The Polish language, with approximately 38.5 million native speakers and 50 million speakers worldwide, is a part of the West Slavic language family in the Lechitic group. Closely related to both Slovak and Czech, Polish has also been influenced by the Latin languages including French and Italian, as well as German. It uses the Latin alphabet including nine additional characters.
Due to emigration from Poland mostly after World War II, you can find large communities of Polish speakers in countries like Canada, the United States, UK, Australia and Brazil.
Did you know the longest word in Polish is 54 letters long?! The word is Dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego (it roughly means “of nine-hundred and ninety-nine nationalities”).
If you are considering learning to speak Polish, check out our PolishPod101 review below.
Summary of PolishPod101
First impressions tell us that PolishPod101 is an innovative and exciting way to learn the Polish language. The program, designed by Innovative Languages, offers a flexible way to learn a new language at your own speed. Upon signing up, you receive a free lifetime account and a free 7-day Premium trial period using our link.
You will be able to access thousands of audio and video lessons as well as tons of learning tools on both mobile devices and computers. Some other features available to aid in your studies include:
PolishPod101 Review: Pros
Pro #1: New and Relevant Lesson Content
Not only is new material always being added to your account, but it is also fun and relevant to life as we know it. There are no outdated references or learning scenarios that are useless in modern life and boring to learn about. All the information you will take in is up to date and helpful for today’s world. Explore topics such as fashion, planning a date, traditional Polish culture, national holidays etc.
Pro #2: Flexible Lesson Pathways
How much you choose to learn is completely up to you. If you only need to brush up on some Polish to get around for vacation, you can. Likewise, if you are striving to become fluent in Polish, this is also achievable with PolishPod101.
There are dozens of different lesson pathways to suit your interests and needs. The basic bootcamp pathway will quickly get you up to speed on sentence structure, greetings, numbers and common phrases, whereas the pronunciation pathway will break down the 23 consonant & 9 vowel sounds, polish accents and accentuation of specific phrases. You are completely free to pick and choose a pathway that is right for you (or work through several at once).
Pro #3: Comprehensive Lesson Library
With thousands of lessons and podcasts, you will be hard-pressed to find a program with more content from which to study. Luckily, you get to decide how often, how much, and when to study making PolishPod101 a truly self-paced program.
Pro #4: Native Speakers
PolishPod101, unsurprisingly, is super useful as a listening tool given its vast library of podcasts and video lessons. What’s more, all the tutors are native speakers and expose you to a wide range of authentic dialogues and cultural insights that most other programs lack. We like how there’s many different tutors to mix things up and get you used to hearing different accents and speaking styles.
Pro #5: On The Go Learning
PolishPod101 is absolutely perfect for busy people who don’t have hours and hours to dedicate to language learning each week. With each lesson being only 10 minutes long (on average) you can easily just plug in your ear phones and learn something new whilst standing in line at the shops, on a morning commute or on a lunch break. What’s more, everything is downloadable – so even without wifi you can listen to the podcasts and access the transcripts and lesson notes when on the go (provided you first download them).
PolishPod101 Review: Cons
Unfortunately you can’t have it all. To keep our review honest and unbiased, here’s a few things we didn’t like as much.
Con #1: Very Little Feedback
Unless you opt for the Premium PLUS subscription, you have no access to one-on-one feedback. This can make it difficult to know if your pronunciation is correct or if you are progressing toward fluency as you should be. Furthermore, you are solely responsible for customizing your own syllabus, so unless you are very diligent & self-aware you can easily find yourself jumping from topic to topic without making any real language progression.
Con #2: No Community of Polish Speakers
Polish is not such a popular language to learn which means it’s much harder to find a community of like-minded individuals to study with (unlike Chinese or French, for example). Aside from the comments section at the bottom of each lesson, there’s no real community as such. We’d like to see some kind of forum or place to connect with others who are learning Polish on PolishPod101. Many other language programs have something like this and it’s a brilliant way to stay motivated and to become unstuck when you hit walls with your language learning.
Con #3: You’ll Probably Get Spammed With Emails
Innovative Language’s programs are well known to be very marketing heavy and once you provide them with your email address they’ll send you lots of emails (even daily if you tick the ‘word of the day’ option). Whilst it can be useful to keep you motivated, we found it to be somewhat off-putting, especially the banners on the dashboard trying to upsell you on their other products (even after you’ve bought a subscription from them). If you can get past this minor distraction, however, then it’s really not a big issue – plus you can easily unsubscribe from their emails any time you like.
Con #4: Too much English
Yes, the listening practice is brilliant, and the dialogues are awesome, but we still felt like there was still a little too much English being interjected in the lessons. A common mistake of many language courses and programs is to teach through explanations and translations rather than through immersion and actually seeing the language in action first. This is important so you can start learning how to ‘think’ in Polish rather than just learning the grammar rules and translating from them.
Unfortunately, we feel PolishPod101 leans towards this direction with too much English being spoken during the lessons. Saying that, it is possible to listen to the dialogues in isolation (without the lesson videos) and the dialogues and authentic content are really very good quality – we’d recommend you focus on them more than the explanation videos themselves. The amount of English being spoken also does get filtered out slowly as the difficulty ramps up. It’s always a difficult balance to strike between constant exposure to new language whilst also keeping the lessons understandable and interesting. At the end of the day, it often comes down to personal preference and learning style.
Your dashboard is your control center or home base for PolishPod101. This is where you can check your progress, adjust your experience level, or change your subscription plan. You will find all the latest news from Innovative Languages here as well as your learning pathways.
As we mentioned, you can learn as much or as little Polish as you need. Take the curated and structured pathway to work towards fluency or choose from a variety of other pathways ideal for different situations. For example, you can learn Polish for emergencies, how to order food in Polish, or basic travel phrases.
Audio and Video Lessons
Lessons are around 10 minutes long on average and are based on either a video (can be anything from an animation to a street interview) or a podcast. The structure of the lessons usually start with a bit of casual chatting followed by a dialogue that can be listened to line by line (& self recorded for pronunciation training). The tutor(s) will then go over key vocabulary and explain the meaning, giving example sentences for context. There’s usually some similar explanations regarding grammar and finally some cultural notes. Everything is summarised nicely in the lesson notes along with a full transcript of the lesson for you to download and print out if you wish.
Interactive Learning Tools
Interactive tools like spaced repetition flashcards, a personal word bank & vocabulary lists are all very helpful in keeping your studies fun while helping you to memorize key vocabulary words and phrases. You will also find a list of the 2000 most common words in Polish which is a great way to hone in on only the most useful vocabulary. Each word has at least one example sentence for context, an audio pronunciation guide, and all the words can be filtered by category (clothing, colors etc.).
Some Example Pathways & Lesson Topics
We thought you might like to get an idea of what lessons to expect with PolishPod101 so we’ve provided you with a little sneak peek of what’s inside. Here’s some some sample lesson topics for the beginner, intermediate and upper intermediate levels:
Pathway: Living in Poland
Content: 20 lessons & nearly 3 and half hours of audio/video content that covers lots of useful phrases that’ll come in handy if you plan on settling into Poland for the first time. Learn how to meet your neighbors, talk about your hobbies, order food and even listen to a Polish weather report. Most lessons have a dialogue, a breakdown of the vocab & grammar, extensive lesson notes, and an insight on Polish culture.
Who Should Consider Buying PolishPod101?
Since anyone’s language learning program is not always the right match for everyone, we’ve devised a list of those who will get the most from a program like PolishPod101. The following individuals who will most likely benefit from PolishPod101 include those who:
Who Shouldn’t Buy PolishPod101?
On the other hand, there are also some individuals who would not benefit from the purchase of PolishPod101. These individuals include those who:
PolishPod101 vs. Competitors
For the most well-rounded review, we’ve included information on some of the top competitors for PolishPod101. Though all programs operate in a similar manner with similar platforms, the teaching methods vary greatly. Read on for more valuable information.
PolishPod101 vs. Babbel
Before being able to sign up for your Polish lessons with Babbel, you are asked a series of questions including why you want to learn Polish. They also want to know if you have had any prior teachings of the language and how much time per day you can dedicate toward it. Finally, you can enter your email address and set up an account.
Babbel only offers two levels of expertise making it a program geared toward beginners only. They offer an introduction to grammar, useful words and phrases and pronunciation practice with the latest Flash-Player and microphone.
PolishPod101 vs. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is more than books and CDs these days and offers true on-the-go learning like PolishPod101 using an app or computer version. It does not offer a placement test, so if you have some Polish background, you will need to figure out where to start out. It has often been referred to as repetitive by users, and the cultural information and colloquialisms are lacking.
Even so, Rosetta Stone remains a favorite among users with its newly redesigned interface. It is very structured and clear with the intent of acquainting you with the Polish language.
You will find four different subscription levels including your free lifetime account. Read on for details on pricing and features for each plan, and keep in mind that the longer subscription term, the cheaper the monthly rate is.
Basic Monthly Plan
$8/month $2.80/month (using this link)
- Complete access to all lessons
- Comprehensive lesson notes
- New lessons added each week
- 100 Polish core words and phrases
Premium Monthly Plan
$25/month $7/month (using this link)
The Premium monthly plan includes everything the Basic plan offers plus:
- Line-by-line audio conversations
- HD video
- Custom word lists
- Lesson quizzes
- Voice recording
- Grammar and word bank
Premium PLUS Monthly Plan
$47/month $16/month (using this link)
The Premium PLUS plan offers everything the Premium plan offers plus:
- One-on-one access to a teacher
- Personal lesson plans
- Ongoing assessments
PolishPod101: Final Thoughts
Overall, we feel that PolishPod101 is a comprehensive program worth the monthly subscription fee for anyone who is serious about studying Polish. The sheer amount of quality content that’s nicely packaged up into easily digestible lessons are second to none. The PolishPod101 cost is on par with its top competitors and offers the additional benefits of in-depth cultural explanations and norms. If you want to become fluent in Polish, PolishPod101 is a great place to start this journey.
If you’re not sure if the program is right for you, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial using the link below: