May Spaniards Poles

Spanish in Poland, Polish in Spain


1 Nicolaus-Kopernikus University Philological Faculty Chair for German Studies Language Practice: Tandem Project with Spain Supervisor: Mag Christof Totschnig Agnieszka Inczewska Susana Hermoso Spanish in Poland, Polish in Spain Summer semester 2004

2 I. Introduction In this work, which we are writing as part of the Polish-Spanish tandem project, we deal with the learning opportunities of Spanish in Poland and Polish in Spain. Above all, the learning opportunities, but also the motivation and attitude of the learner to the respective foreign language should be compared. Spanish and Polish differ from each other not only in that they belong to different linguistic subgroups, but also in their importance and popularity in the world. It is no surprise to a Spaniard that someone wants to learn the Spanish language. But for a Pole it may be news that someone can use the Polish language in countries such as Spain, France or Portugal is learning. Spain and Poland belong to different cultures. Not only the geographical location, but also the weather, the food or the language show the differences between the two countries. For most Spaniards, Poland is a terra incognita and the presence of Polish in Spain is very low in contrast to Spanish in Poland. That is why the Polish part of this work is larger and more extensive than the Spanish one. In our work we do not give any philological insights into Spanish or Polish, because we want to examine the differences and similarities between the two countries in terms of learning and teaching the respective foreign languages. II. Spanish in Poland 1. The importance of the Spanish language in the world and in Poland The Spanish language belongs to the Indo-European language family and, together with Catalan, Portuguese and Galician, forms the group of Ibero-Romanic languages. Spanish is spoken by over 400 million people in 23 countries, mainly in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America and the Caribbean. This makes it one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world. Spanish continues to grow in importance these days, it is the second most important language in the world. In Poland, too, more and more people are interested in this language. More and more Polish students are going to Spain or Latin America to do their second year there

3 study, the cultural and scientific exchange between Poland and Spain is also increasing. That is why the popularity of Spanish is increasing in Poland and more and more Poles want to learn this language. 2. The learning opportunities a) In Poland some children are already learning Spanish in elementary schools and high schools. It is more popular, however, that the pupils only learn this language in high school, they can also do their Abitur in this subject. In Poland you have to choose a foreign language for the Abitur examination in high school. The most popular foreign language in Polish schools is English, then German, French, Italian and then Spanish. Most of the time, Poles learn Spanish in private language schools, and there is a wide range of courses. Almost all Polish cities have language schools where you can learn many foreign languages. There are even some language schools in Poland that specialize in Spanish, e.g. B the Academia de Español Salamanca in Szczecin. Spanish teachers often teach in the language schools, there are small groups and the lessons, which last around one and a half hours, take place at least twice a week. b) Bilingual sections with Spanish The increasing interest in Spanish is also demonstrated by the fact that in some state schools in Poland you can learn Spanish not only as a second and only additional language. There is also the option of attending a school that offers bilingual education. The students are then taught bilingually: some subjects they study in Polish and some, at least three, in Spanish. These are mostly: mathematics, physics, chemistry, world history, biology. Students can also take their Abitur exams in these subjects. You will then receive both a Polish and a Spanish high school diploma. As part of the bilingual education, the students are also brought closer to Spanish culture and history. Bilingual sections with Spanish are already working in 6 cities: Warsaw (Warszawa), Krakow (Kraków), Lodz (Łódź), Breslau (Wrocław) and Poznań. Until the 2002/2003 school year, bilingual education was only available at secondary schools, where beginners in the first grade had Spanish for 18 hours a week. Since this year, however, students can already be taught bilingual in high schools, with 6 hours of Spanish per week. 3

4 In an agreement between the Polish and Spanish Ministries of Education, Spain has undertaken to delegate four Spanish teachers to the section in addition to the delivery of didactic material, if the school so wishes. In addition, once a year an educational trip to Spain is organized for a group of the best students from bilingual sections, which lasts about two weeks. The best students can also get scholarships and study in Spain. c) Opportunities to study Spanish There is now an opportunity to study Spanish in all major Polish universities. There is Spanish philology in Warsaw, Poznan, Katowice, Cracow, and Wroclaw. In Krakow, Spanish Philology ranks fifth when it comes to the number of candidates for a place at university. When you study Spanish Philology, you not only learn the language, but you also study Spanish culture, literature and history. After three years you can get a licentiate, or after five years you can become a master. At universities in the other cities, such as Lublin, Thorn (Toruń), Stettin (Szczecin), Lodz (Łódź), Spanish is compulsory and is considered the second most important language after French when studying Romance philology. You can study Spanish at a total of 17 colleges (universities, colleges and technical colleges). d) Cervantes Institute in Warsaw (The Cervantes Institute (Instituto Cervantes) is a Spanish institution funded by the state with the aim of spreading the Spanish language and culture abroad. It has existed since 1991 and has offices four continents. The institute organizes various Spanish courses, general and specialized, aimed at preparing students for exams, for example. Spanish is taught at four levels, including by Spaniards. There is also the possibility of taking language courses in Spain the institute issues language certificates and diplomas confirming language skills. It organizes official and international exams in Spanish (the so-called DELE = Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language). Only the Instituto Cervantes organizes DELE exams in Poland, depending on the level the following certificates are awarded: Diploma Inicial, Diploma Intermedio, Diploma Superior arakter and 4

5 are signed by the Spanish Ministry of Education. Every year around 600 people from all over Poland take this exam. The Cervantes Institute is also concerned with the further development of teaching methods for Spanish classes and with teacher training. It promotes Hispanists and their projects that spread the Spanish language and culture. It works with the other Spanish and Spanish-American institutions and with institutions that exist in the respective country. The institute also provides libraries. e) The learning opportunities in Thorn I would like to describe the learning possibilities of Spanish in Poland using Thorn as an example, because I have investigated this. In contrast to other Polish cities such as Warsaw or Krakow, there is no opportunity here to learn Spanish in elementary school or high school. In a high school in Thorn, however, there is a class that learns Spanish. In another high school there is a group of volunteer students who are taught by a Hispanic student from Kraków. Spanish is taught in Thorn at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu). You can learn it by studying Romance Philology (Spanish as the second most important and compulsory language with elements of Spanish culture and literature), History and International Relations (Spanish as a foreign language). In the Thorner Kolleg (a university for future foreign language teachers) you also have to study Spanish as part of the French course. Students from other subjects, such as German or English, can choose Spanish as a second foreign language. A Spanish Day was recently organized in this college (May 6, 2004). During this event, a film by Almodóvar was shown and a Spanish play was performed by Hispanic students from Bydgoszcz. The program also included a slide show from Chile and Cuba, dance lessons (salsa) and a lecture on the Spanish language. In the evening a Peruvian band played music from the Andes. There are five private language schools in Thorn where Spanish is taught. There are many levels in these schools, and some of them offer special courses to prepare for the DELE exams. A Spanish teacher teaches in one of these language schools. All the Spanish teachers I have spoken to (at university, college, private schools) said that they teach using the communicative method. The students 5

6 should be able to communicate in the foreign language. So grammar is not the end in itself, but serves as a means of developing such skills as speaking and listening comprehension, taking into account the other skills of reading and writing as well. During the class, students also learn about Spanish culture. They listen to Spanish songs or watch Spanish TV programs. 3. The Poles and the Spanish language In this part of the work I would like to describe the motivation, impressions and the attitude of the Polish learners to Spanish. To bring this to light, I made a survey among the learners. These were students from a high school, from a language school and students from the university and college.Your age: I asked you: - why you are learning Spanish and with what aim, - whether you like Spanish and why, - whether you find Spanish easy or difficult, - what attitudes and expectations you had before you started learning and which You now have impressions of - whether you have any difficulties with Spanish, - what you consider the most difficult and what is the easiest about the Spanish language, - how you assess your progress, - what you intend to do: whether you will continue to learn the language how and where they would like to use their language skills - whether they would recommend others to learn this language. Most of them learn Spanish because they think it's very nice and interesting. For many, Spanish is a hobby and they learn it because they are interested in Spanish culture. B. Spanish music, they find Spanish songs very beautiful. Many started learning Spanish because they wanted to learn a new foreign language and experience something new and interesting with it. Many responded that they just like learning foreign languages. On the other hand, many consider Spanish an important language and believe that they will be able to use their language skills well in the future, e.g. B. when applying for a job, and at work itself, because some would like to work or study in Spain. Some also mentioned travel intentions as motivation. A very large majority of respondents said they liked Spanish. Out of 28 respondents, only one person does not like this language. Most were enthusiastic too 6

7 to Spanish because they z. B. liked Spanish songs. You have also heard that this language is very easy. When you write about your impressions, use the following expressions to describe this language: beautiful, pleasant, simple, very melodic, exotic, wonderful, beautiful, super, great, beautiful and simple pronunciation, similar to Polish, easier than other foreign languages, lively , spontaneous, natural, uncomplicated, everyone can learn it quickly, sounds nice and pleasant. Most find Spanish easy and simple, they write that they have no difficulty learning Spanish (except for two people). The beginners were particularly positive about Spanish and consider it the easiest foreign language compared to German, English, French and Italian. One can also notice that the more foreign languages ​​learners know, the more they like Spanish and the easier it is for them. Especially those who know French and Italian think Spanish is very easy and learn it quickly and easily because these languages ​​are similar to each other. Polish students consider the most difficult phenomena in the Spanish language to be some grammatical problems such as: B. some tenses, the subjunctive (subjuntivo), the conjugations there are simply too many exceptions, as well as listening comprehension and accentuation. The simplest things for them are: pronunciation, vocabulary, formation of sentences, for some also grammar. But many believe that there is nothing difficult at all in the Spanish language, everything is easy for them. When it comes to language skills, students rate reading and writing as their best developed, speaking lags behind, and hearing comes at the bottom for most. However, many find that all their skills are the same and highly developed. In the responses of many respondents, one can find the remark that the fact that Spanish is so easy for them is motivating for them. Because Spanish is easy to learn, students can quickly achieve achievements and see their progress. This satisfies them and motivates them to continue learning. Most of them would like to continue learning Spanish (except for 5 people), many would like to register for the DELE exam in the future. In order to pass this examination for the first level (Diploma Inicial), the Polish students need an average of at least 2 years of intensive learning, this is generally believed, although there are of course individual differences. The vast majority of respondents would like to strongly recommend that others learn Spanish. As a reason, many write that this language can enrich our lives, they 7

8 facilitates contact with Spanish culture, music, film, literature and folk traditions. Students are aware that Spanish is the second most important and immensely important language, and they consider it to be the simplest Western European language. So, as my research shows, Poles are very fond of learning Spanish; they enjoy it. III. Polish in Spain 1. The importance of the Polish language in Spain Polish is now the national language of Poland with around 40 million speakers and the mother tongue of around 10 million speakers in the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Russia and the other successor states of the Soviet Union. The Polish language belongs to the West Slavic languages, a subgroup of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Czech, Slovak and Sorbian. It also has dialects such as: Lesser Poland, Silesian, Mazovian, Greater Poland and Kashubian. Poland has been a new member of the European Union since May 1st, 2004. It is the largest and most important country for the new members. Poland is also the country that has attracted large foreign investments. Much of these investments come from Spain. This is not only good for business but also for the language. Thanks to joining the EU, many Spanish companies are interested in Poland and its language. 2. The learning opportunities There aren't that many opportunities to learn Polish in Spain. Usually, you learn English as a compulsory subject in school. You can also learn French or German as a minor. If you want to study something else, you have to register at a language school. The language schools offer English, French, Italian, German and Russian. There are also 8 in the largest language schools

9 Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese. There is only one state language school in Madrid where you can learn Polish. But there are many private language schools offering Polish in such cities as Seville, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Madrid, Zaragoza and Vitoria. These language schools specialize in teaching for companies. The teachers are often Poles. They set up different and small groups depending on the needs of the companies. In the future there will be the possibility of bilingual education (Polish / Spanish). The Polish and Spanish governments plan to set up bilingual schools in Spain. Both governments are working together on this project, the aim of which is to promote both languages ​​and knowledge of the culture and history of both countries. At the moment it is not possible to learn Polish as a child in Spain, it is possible for adults to the extent that many Polish universities offer language courses at different levels, of course in Poland: You can learn Polish in Posen (Poznań), Krakow (Kraków), Lublin, Learn Lodz (Łódź) and Katowice. These courses are intended for adults. In these courses, learners can get to know not only the language, but also the culture and history of Poland. Some of these universities only offer their courses in the summer, such as the Catholic University of Lublin. But most of them offer language courses all year round. The students also acquire a certificate. One of the best universities in the Polish educational system is Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. There is also an institute for cultural cooperation named after Adam Mickiewicz. You can also learn Polish in Spain at various universities: the three largest and most important universities offer Polish as a foreign language. You can study the Polish language in Madrid, Barcelona or Granada. But there is no such thing as a Polish philology. Polish is always a part of Slavic studies. Students can learn Polish as a second language, but never as a compulsory subject. In September this year a Slavonic Congress will take place in Granada. Linguistics, didactics and translation are discussed. It is very difficult to learn Polish in Salamanca. There is no language school where you can learn it. The University of Salamanca offers, among other things. Language courses for English, French, 9

10 German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Basque, Catalan, Galician, Romanian and for some languages ​​from India, but not for Polish. Also, not that many people from Poland live in Salamanca. You can only do a tandem with Poles over the Internet. There is a homepage that arranges tandem partners. This can be a great way for the Salamanca people to learn Polish. The address is: 3. The Spanish and the Polish language In Spain only a few people learn Polish. I've only spoken to five people who are learning Polish. They are young people between the ages of 22 and 30. They all have the same reason for learning Polish: they met someone from Poland. Some just want to be in touch with their Polish in-laws. Others love the Polish culture. And there is also a man who deals with Copernicus. I also did a survey of ordinary people. I asked 28 people between the ages of 17 and 73: - what knowledge they have about Poland, - whether they can speak Polish, - whether they can say a word in Polish. I also showed them a Polish text. The answers were always the same. They do not know much about Poland and cannot say a word in Polish. The youngest know a little more, but when I asked them to say something, they always said a word in Russian. I noticed that the Spanish cannot distinguish the Polish language from the Russian language - when they hear a word. When you read it, you don't know what language it is. There are people who know something about Poland because of their interest in politics. But most of the Spaniards don't know anything about Poland. You will find the eastern countries very different and very far from Spain. I think it is a problem of our linguistic origin. This means that we can better understand the Romance languages ​​that come from Latin. This fact 10

11 brings us closer to the cultures of southern Europe. Maybe we are not that open to Eastern European cultures. I hope that will change in the future. IV. Summary The results of our investigations were in part surprising for both of us. For the Spanish side, the low presence of Polish in Spain came as a surprise. For the Polish side, it was surprising that anyone in Spain is learning or even studying Polish, but also the fact that the Spanish confuse Polish with Russian. But the tandem work confirmed our ideas about the great importance and presence of Spanish. The Spanish ignorance of Polish culture means that the Spanish do not find the Polish language interesting. In Poland it looks very different: since the Poles are very open to other cultures, they are also interested in Spanish culture and Spain in general, which also contributes to the fact that they are very fond of learning Spanish. Perhaps many from Spain are not aware of the facts from history that bind us together or the similarities between the two languages: they come from the Indo-European language family, but are in other subgroups, Polish belongs to the West Slavic languages ​​and Spanish to the Ibero-Romanic. For the reasons mentioned above, the range of courses in the respective foreign language is hardly comparable in both countries. In Poland you can learn or even study Spanish in different schools in almost every city, while in Spain only a few schools offer Polish. To conclude, we can say that the Polish language is hardly known to the Spaniards, unlike the Spanish language to Poles. However, as is also evident from our work, we can hope that this will change in the future, to which Poland's accession to the European Union will contribute in particular. Both governments set themselves the goal of promoting the respective foreign language in both countries with the help of various agreements, which can be observed in the example of the bilingual education that has existed in Poland for several years and is planned in Spain. Hopefully, school access to the respective foreign language will also be facilitated in both countries, which could certainly contribute to a rapprochement between Spain and Poland. 11