Friday, 8 January 2016

Three more misconceptions about Republic of Poland

9th January 2015

Polish speak Russian...is it true..

The full title to this misconception should be: Poles speak Russian only, or at least Polish is almost the same as Russian.
The truth is that Poles speak Polish. However, Polish derives from the same linguistic group as Russian. It is a Slavic language and may sound similar to Russian for somebody not familiar with this group. Moreover, there is a certain, distant similarity between the two but Russian is not comprehensible for a Pole who never learned it, and vice versa.
Russian was mandatory in Polish schools until 1989 but since then has suffered a huge loss of popularity. First, it was anti-Soviet sentiment that repulsed people from learning the language of Poland’s biggest neighbour. Then, Polish aspirations of entering the European Union and chasing Western economies made everybody learn English. This is why nowadays you probably won’t be able to communicate in Russian with people born in the 1980s and later unless they chose to learn it. People older than that should have at least basic knowledge of Russian but rarely are they as fluent as Georgians, Ukrainians and inhabitants of other former USSR countries.


Silesia City Center - shopping mall in Katowice


Poland belonged to USRR
This misconception, often 

bordering on a rock-solid conviction, is entirely wrong but there is some justification to its existence. Poland ended up under Soviet influence after World War II and lost most of its independence, but it never literally became a part of the Soviet Union.
The misunderstanding may be a result of the fact that the major military treaty of the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain was signed in Warsaw and therefore was commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (formal name: Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance). It founded an organisation very similar to NATO, led by the USSR and for states of the communist bloc only.
Polish dependence on the USSR varied throughout the Communist period but never made Poland share the fate of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine, who were involuntary absorbed by the Union.
The size of the country as well as its sustaining of a certain amount of independence were key factors to the peaceful Polish revolution of 1989 and the eventual toppling of the Communism and the USSR's dominance.
Polish women are beautiful... really?
Most Western media perpetuate the idea that Polish women are beautiful, dainty blondes without a will and mind of their own. Nothing could be more wrong, however!
Since the 19th century Polish women have fought hard for their rights, first throwing off their husbands’ and fathers’ authority and then painstakingly achieving equal economic and political rights. In present-day Poland women are strong, independent, more educated than men (according to statistics) and form an incredibly active part of society. They continue to break the last ‘glass ceilings’ of gender inequality and to play key roles in public affairs – such as the present Polish PM, Ms Ewa Kopacz.
Did you know that Poland was the second country of the Soviet bloc (after Lithuania) to appoint a female prime minister? Hanna Suchocka took office as early as in 1992, only three years after the peaceful revolution of 1989.


Most Western media perpetuate the idea that Polish women are beautiful, dainty blondes without a will and mind of their own. Nothing could be more wrong, however!
Since the 19th century Polish women have fought hard for their rights, first throwing off their husbands’ and fathers’ authority and then painstakingly achieving equal economic and political rights. In present-day Poland women are strong, independent, more educated than men (according to statistics) and form an incredibly active part of society. They continue to break the last ‘glass ceilings’ of gender inequality and to play key roles in public affairs – such as the present Polish PM, Ms Ewa Kopacz.
Did you know that Poland was the second country of the Soviet bloc (after Lithuania) to appoint a female prime minister? Hanna Suchocka took office as early as in 1992, only three years after the peaceful revolution of 1989.



Have a sunny day

5 comments:

  1. 1. I certainly recall Hanna Suchocka but had to revive my memory cells. Quite a woman, indeed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Suchocka

    I believe that learning foreign languages at school, even at a young age is most advantages.
    Here in the final year of High School (College as named in some countries - 17/18 year olds), the number of foreign languages available to be examined in is staggering.
    Now due to the proximity of Australia to Asia - greater emphasis is placed on Bahasa Indonesia, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese.
    Seeing that well over 1/2 million Aussies have their o/seas holidays in Bali, then the learning of that language REALLY makes sense. They MIGHT read signs at airports - even if they are up in most languages on - "If you take, distribute,try to take out drugs - you will go to Jail".

    You are to be commended on your history lessons on Poland.
    Poland is a country where the citizens should be PROUD of what they have contributed to the World in all aspects.
    Cheers
    Colin
    PS: Yes it has been a lovely sunny day here in Qld, but unfortunately WA has been suffering major fires - so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think anyone who has known a Polish woman would know that are not the submissive type.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very interesting post Gosia.....
    I had forgotten about your female PM..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I didn't even know the Western stereotype about Polish women.
    Funny, in the rest of the world there is the notion of The Jewish Mother, over-protective, dedicated, self-sacrificing. But here in Israel she is known as The Polish Mother. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting post. I know, growing up in the USA, that many people didn't understand Poland's status with the USSR. As for stereotyping Polish women, although I had never heard the stereotype you mention, it goes along with stereotyping any group of people. I won't list all the common ones here. Thanks for hopefully spreading some awareness.

    ReplyDelete