When you arrive in Krakow, you’ll discover a picturesque city rich in history, culture and with a vibrant nightlife too. From the medieval Market Square and the regal Wawel Castle to the fascinating underground salt mines and wealth of quaint cafés, the Polish capital is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
When visiting another country with a different language, it’s always worth spending a little time picking up a few basic words and phrases before you leave. After all, it couldn’t hurt to do so, and you never know when it could come in handy. You may even find that the locals appreciate your efforts (even if they do laugh at your pronunciation).
What language is spoken in Krakow?
In case you don’t already know, the language in Krakow is Polish. This is the official language of Poland, which has a population of almost 40 million people. German and French are the next most common languages spoken here and you may also hear some Russian, but these aren’t official languages.
If you’re not fluent in the Slavic tongue, don’t worry too much; you should be okay getting by with English in the main tourist areas, so you shouldn’t struggle with a language barrier. You’re likely to find that English is pretty widely spoken among the younger generation here.
On the other hand, it can be handy to master a few useful expressions in Polish before you leave; you never know when you might need to ask for directions, or order a beer in a bar. Plus, if you learn to speak a little bit of Polish before going ahead, you’re sure to impress the locals.
About the language in Krakow
While Polish is the main language spoken in Krakow and Poland, that’s not the only place where you’ll hear this complex language. Did you know that there are big Polish-speaking communities elsewhere in the world? This includes countries like Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Lithuania, the UK, Ukraine, the US, and Russia.
Unlike most other Slavic languages, standard Polish doesn’t use the Cyrillic alphabet. Instead, it’s based on the Latin alphabet system, so it has more in common with Italian than Russian. But even so, Polish is a tricky language to learn; in fact, it’s commonly thought of as one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. If you happen to know the Polish alphabet off by heart, you’ll be okay; it’s a phonetic language, so you say things exactly how they’re written. But for most of us, the pronunciation will be hard to wrap your tongue around, and if you decide to dig a bit deeper, you’ll find that the grammar is really complex too.
Let’s learn a few phrases
Don’t worry, though, because the basics are easy to pick up. To help you out with the soft hisses and sibilant sounds of the local Krakow language, we’ve included a list of useful phrases here for you. The pronunciation can be tricky, so click on the green icons to see how each phrase is pronounced, and then give it a try for yourself.