Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Won't Be Going Bald Anytime Soon!

It's true. I won't be going bald anytime soon! I can stop pulling my hair out in frustration. My prayers have been answered. Yippee!

What is the reason for my joy and glee you ask?

I now have what I have longed for for many years... a complete Polish / English dictionary. It's not an ordinary Polish / English dictionary, it's a COMPLETE one. What do I mean by that? I mean I can look up a Polish word in any of it's glorious conjugations or cases and find out what it means. This is terrific because in the past I'd have had to know the root of a word to find it's meaning and with 7 cases in the Polish language, believe me, that was often a challenging task. Here's an example of what I mean...

mieć = to have

Present Tense-Actual

ja mam = I have
ty masz = you have (singular)
on/ona/ono ma = he/she/it has
my mamy = we have
wy mamy = you have (plural)
oni /one mają = they have

Present Tense-Frequentative


Past Tense-Actual

ja miałem/miałam
ty miałeś/miałaś
on/ona/ono miał/miała/miało
my mieliśmy/miałyśmy
wy mieliście/miałyście
oni/one mieli/miały

Past Tense-Frequentative


Future Tense-Actual

ja będę miał/miała
ty będziesz miał/miała
on/ona/ono będzie miał/miała/miało
my będziemy mieli/miały
wy będziecie mieli/miały
oni/one będą mieli/miały

Future Tense-Frequentative



ja miałbzm/miałabym
ty miałbyś/miałabyś
on/ona/ono miałby/miałaby/miałoby
my mielibyśmy/miałybyśmy
wy mielibyście/miałybyście
oni/one mieliby/miałyby


etc. etc. etc.

Imperative... Particples... on and on...

All those words in bold print... they are versions of "mieć" which means "to have". But if I come across any of them when I'm reading I won't be able to find them in a standard dictionary. Just like in an English dictionary you won't find "parties" as a separate word. You have to know that it is a version of the root word "party" and then you'll find the meaning of it in the dictionary. Same is true here. But if you don't know the language, like I don't know Polish, when you see "będziecie" you don't think, gee, I wonder what "mieć" means. You look up "będziecie" (not realizing it's paired with "wy" and "mieli") and you come up with nothing. Now I can look up "będziecie", be referred to "być" and learn that it's a version of "mieć" which it tells me means "to have". Yay! :-D

I know this is not unique to the Polish language, having to know the root of a word to look up the meaning. But yee-gads that makes it tough to translate a Polish document for research!!!

If you are researching ancestors with Polish roots you're bound to come across this same problem. And now you too have the means to solve your problem. You can find it for free on the University of Pittsburgh web site...

Online Dictionary, Polish>English, English>Polish

Hat tip to guest blogger Barb, writing for Anna's Polish Blog.


  1. That looks like a tough language!

  2. Yippee for you! I know how I felt when I bought my German-English genealogical dictionary. Forget the price, it's worth its weight in gold. Congratulations friend!

  3. That is great and I am totally in awe of your delving into such and endeavor.
    Even more I am glad you aren't going bald, that had me worried. LOL

  4. Shouldn't wy mamy be "you (plural) have?

    dabbler in languages

  5. Jasia - glad you stopped your Happy Dance long enough to let us know about this great resource for linguistically-challenged Polish researchers!

    Happy New Year!
    Schelly Talalay Dardashti
    Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog

  6. Holly-It is a tough language, some argue the toughest. If people only realized how tough it is they'd never tell another "dumb Polak" joke again, LOL!

    TG-This online dictionary combined with the awesome Google Translator will virtually eliminate the language barrier for me. I never thought to see that in my lifetime!

    Hummer-Yeah, me bald would not be a pretty sight. I can see why you'd be worried ;-)

    Randy-Yep, you're right. The English translation of those words is the only part I didn't copy from my book of conjugated verbs. They were off the top of my head. See why I needed that new dictionary so badly, LOL!!!

    Schelly-I didn't stop the happy dance, just paused long enough to write that post. I'm back to dancing!

  7. Jasia - Podoba mi sie ten slownik! (Sorry I can't put the diacritics in). I've bookmarked it.

  8. Jasia, congratulations on finding such a great resource!

    By the way, noI've given you the Happy 101 Award!