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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 25 March 2003
I've been learning Polish in an evening class for 2 years now and we've use this book as our class text book all the way through (and still haven't finished it). I started it on my own before I joined the class and found I could keep up with the explanations on my own until about chapter 6, but after that without regular practive from a class, I couldn't keep enough of what had happened before in my head to keep up with the exercises.
Also, the grammar got increasingly complex, and I'm say this from the perspective of someone with a German degree which means that I already understood a lot of the grammar to start with. However, that's not the book's fault - even German grammar is a doddle in comparison to Polish grammar - and at least at the start of the book, the explanations are comprehensive and reasonably easy to understand (I'm not so sure about the end of the book, where it tackles more difficult topics, but then I'm not sure that these topics can be comprehensively explained in less than 20,000 words).
Don't be put off though. The book does it explain it all well, and it's a good extra resource if you are taking a class and/or using other books. It's just not ideal as a single teach-yourself book. But then, I'm not convinced it's humanly possible to teach-yourself Polish from one book though, although a person with steely determination might be able to learn Polish largely based on the book - but be warned, it's going to be an uphill struggle and take longer than you expect from the size of the book. Basically, if you finish (and understand) everything in the book, you'll be fully equipped to converse in mainly correct Polish, but in order to fit all the necessary information in, it tends only to tell you stuff once, rather than offering the sort of practice you need to retain the information.
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on 15 July 2003
I found this book a struggle to learn from by myself even though I spoke a little Polish already.
When going through the book with a native speak it was excellent. The topics helped me cover a good range of vocab with real life examples.
I recommend this book for anyone using it as part of a course or who has a Polish speaking friend/tutor to go through with it with them but not as a stand alone book to learn by yourself. There are many other books that explain how to prnounce words clear than can be found here.
There are accompanying tapes which make this book a lot more useful but these are not included and must be ordered separately.
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on 20 January 2004
i have found this book quite good but simply because i am studying it with my girlfriend. i was under the impression that the tapes came with the book but they do not. to actually find this book useful you must either have a native speaker, or a basic knowledge of the language. i don't think it's the book's fault, it's just you'll find it near impossible to learn polish word structure on your own. after starting the book i can honestly say that you should not feel intimidated by the word structure, eg. przypraszam. you will get used to this very quickly with some help. the book is also very good for vocabulary and the topics and very useful. JUST DON'T TRY LEARN POLISH ON YOUR OWN !!!
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on 3 February 2011
I had previously used the Slovak and Czech titles in the same series, which did give me an advantage over a complete newcomer to Slavic languages, although I really am still a beginner.
I bought the book and CDs together in one package, which is the way to get most out of the titles in this "Colloquial" series.
I bought this after one evening finding myself the only English speaker in a British supermarket, the other customers and even the checkout girl all clearly being Polish.
In my opinion, this title is a superb place to start becoming acquainted with Polish.
The paper quality used by the publisher, incidentally, is much better than that used in the Teach Yourself series.
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on 22 December 2011
I've tried teaching myself Polish several times and it is an impossibly complex language. I have about half a dozen books of this type and this is the one I keep going back to. Its explanations are better than all the others (even if sometimes the example sentences are extremely obscure) and I got to about chapter 6 before getting completely lost. The next best one is 'Polish in 4 weeks' which has more accessible conversations but not such good explanations of the grammar.

I haven't tried using this book with a group and think this might be useful and I certainly never practice enough or do all of the exercises so it is my fault that I still cannot speak to my inlaws!

I am still looking for the best teach yourself Polish book (Teach Yourself Polish isn't it!) but this is the best one I've come across so far.
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on 2 October 2015
This is a solid course for a beginner who is ready for a challenge - the book moves at a fairly rapid pace compared to other language textbooks, so it should only be considered by serious learners. The fast pace means that not all vocabulary can be covered, so an accompanying dictionary would be a worthwhile purchase.
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on 7 January 2007
Compared with other textbooks in the same series, 'Colloquial Polish' comes off pretty well. One big plus: it does not assume that every reader is a package tourist by making all the conversations and vocabulary into expanded versions of standard phrasebook headings. ('Colloquial Hungarian' does exactly that and is useless.) There are readers in the UK who will want to make general conversation with Poles now living and working in our country in large numbers. Welcome and good luck to all.

A few faults I'd like to note: There is no Polish-English wordlist at the end of the book. Because of a gradualist approach to difficulties like noun case-endings, these are spread over different chapters and we do not get a full table of forms to facilitate memorisation. Exercises are rather brief and should have featured more extended passages for translation.

I cannot comment on the audio product because I could afford only the book. There are, however, websites featuring sound-files from native speakers (eg the University of Pittsburgh's First Year Polish Course) which people will find invaluable.
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2009
Compared to other books for learning Polish, the main plus points of Colloquial Polish is that it explains the grammar points concisely, accurately and with good examples, and that is has quite good listenings with a range of voices at fairly realistic speeds (most of the time). It's also well presented with a decent, although it could be better, grammar reference at the back.
The downsides are that it has no comprehension questions for the listening or reading sections (unlike Polish in 4 weeks), that it seems to introduce things in a slightly unusual order (you learn the instrumental case before object pronouns, yet are much more likely to need to use object pronouns earlier), and there are nowhere near enough practice exercises for you to get a real feel for the grammar being taught.
I give it four stars, because it is quite decent but also because there are few other options out there. I used Dana Bielic's 'Polish: An Essential Grammar' alongside this book for more detailed grammar explanations, but am still looking for a book with more exercises to enable more grammar practice.
And will there ever be Colloquial Polish 2, just like there is Colloquial Russian 2. I hope so, because the market is screaming out for books aimed at people above beginner level, but I doubt it.
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on 17 July 2010
This book was published in 2001 but is still very useful. It is also very helpful to have a Polish speaker at hand when it comes to practicing pronounciation. If one does not have that luxury, as I do, then I would highly recommend getting the CD's. You will be lost if you don't. The hardest part about learning Polish, from an English speaker's point of view is getting to grips with the pronounciation. However, in terms of the how the language itself operates, for the odd person that might speak the Irish language, I find that Polish is somewhat similar in that one particular word can be applied to a variety of meanings and that there are set formal expressions which do not translate well into English, and vice versa.

This book is successful in preparing you for participating in conversation, which is what you really need when you are learning a language so different to English and the other staple European languages, from the beginning. The book is quick and concise in grammer explanations and gives lots of examples in how to use certain words in particular conversations. So far, I find that this book gets you up to speed on relevant correct Polish and I find it very easy to whip out on the bus on my way to work and practice a couple of pages over and over.
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on 6 March 2015
The book was recommended to me but unfortunately my friends didn't have the audio CD.
So I purchased the kindle version and am more than disappointed.
The audio is Robotic American and sounds nothing like the Polish pronunciation at all.
Can't believe that the audio was found to be acceptable by the author (Don't bother wasting you hard earned cash)
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