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English creeps into Polish vernacular

To end on a lighter note, I have to tell you that a few English terms have found their way into Polish-usage. For example, there is the wonderfully-named motel just on the edge of Krakow: it is the appropriately named “Krak Motel,” appropriate in how many ways I do not know. There is also nearby an eating establishment called “Mr. Hamburger.” And a business engaged in an unknown-to-me activity was designated “F-art.” I could tell only that “cash and carry” was their business model. But more often I experienced the complete bewilderment of seeing a business calling itself “Szafyz z Drzwiami Suwanymi”  or some such thing.

There was one magic spot in Lodz where I was not deaf, dumb, or illiterate—the English Institute, where I taught classes in American Literature. Polish students know English better than many students at Hendrix College. I wondered for a long time how this could be. I finally decided that it was because American students learn English casually from parents and friends—not from professionals who know the language well and teach it with precision. Poles generally do not speak English with a Polish accent either.

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