular event that has started it out. But I thought I’d write a bit more about my Jackophilia anyway.

My Dad’s name is Jacek, and since as long as I can remember, I’ve just loved this name, and, moreover, I thought that if I’d ever want to have a husband, he’ll just have to be a Jacek. I didn’t have any other criteria. I still remember very vividly when I told my grandma about that, I was maybe 5 or so, and she was shocked: “Oh, but if he’d be an alcoholic?! Would you still want him because his name is Jacek?!”. It wasn’t that I was in such awe of my Dad, I mean of course, he’s my Dad, I love him, but I don’t remember ever being quite as enamoured with himself as with his name, so to put it. 😀 All my toys that I felt were more masculine – teddy-bears, figurines, characters in my games – were named Jacek. Even if it meant that there was a whole family with a Dad named Jacek and his two or more sons, also all named Jacek. It’s probably good that there is no actual feminine form of Jacek in Polish (OK there is Hiacynta, but that sounds and looks different doesn’t it, and we’ll talk about that in a minute) or otherwise there wouldn’t be any diversity at all, and so at least females had their own unique names. I also felt immediately drawn to people named Jacek. Of course, I’ve met some Jaceks that I didn’t really get along with, and I am aware that there are some pretty nasty ones out there, all sorts of liars, thiefs, greedy, weak-willed, snobbish and two-faced people who don’t like to think more than necessary, but most of them are really cool, honest and reliable people. Also, I love book characters called Jacek. If ever in a book a character named Jacek was treated badly by someone, even just spoken negatively about, whatever, my heart broke into pieces. It still does, to an extent, even when that Jacek or Jack is a real villain. I remember when I was perhaps Zofijka’s age and read some young adult Polish novel, and there was a girl who was dating a Jacek, and at some point she just realised he’s not for her and she doesn’t really feel anything for him other than friendship. I knew her decision was right, it was clear in the book they don’t fit, yet I was almost crying reading how – in my view- she rejected him and he was so so sad. It was the name Jacek that also opened my eyes for the first time for this weird phenomenon which is the influence of names on personality, which I’m still passionate about and still figuring out. And as a kid I ust loved loads of words with jac in them. I still love the English ones: hijacking for example, it sounds like “Hi, Jack!”. Saint Jacek (or Hyacinth) has been my most favourite patron saint ever since. One of my first speech synthesisers was Jacek, and I still have him, it’s been over 10 years!!! And now it’s possible I’ll have to lose him. Oh well we’ll see… I love hyacinths – the flowers – but my favourite flower has always been muscari – and I’ve just recently learnt that they’re called blue grape hyacinths in English as well! – I’ve also heard that there is a gem stone called hyacinth, and if so, I really hope that some day I’ll be able to have one in my collection. My best friend was also Jacek.
Just as I started to take an interest in the etymology of the name Jacek, I was also curious if it exists in any other languages, and I asked people if they know how Jacek is in English. Most of them would confusedly say “Dunno, guess Jack…”. Jack didn’t sound even a bit quite as good as Jacek to me. But Polish people so often do such a weird thing that I can’t fully understand. When there is an a in an English word, they’ll make things more difficult for themselves and say it as e. So lots of people actually say Jeck, or bleck instead of black, or ket instead of cat. And Jeck sounded awful. But at some point there was a Jack in my ENglish textbook and then I learned that it’s JACK, and is written almost like Jacek, and I was over the moon! A lot of Polish Jaceks go sometimes by Jack, even just for fun, but those two names are not related at all. I’ve always wanted one of my musical crushes to be a Jack. Maybe someday it’ll come true. Lemme know if there are any musicians named Jack or something similar that you like, especially not too popular ones that I could like. 😀
Jacek (YAH-tsek) originated as a nickname of Jacenty (yah-TSEN-ti), but is now a short form, and a more common one actually, Jacenty is hardly ever used, it’s more common in the east of Poland in people born in 40’s or so, but it is NOT popular at all. I like the retro feel of Jacenty and I think it could come back, I mean I would like it to, not that I think it will anytime soon, with Jacek as a diminutive. Jacenty comes from the Greek Hyakinthos – Hyacinth – as in the Greek myth and as in the flower. – THere is also a more fancy, latinate form Hiacynt (HYAH-tsint), and the feminine Hiacynta (hyah-TSIN-tah). I’m not as fond of Hiacynta as I am of the male forms, and Hiacynt sounds a tiny bit too androgynous for my taste and lack masculinity a bit, but for a girl I really like Jacinda, and I love Hyacinth both for a boy and for a girl, even though normally I’m not a big fan of unisex names. There is also a theory that Jacek could be a Slavic name coming from an Old Slavic word that would be something like jać – which means to ride, and thus could mean good rider or something, how cool! – But that doesn’t really sound convincing and believable. There is also something like Jack (YAHTSK) in Kashubian language, it is apparently a Kashubian variant of Jacek, and another one is Jacy (YAH-tsi).
Jack, meanwhile, as I hope you Anglophones know without me telling you that 😉 is a nickname of John, which evolved via an earlier diminutive Jankin, which then became Jackin. So not quite an equivalent of Jacek etymologically but who cares. For me it is like Jacek very much, the feel of the name is very similar despite it sounds differently and has vastly different roots.
I love that there are so many expressions, fairytales, nursery rhymes and all with Jack in it, it adds to the feel of the name, that it gives to the personality of a bearer in my opinion.
I don’t like every single name that has Jac in it, for example I am not a big fan of Jacob, or Jace, but I do love all the forms of Jack. All the Jackins, Jackies, Jacs, even Jocks and Jockies! They’re all so brilliant and so vibrant and each has their own feel that I love. I think the Welsh Jac is my most favourite because of how minimalistic it is but how much inner potential it has. As I said I also love Hyacinth and all its forms, perhaps Hiacynta a little less than the rest. I love Jacqueline and the abundance of her forms too, despite it actually seems to come from Jacques, which comes from the Jacob/James family.
I thought I’d give you just a little bit of an idea how I see those two names – Jack and Jacek – people with them, how I think their names might shape their personalities. Of course, as always, keep in mind that it’s not the name that shapes our personality in the first place, that there are genes and so many other things that determine who we are, and that name is just one factor. There are also people who do NOT fit their name’s description, simply because their name doesn’t fit them and wasn’t chosen with enough consideration, and they may experience some sort of a disharmony and conflict in their life and feelings, particularly between what they are like, and what their surroundings expect them to be like. Lastly, people spell their names differently, people have middle names, people use nicknames and often a Jack might in fact be a John, or a Jackson, and his personality will likely reflect it. These are just small, very generalised characteristics of Jack and Jacek, they’re not exhaustive. If you are sceptical about any influence a name could possibly have on a person, feel free to just treat the paragraphs below as my imaginings, that I hope to be as objective as possible.
Jack: – Jack is practical, frank and honest, and he expects the same honesty in return. He takes things as they are, doesn’t overthink them or analyse overly. He is intelligent and certainly not shallow, but he doesn’t like wasting his time on things that don’t necessarily need that, and feels uncomfortable around people who are exalted, he has certain difficulty expressing strong positive emotions, it’s embarrassing for him. He much prefers being active, and doing something to show his love and dedication, rather than use big words to show it. He is humourous, friendly, and a pleasant companion, who will get along with pretty much anyone, he is also an ambivert. It’s only with his loved ones that know him really well that he takes off the protective mask of self-confidence that he wears mostly unconsciously. Only those who know him really well can see his weaknesses, insecurities, some darker and deeper shades to his personality that he sometimes doesn’t accept. On a daily basis, it is a mostly happy-go-lucky guy, but with those he feels comfortable with, he can often be changeable and moody. Usually naive in his young years, if life lets him down, he can easily become cynical and imbittered, he may feel let down because he looks at others from his own perspective, expecting frankness and directness, and as a result, his trust is often abused, unless he won’t change his ways of interacting with people. Jack himself is very reliable, trustworthy, makes people feel safe around him. Or in any case, he has an ease of making such an impression on people, which could potentially make him a great manipulator, but Jacks are usually empathetic people who have their moral values. He has predispositions to be good at arts, but he needs to develop his taste, he’s not born with a mind very perceptive to art but he definitely can shape it, as well as his own, unique and captivating style if he decides to do art seriously. He is flexible and open-minded and learns quickly. Jack is incredibly resilient, responsible, usually quite fit, able to pursue his dreams and put considerable effort into it, mostly calm, but can be very passionate at times. He is adventurous and likes to explore, but also has a huge, often unconscious need for roots, security and stability, home, belonging, and has a strong sense of connection to his family and heritage. He is a traditionalist but at the same time he’s usually very liberal in his views. He’s down-to-earth, but likes being creative and make things with his hands, be out in nature which inspires paths of his thoughts and imagination in a subtle way, he also loves to engage in sports. He is incredibly sensitive but doesn’t like to show it for fear of being vulnerable. He appreciates simplicity – in his surroundings, people’s claims and characters, in thinking and speech – and enjoys the simplest things in life the most. Jack usually comes across as very charming, even though he’s rarely truly and objectively physically attractive.
Jacek – Jacek is very similar to Jack, especially in his honesty and trustworthiness. He’s also a practical thinker and comes across as very charming, as well as friendly, though not as much and as immediately as Jack. Jacek is more complicated, more sensitive, more introverted, more imaginative, has a tendency for being irritable, he is less resilient than Jack, may be needy and slightly immature which makes relationships with him more intricate. He is more egocentric and selfish, but not badly egoistical or anything like that, he just has a hard time looking too far out of his own mind frame. He has a tendency for pensivity and is more of a dreamer than Jack, he is also a bit less outgoing, but not significantly. He’s just a decent, nice, conscientious guy, assuming he was brought up well and his upbringing helped those traits to come up properly. He might have his quirks, be eccentric or lead a bohemian lifestyle, he may also often feel misunderstood, or he may just be a bit of an outsider, but if he has to, he will fit in without a clash and he’ll adjust to any company he’s in.
Jacky is very friendly and outgoing as well, and very charming and lovable, often thought of as attractive, but less honest and might easily get himself into lots of trouble, he usually doesn’t find himself the best kind of friends, he wants to be always there where a lot is going on and has a lot of zest but at the same time a really careless attitude to things. But he can be a very emotional being and anxious to please, as well as impressionable. He is egotistic and always wants to be the best, he tries to avoid conflict and live well with everyone that is important for him, and he is very attached to his mother, he also appreciates comfort and luxury in life and might be a little bit snobbish.
Jackson loves adventure and travel, and is a great dreamer, brave, courageous and determined. He is confident, communicative and charming, and wants to appear very masculine. Can be manipulative, but in any case is very eloquent and makes for a good leader.
Jac is very much like a Jack, but some traits of his character can be more pronounced and intense. For example the resilience and intellect.
Jacenty – well, I can only see him as a man older than 50 so I may not be very objective here. He is strong, masculine, self-assured, can be wealthy and materialistic and people usually respect him very much. An introvert who is very proud and may be a little haughty and icy, and not the most tolerant. He’s reserved and usually very serious, cool and calm, it may or may not mean that deep down he’s actually rather shy and doubting in his abilities.
Hyacinth – a girl with this name is fanciful, not very disciplined and rather dreamy, often artsy. She is a bookworm and a big thinker, often completely lost in thought, shy and perfectionist, anxious and sensitive, and a good observer. She may be very skilled in dance or music. A guy named Hyacinth is also an intellectual and cerebral type, may be either very poetic, or more into things like science, he is also very spiritual and has a tendency to isolate. He is capable of doing great things in his life and he doesn’t like any restrictions, he loves being out in nature and do all sorts of sports, loves being by the sea. He’s quirky and not the most communicative in the world, often may seem very scatter-brained because he has always plenty to think about and his way of thinking and perceiving the world is different than most other, more typical people.
Jacqueline is a complex character because her personality is a combination of great strength and extreme fragility. She usually makes an impression of a very gentle and delicate, I’d say dainty woman, and tends to be quiet and not talk a lot, but she has a steely will. She is very sensitive and emotional, sometimes to the point of neurotic, capable of loving people greatly, she has a tendency to overthink everything in her life. She is sharp-witted, sophisticated and gifted artistically and literally, and has a natural air of elegance about her.
Jackie though is vastly different. She loves being active, sporty, she has a lot of energy and she likes to communicate, cooperate and get together with others, she usually has quite a bunch of friends. She might struggle with anxiety and feelings of inferiority though, because she’s very much of a perfectionist and self-conscious about her appearance, especially as a teenager, but later on as well. Talking about her problems with the others is the best cure for her, so it’s good if she has someone she really trusts, she isn’t made for solitary life.
Jacinda is full of charm and sweetness, optimistic and very feminine, youthful even in her older age. A very emotional, spontaneous and sensitive person with a big, kind heart, very trusting and rather naive. She likes to give as much of herself as possible and doesn’t expect much in return, she is capable of loving unconditionally and very altruistically. Her weakness is vanity, and lack of imagination.
Jackin has a very good self-esteem and people usually like him, because he’s nice-looking. He usually doesn’t look like a very serious person, but he is a very ambitious man, often a great materialist wanting to achieve a lot in life. He has a bit of an authoritarian personality and may easily be impatient and a bit harsh-mannered. I hope you enjoyed those name descriptions.
Do you like the name Jack, or Jacek, or any of the related names? Do you know any Jacks? Do you like them? Any Jac people out there? 🙂

Song of the day (21st September) – Maja Koman – “Invisible”.

I once shared with you an earlier song by Maja Koman, called “Babcia Mówi”, and I’ve become much more familiar with her music since then. She is a Polish artist, who often writes sarcastic, or humourous lyrics, which are often thought-provoking as well. I don’t always agree with them but I like her creative spirit and the way she arranges her music and her lyrics’ style in general, and she has loads of great lyrics indeed. Apart from writing songs in Polish, she also writes them in French and English.

While “Babcia Mówi” was a funny but thought-provoking piece about the lack of true men in the world, this one is vastly different. Not only because it is in English. The feel of it, as this time you can see fully on your own, is very gentle, and the lyrics vulnerable and honest, but very inconspicuous. I really like this little piece, and I think the harp in it makes it the more appealing and intimate. 🙂 Also I can relate to the lyrics a lot.

Karolina Czarnecka ft. UV – “Ronja”.

Hi guys. 🙂

I thought I’d share with you another song by this Polish singer, from her last album. The rest of her music is much less widely known than the song I showed you yesterday, which I think is a pity, but on the other hand I guess it’s better, good things shouldn’t fall into the same bag with all the mainstream, or usually shouldn’t, as it doesn’t do much good to them. ANyway, if you’ve ever read “Ronja The Robber’s Daughter” by Astrid Lindgren you can easily guess by the title itself that this song is inspired by the book. Because I really like Astrid Lindgren, and because I think Ronja, just as all Lindgren’s character, is very inspiring, I really like this song. And it just sounds good.

Ask me anything about Poland.

Today is the anniversary of Warsaw Uprising during the WWII, which is quite an important date for Polish people.

Because of this, I thought I should celebrate it on here as well, in a way that could be both fun and educating.

Is there anything, important or just trivial, or in between, that you’d like to know about Poland, or Polish people, or Polish language?

Ask me in the comments, and I will be happy to answer your questions. I can’t promise you I know everything about Poland, Polish people and language, because I don’t, but I am Polish, so I know a lot, plus being Polish I know very many Polish people I can ask, so that way I’ll be learning too.

If there will be any questions that I’ll think deserve some more in depth answer, or that would be particularly interesting for me, I might do a separate post with the answer, we’ll just see how it goes.

So yeah, don’t be shy, just ask me. 🙂


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Word of the week – lipiec.

I’m very pleased to introduce my new series to you, which is called word of the week, which can feature words from any languages, that have something special to them in my opinion. I hope you’ll find it fun, or maybe even inspiring for your new posts. Don’t know for how long I will be doing this, but if it’ll be enjoyable for us it may become a regular feature on my blog. If you have any suggestions regarding the series or any words you’d like to see featured and that you think deserve more attention, please feel free to let me know. So, this week’s word is lipiec.
Lipiec: LEE-pyets, means July in Polish. It is derived from the word lipa (LEE-pah), which means linden, because of lindens blooming in this month.
While its core word lipa isn’t my very favourite – besides linden it can also mean trash or shoddy or generally something of bad quality, or a lie – I really like the word lipiec. I’ve always liked it. For me it sounds just cute. I can’t precise why though. It has such a soft, childish, yet sort of romantic sound to it, it’s really a perfect, sweet name for a summer month.
As you know, I have sort of synesthetic associations with words, or phrases, or other types of sounds, they’re usually tactile.
My main association with the word lipiec are clip-on earrings. Particularly the clip-on earrings my gramma had in the past, I really liked them, but most of clip-on earrings look to me like lipiec as well. I usually don’t know from where my associations derive, but I suppose this one could be because of the -lip part both in the word lipiec and clip-on.
I have also other associations with the word lipiec that are clearly synesthetic and many of them have to do with nature. For example, I associate the word lipiec not surprisingly with linden leaves, but also privet leaves for some reason, tulip petals and muscari petals, blackberries, and many berry fruits. For some reason the word lipiec makes me think of little babies, particularly asleep, maybe because of how childish it sounds to me. Generally lots of ball- round-shaped things I can associate with this word, because it sounds quite round to me.
I often seem to have even taste associations, and the word lipiec is for me forever connected with… salted peanuts! They just taste like lipiec.
I can have just the same associations with some other words, for example those related to lipiec, or that sound similarly, anyway these are my main synesthetic associations with this word.
I know it may seem strange and unrelatable for you, but for me words have always been sort of multisensory, which always helps me with learning new languages, writing, finding inspiration in the words, etc. I quite like it, even if it’s weird and I know only one person who has it similar, and he’s also blind.
My more normal associations include my Mum’s nameday, which is in lipiec, heat, holidays, fun, happiness, and generally lots of idyllic things.
I can’t say lipiec is my most favourite month – it’s usually pretty hot – but I can surely say it’s the month with the most beautiful name.
Something else I can tell you about lipiec is that it is also a Polish surname, and there are quite a few others derived from linden.
I’ve made an audiophile with one of my Polish speech synthesisers (called Jacek) saying this word, so you can get how it sounds naturally as English phonetics are pretty poor in comparison to Polish and it’s hard to explain things just with writing. https://www.dropbox.com/s/8qetmz42ol06nws/Lipiec_.mp3?dl=0 I hope it makes things a bit clearer for you.
What are your thoughts on the word lipiec? What comes to your mind when you hear it? Do you like it, or do you prefer July, or in any other language?