Today a short post about greetings in Polish. Before we have a closer look at them we need to discuss an important aspect of the language, the difference between formal and informal expression. Basically, Polish (like French) speakers would use specific ways of addressing people depending on if we know them.
If they greet family members, friends and people they know well, they would use informal expressions. However, if they greet somebody they do not know, somebody older or if the situation is formal, they would use formal expressions. Mixing these two ways of greeting is not the end of the world but it should be avoided. Greeting your friends in a formal way may be a bit funny however using informal language with people you do not know in formal situations will be impolite and rude.
After explaining this, let’s have a look first at informal greetings and also the ways we can end conversation.
Informal Polish Greetings
Probably the most common way of greeting somebody you know is to say: Play audio Cześć (Hi). It is also quite common to add somebody’s first name Cześć so the whole greeting could be:
Cześć! – Hi!
Cześć Tomek! – Hi Tomek!
Cześć Paweł! – Hi Pawel!
Cześć Aniu! – Hi Ania!
Cześć Magda! – Hi Magda!
After this initial greeting it is polite to add a question regarding “their situation”. It is not necessary question about how people are. Some of these question literally mean you ask if something new happened (to them) or what is going on in general. Here are a few examples (I will add the first bit so it sounds more natural):
Cześć Adam! Co słychać? – Hi Adam! What’s going on?
Cześć Aniu! Co u ciebie? – Hi Ania! How are things?
Cześć Mateusz, co u ciebie nowego? – Hi Mateusz! What’s new?
Cześć Marcin, jak się masz? – Hi Marcin, how are you? (despise many books and websites about Polish language it is not so often used)
So, here are some responses that you can use when asked one of the questions above.
Cześć, dzięki, nic nowego. – Hi, thanks, nothing new.
Cześć, dzięki, wszystko po staremu. A u ciebie?- Hi, thanks, pretty much like before.
Cześć, dziękuję, bez większych zmian. – Hi, thank you, no major changes. How about you?
Cześć, dziękuję, wszystko w porządku. A ty? – Hi, thank you, everything is fine. And you? (this is the answer to question How are you Jak się masz?)
So after these initial greetings the conversation flows but we also need to know how to politely end it. Here are a few sentences you can use.
Przepraszam ale muszę już iść / muszę już lecieć / muszę wracać do domu. – Sorry but I need to go / I need to fly / I need to go home.
Przepraszam ale trochę się spieszę. – I am sorry but I’m in a hurry.
Przepraszam ale muszę już kończyć. – I’m sorry but I have to go.
And at the very end of the conversation, just before you go way, you can say:
Trzymaj się! – Take care!
Na razie! – Bye for now!
Do zobaczenia! – Until next time!
Do zobaczenia jutro! – See you tomorrow!
Do jutra! – Till tomorrow!
Pa! – Bye!
Formal Polish greetings
As mentioned, these are greetings we used when meeting people we do not know, older people, in formal situations, in business meetings and so on. Depending on the time of the meeting you would use:
Dzień dobry. – Good morning or Good afteroon, it is used from early morning until dusk.
Dobry wieczór. – Good evening.
After this initial greeting you would start normal conversation, could introduce yourself for instance (we will deal with it in another lesson), ask about something. Once the conversation is finished and you want to say goodbye, you would usually use one of these two Polish expressions:
Do widzenia. Goodbye.
Dobranoc. Good night.
I hope you have found this useflul. Like always, I encourage you to leave comments below if you have any question regarding this topic or for that matter any other topic in Polish language. I will try to help 🙂