The best books and resources to learn Polish
Language books are fun – even in the era of free internet resources and Youtube channels on language learning. If you’re just beginning your Polish learning journey, I’ve got a list of the best books to learn Polish for you.
I’ve divided this post into different types of resources, from grammar books to courses in colloquial Polish.
When learning a language, I would probably get one of each and supplement this with online resources, podcasts, films and conversation classes. But the choice is yours!
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Polish for Absolute Beginners
This resource is a step-by-step video course that will help you understand the basic and logical rules around pronunciation, sentences structure and vocabulary in Polish.
You will learn how to:
- Pronounce each letter and letter combination in Polish. This will allow you to read Polish and learn vocabulary more effectively
- Introduce yourself to others and use basic phrases that you will need on a daily basis
- Recognise what gender each word is and how that affects other words in a sentence. This will allow you to construct your first sentences in Polish!
- Talk about things that belong to you or to me
- Ask about what something is and reply, as well as describe the world around you using full sentences
- Talk about how you and other people are feeling, and describe people and objects
- Make observations about the world around you
- Ask different types of questions in Polish
- Turn positive statements into negative ones
This course is available at the 5-Minute Language School and is designed especially for absolute beginners. Find out more about Polish for Absolute Beginners.
Introduction to Polish
Polish for Dummies is exactly what it says on the cover. Great for beginners, it provides a comprehensive overview of the language, its grammar, basic vocabulary and sentence structure.
There are, however, lots of conversations and phrases included, so don’t worry – you won’t have to memorise hundreds of noun and verb tables. The book teaches you those basics in a more interactive way. If you haven’t learned Polish before, it’s a good place to start.
Polish grammar books
This one was written by the legend, Oscar Swan. It does what it says on the cover. I would recommend this book to those learners who really want to understand the structure of the language before moving on to the more interactive aspects of language learning.
You may also find this book useful if you’re following the interactive route already but need something to fall back on in case you’re confused about a grammar point along the way.
This Collins Polish dictionary includes grammar as well, so if you’d rather get one book only, that’s your best choice:
Polish phrase books
I love this little phrase book produced by the BBC. I’ve used BBC resources myself when learning Spanish and German, and found them well structured, not too demanding and honestly quite fun.
The following phrase book is perfect for someone who’s aiming to attain a conversational level of Polish. A lot of people would pick this book when going on holiday to Poland or if their partner/family member is Polish and they’d like to communicate with them in their language.
The phrase book is colour-coded, which is a plus for those of us who are visual language learners.
This little phrasebook will be more useful for someone who wants to learn a little bit of Polish just because they’re going on holiday to Poland. It’s not a comprehensive guide to the language but it is a great choice if you just want to get by in restaurants, hotels and places of interest.
I love this little visual dictionary. If you are a visual learner, like myself, it will make a massive difference to how well you can memorise Polish vocabulary. It’s very detailed too, but don’t worry – you don’t need to memorise every single word in each category!
If you’d like something more text-heavy to accompany your visual dictionary, I’d recommend this Oxford dictionary of essential Polish vocabulary. It does what it says on the cover.
Polish audio courses
This audio course comes from a reputable publisher – it’s one of the things I always pay attention to when buying language learning books. Maybe I’m being a bit too careful and paranoid, but I think it’s a useful tip, especially when buying books on quite niche languages. The selection of Polish course books is smaller than that for languages such as French or Spanish, so I guess the likelihood of getting it wrong is also greater.
I can recommend this one, which has a book and a CD. Some people find it useful to have a phonetic guide in their audio course books but this one doesn’t have one. However, I’d say that’s a good thing as I’m personally against writing out any foreign languages phonetically. You’re supposed to memorise the sound, rather than how to write out the sound, right?
The course focuses mainly on listening and speaking so it would go well with another book that focuses a little bit more on grammar.
The following introduction to Polish also contains a number of points about Polish culture:
Colloquial Polish books
This little book has some great tips on how to sound like a ‘real Pole’. It’s a book for beginners and it mainly focuses on developing the learner’s speaking and writing skills. It’s practical and interactive. I’d say it’s a great accompanying book if you’ve already got something that focuses on the intricacies of Polish grammar, or if you’ve got a Polish friend/tutor who can explain such questions to you.
Practise spoken Polish
If you’d like to practise your speaking skills, italki is a great place to start. You can either find a language exchange partner for free, pay for a non-professional language tutor, or pay for a professional language teacher.
Let me know what you think about these resources in the comments below! And if you’d like to learn Polish but you don’t know where to start, enter your email address in the form below to get free learning resources delivered directly to your inbox.
I also recommend my post which answers the question of ‘Is Polish difficult to learn?‘.
Thanks for your interest in Polish, guys!