Monthly Archives: February 2010

How to wish happy birthday in Polish – polish your Polish, part 15

happy birthday

March is always a busy month for me as many of my good friends celebrate their birthdays. And many of them are Polish.

I have recently realised that this basic phrase – happy birthday – has not featured in my Polish your Polish series yet. What an oversight!

So what do you say (or write, if you prefer sending a card or an email)? The easiest and commonest phrase is

Wszystkiego najlepszego

Which literally means “All the best” and is pretty generic. But you can modify the phrase depending on the occasion. So for birthdays you can say:

Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin

“All the best on your birthday”. If someone is getting married, you can say:

Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji ślubu

“All the best on your marriage”. But let’s go back to celebrating birthdays.  Two words you might find useful are:


“wishes” and


Which means ‘to wish”, but you will usually use

Życzę (Ci)…

Which means “I wish (you)…”.  So try saying “I wish you all the best on your birthday” now.

Managed that?

If no, there’s also an easy option.  There’s a song we sing to celebrate someone’s birthday in which we express our wish for them to live a hundred years. A hundred years is

Sto lat

in Polish. If everything else fails, wish the birthday girl or boy “sto lat”. It’ll make them smile and you won’t have to struggle with all those consonants. Simples.

Polish your Polish – more language tips

Image via Flickr © ritchielee, used under Creative Commons licence

78 looks good, but…

I have just noticed that our Facebook fan page already has 78 fans, yippee! That’s absolutely fantastic! Thank you.
But the question is: when will we break the 100 barrier?
Perhaps I should think of some incentive, but what should it be? Ideas?

In the meantime, you can join the Facebook page by clicking on the link below:

the POLSKI blog on Facebook


Have a look at this. This is a Polish group called Karbido, they use only one instrument – a wooden table:

They apparently performed during the Edinburgh Festival a couple of years ago, but to be honest I have never heard of them before.

They look intriguing. Have you seen them perform live? I’d love to know what you thought.

Fresh Polish music: Dagadana

Well, Polish-Ukrainian. With some Argentinian influences.

Dagadana is a new group, which has just taken Poland by storm. Their debut CD was released earlier this month, but I’m told it’s very hard to find it in shops as it sells out within minutes.

According to their MySpace page, Dagadana’s music is a fusion of jazz, folk and electronica.

“This multicultural project should satisfy everyone who is ready to accept the Slavic soul – crazy and gentle in equal measure,” says the bio.

Their concerts are apparently real events where the audience is encouraged to bring along small instruments and join the fun.

Thanks to my friend Joanna  for introducing me to more great music (again).

Did you like it?

Plenty of money


Years ago, when the inflation in Poland was in triple figures, we were all multi-millionaires.

I remember getting as a student a salary in the region of 14,000,000 old Polish Zloty, which would nowadays be worth probably around £300 or less.

I completely forgot what these notes used to look like until I stumbled across a fascinating collection on Flickr, called Polish Banknotes “Great Polish” featuring the entire collection of old 1980s and early 1990s notes.

There’s everything there – from a pretty worthless (even then) and pretty ugly 10 zloty note to a coveted 2,000,000 note featuring Ignacy Jan Paderewski, former Polish Prime Minister and pianist.

Marie Curie was featured on the commonly used, but pretty low-value 20,000 Zloty note, while Frederic Chopin was valued at only 5,000 Zloty.

Nicolas Copernicus, without whom we would still probably believe that the Sun circles the Earth and not the other way round, was featured on the 1,000 Zloty note. What a cheek.

I asked Peter, the owner of the collection on Flickr why he uploaded the images.

“Memories. Plus I wanted to share part of our history with the world,” he told me.

What a splendid idea.

Miroslaw Balka at Tate Modern


You may have heard about the latest installation at Tate Modern in London by Miroslaw Balka, called How it is. It’s been there since October last year and – like every major installation in the Turbine Hall – it’s been covered by most mainstream UK media already. I only managed to see it for the first time yesterday.

It’s an epic ‘sculpture’, which in fact is a very tall metal cube, accessible via a ramp in the Turbine Hall. Once inside you’re confronted with darkness and your senses need to readjust to the environment, which I guess is part of the experience.

The other part is probably more fun – you just stand there watching other people enter the dark chamber and observing their reactions.

While probably not as spectacular as the big sun or the slides a few years ago, the installation is probably worth a visit if you’re in the area.

It’s there until early April, so there’s plenty of time to visit Tate Modern. Otherwise, here are my pictures from yesterday: