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Polish Course Outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant Polish course outline for your level. If you want to cover the same course outline in a shorter period of time, we also offer One-Week Online Courses and 5-week Courses.

Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Introductions (informal and formal)
  • Pointing to common and useful objects, naming them
  • Small talk and “breaking the ice” – e.g. What is your name? ( Jak masz na imię?), Where do you live (Gdzie mieszkasz?)
  • Talking about self & others, inc. family – key personal info incl. How old are you? (Ile masz lat?), What is your occupation? (Jaki jest twój zawód?)
  • Polish sounds and letters. The alphabet, pronunciation and accent
  • Adjectives describing people and wellbeing
  • Nationalities
  • Professions
  • Family tree and relationships
  • Asking about age
  • Hobbies and interests
Grammar
  • Formal / Informal mode in Polish
  • Verbs and conjugation – introduction
  • Present Tense
  • Nouns: genders in Polish
  • Numbers 1-100
  • Adjectives following nouns: masculine, feminine and neutral forms
  • Pronouns – subject, object, possessive
  • Cases in Polish – Nominative (Mianownik), Instrumental (Narzędnik) and Accusative (Biernik)
  • Word order – sentence, question, negative
  • Questions – yes/no (tak/nie), Is this…? Yes, it is… / No, it isn’t. (Czy to jest..Tak, to jest…/Nie, to nie jest…) Where is…? Who is it? Whose… it is? (Gdzie to jest…? Kto to jest…? Czyje to jest…?)
  • Giving instructions (imperatives)
  • Key prepositions: in, on, at, etc.
  • Key adjectives and adverbs – size, shape, personal opinion, colours
  • Key linking words (and, or, but, so)
  • To be interested in + Instrumental (interesować się), to like + Infinitive (lubić), to like + Accusative
  • Adverbs describing frequency – sometimes (czasami) , often (często) etc.
Cultural Content
  • The geography of Poland – main cities, rivers, provinces and regions
  • Popular Polish websites
  • Polish lifestyles and common hobbies
  • Basic politeness conventions in Poland in formal and informal situations
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Basic pronunciation rules
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice – e.g. simple e-mails

Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important subjects covered in the previous course
  • Describing things (colours, size, features, etc)
  • Asking for directions
  • Eating & drinking. Ordering food and drinks in restaurant / cafe. Names of popular food
  • Shopping. Have you got…? (Czy masz…?) How much is…? (Ile kosztuje…?) How much do I pay? (Ile placę?)
  • Asking for time and questions about time
  • Days of the week
  • Daily life – routines, free time. Going places
  • Inviting and responding to invitations (how to accept and how to decline)
  • Meetings and social gatherings
  • Describing past activities – What did you do last week?
  • Party and Leisure Time. Talking about leisure interests
  • Saying what you like, dislike, want or prefer
  • Describing weather.
  • Money and Shopping
Grammar
  • Review & practice previous level grammar topics
  • Singular vs. Plural nouns
  • Cases in Polish – Genitive (Dopełniacz), Locative (Miejscownik)
  • Imperatives (colloquial and polite forms)
  • Declension of nouns and adjectives
  • Past Tense Imperfective
  • New verbs and verbs conjugation in the past
  • Adverbs – cont.
  • Possessive forms
  • “There is”: Jest – “There isn’t”: Nie ma
  • • Double negatives: I have nothing (Nic nie mam) I never drink milk (Nigdy nie piję mleka) etc.
  • ‘Want to + infinitive’
  • Prepositions + Cases
  • Revision of numbers: 100-10000.
Cultural Content
  • Polish cuisine, the most popular Polish dishes
  • Polish cultural life – cinemas, theatres, fashion etc.
  • Traveling in Poland – at the train/bus station, hotels, etc.
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Revisiting pronunciation rules and numbers
  • Plenty of listening activities
  • Writing practice – e.g. notes in diary, describing people and clothes, simple CV

Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important topics covered by the previous courses
  • Time: months of the year
  • Talking about the future, future plans and expressing future wishes
  • Travel and Sightseeing: making bookings/enquiries (on the phone and via e-mail)
  • Geographical directions: North, East, South, West
  • Accommodation: household objects and appliances, renting and furnishing an apartment
  • Asking for/giving directions and information
  • Describing and comparing places – houses, flats, rooms, etc.
  • Longer answer phone message: listening to and leaving
  • Listening to and participating in longer phone conversations
  • Weather: small talk, weather forecast, seasons
  • Health: symptoms, visiting a doctor, healthy lifestyle – giving advice, making a phone call
  • Appearances and looks: body parts, describing people
  • Reading and writing longer e-mails, advertisements and text messages
  • Writing/reading postcards from holidays
Grammar
  • Revision & practice of previous level grammar
  • Future Tense Imperfective
  • Future time clauses
  • New verbs and verbs conjugation in the future
  • Declension of nouns
  • Prepositions + Locative
  • Word-building: diminutive suffixes, adjectives – adverbs. More linking words (either… or… / neither… nor…)
  • Clauses with “że” (‘that’)
Cultural Content
  • Polish “texting” conventions
  • Read simple authentic Polish press articles
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing practice – e.g. new years resolutions, postcards, online and letter reservations, replying to letters
  • Plenty of listening activities

Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important subjects covered by the previous course
  • Past facts: biography
  • Listening to a longer radio program
  • Sport: types of sport, sportsmen, rules, places, listening to sport coverage/news, telephone enquiry
  • How long does it take you? (Ile czasu Ci to zajmuje?)
  • Education and Studies: study skills, memory, courses
  • Traditions, customs and special occasions in Poland and around the world
  • How to wish someone: to get better, happy birthday, good luck, a good trip etc.
  • Business/Office: understanding business cards, what is/what do we do in the office, business vocabulary, conversation in the office/business meetings
Grammar
  • Adjectives: in the present and past
  • Revision and comparison of Cases
  • Wish you…. – Życzyć + Dative + Genitive
  • Past Tense Perfective
  • Imperatives – giving instructions – cont.
  • Nouns – cont.
  • Nouns from verbs
  • Grammar presented will be the grammar used for each function/theme
Cultural Content
  • Prominent Polish figures
  • Important cultural traditions and celebrations
Skills Work
  • Formal language: listening to and making a formal speech/presentation
  • Reading and writing a formal letter – CV cont., business cards
  • Reading and writing season/birthday wishes

Elementary 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important subjects covered by the previous course
  • Appearances and character: describing people
  • Expressing opinion about other people
  • Expressing opinion and preferences: I think that…(Uważam, że…) …is better, because …(…jest lepsze, bo…) In my opinion…(Moim zdaniem…)
  • At work: working patterns, types of jobs, job ads, job interviews
  • Agreeing/Disagreeing
  • Expressing opinion about job
  • Ordinal numbers: first, second, etc. (dates in Polish)
  • Time expressions typical to perfect and imperfect forms of verbs in the past
  • History: famous people/events, our ancestors, talking about finished and unfinished past
  • Feelings and emotions: e.g. hope, fear, worry
  • Education, exams, courses
  • Talking about future plans
Grammar
  • Adjectives in masculine plural form
  • Relative clauses: e.g. which, who, where, when (który, która, kto, gdzie, kiedy)
  • Nouns in masculine plural form
  • Demonstrative and possessive pronoun (ten, tamten, jego, ich)
  • Ordinal numbers and months in Genitive (Dopełniacz) and Locative (Miejscownik)
  • Verbs – recognizing imperfectives and perfectives
  • Modal verbs in future tense
  • Perfect and imperfect verbs in future tense
Cultural content
  • Polish history
  • Polish culture within the work environment
  • Polish Nobel prize laureates and other famous Poles
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Reading a short text that includes data
  • Reading a biography
  • Writing an informal letter
  • Writing covering letter

Elementary 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Living in a city: architecture, housing, facilities, services, entertainment, landmarks, etc.
  • Comparing people and objects: e.g. ona jest podobna do…. tak samo jak…
  • Environment: nature, animals, countryside
  • Justifying opinions (Jestem przekonany, że…)
  • Describing situations
  • Expressing wishes and expectations (Oczekuję, że…)
  • Talking about relationships
  • Listening to an interview
  • Taking part in a pair/small group discussion
  • Talking about pros and cons: For example (Na przykład), On the other hand (Z drugiej strony)
  • Asking favours: Could you…? (Czy mógłbyś…?)
Grammar
  • Comparative and superlative adjectives: e.g. fat-fatter-the fattest (gruby – grubszy – najgrubszy)
  • Time expressions: e.g. tomorrow, next year (jutro, w przyszłym roku)
  • Comparison of adverbs and adjectives
  • Grading adverbs (trudno-trudniej-najtrudniej)
  • Cases in Polish – Dative (Celownik)
  • Comparison of Cases
  • Comparative and superlative of adjectives
  • Clauses with “żeby” (‘that’) in comparison with “że” (that)
  • Conditionals
  • Prepositions in relation to Cases (do ogrodu, w ogrodzie, z ogrodu)
  • Grammar presented will be the grammar used for each function/theme
Cultural Content
  • Housing in Poland, buying and renting
  • Holidays and leisure time in Poland
  • Idioms and popular Polish sayings: “pracowity jak mrówka”
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Writing a short argumentative text, e.g. to express own opinion
  • Writing a dating advertisement
  • Preparing a job advertisement
  • Job interview

Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important subjects covered in the previous course
  • Objects and appliances: describing purpose of things and how things work: e.g. In a microwave one can quickly prepare food (W mikrofalówce można szybko przygotować jedzenie)
  • Expressing preferences
  • Technology, Media and Internet
  • Expressing satisfaction/dissatisfaction/disappointment
  • Adjectival Past Participle: e.g. cooked (ugotowany), written (napisany)
  • Describing the way we feel
  • Encouraging, making recommendations
  • Travel and Leisure
Grammar
  • Impersonal forms of present and future verbs (trzeba – trzeba było, wolno – wolno było)
  • Gerund in Polish (czytać – czytanie, być – bycie)
  • Adjectival passive participle (zablokowany, zapsuty)
  • Passive Voice
  • Cases in Polish – Vocative (Wołacz)
  • Grammar presented will be the grammar used for each function/theme’
Cultural Content
  • What it was like to live in communist Poland
  • Domestic life of a typical polish family
  • Life in the Countryside in Poland
Skills Work
  • Reading longer texts including statistical information, figures, data
  • Writing a press article about lifestyle and cuisine
  • Taking part in a discussion and expressing own opinion
  • Writing a complaint letter

Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Celebrations and Traditions
  • Books and Films
  • Hobbies – cont.
  • Fashion and beauty: paying and accepting compliments, detailed descriptions of people, hair styles, clothes, beauty products and toiletries
  • Expressing wishes and expectations: e.g. I want to…/I would like you to…/You should …(Chcę żeby…/Chciałabym żebyś…/Powinieneś…)
  • Giving and receiving advice
  • Making comparisons – cont.
  • Relationships and feelings
  • Internet and computers
Grammar
  • Talking about future + conditionals: what if…
  • Reported speech
  • Imperfective and Perfective Verbs – cont.
  • Complex sentences – zdania wspołrzędnie i podrzędnie złożone okolicznikowe czasu, celu, miejsca, przyczyny, podmiotowe, dopełnieniowe oraz przydawkowe
  • Żeby + Infinitive, dla + Genitive
Cultural Content
  • Polish traditional values and relationships
  • Around the world: emigration/immigration, ethnic minorities
Skills Work
  • Study skills and techniques
  • Reading and writing a review
  • Writing a longer, complex letter
  • Conversational strategies – taking part in a longer conversation/debate: openers, showing interest, turn-taking, active listening, joining in a conversation, “maintaining the floor”, closing the conversation

Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Revision of the most important subjects covered by the previous course
  • Food and eating: cuisines around the world, eating habits and diets, table manners, kitchen utensils and appliances, cooking, recipes, writing a recipe
  • Types of exams and how to write exams in Polish
  • How to start, maintain and finish conversations in Polish
  • Different ways of giving advice
  • Offering help/services and promising/accepting help and expressing gratitude
  • Expressing interest/lack of interest
  • Expressing necessity
  • Persuasive language
  • Encouraging and convincing (warto, trzeba, należy spróbować…)
Grammar
  • Genitive after prepositions do, dla, z
  • Cardinal numbers in complex sentences
  • Genitive after numbers (kilo mąki, kawałek mięsa)
  • Prepositions of time with different cases, e.g. until, since, from, between (do, od, pomiędzy)
  • Grammar presented will be the grammar used for each function/theme
Cultural Content
  • Polish slang and idiomatic expressions
  • Work environment in Poland
  • Cooking, recipes and table manners
  • What it is like to live as a foreigner in Poland
Skills Work
  • Making a speech/presentation to a larger audience
  • Listening to longer recordings: listening for gist and detail
  • Writing advertisement, invitations, formal letters
  • Filling in longer forms: e.g. course application
  • Reading longer texts for gist and specific information

Upper Intermediate Lower

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Life in Poland – typical Polish family, education, work life and job market
  • Services and how to use them (repair, emergency, health and beauty, leisure, and hobbies)
  • Nature (climate, environment, wildlife conservation, rare species of animals in Poland)
  • State and society (government, politics, economical situation in Poland, immigration and emigration, minorities)
  • Science, finances and technology
Grammar
  • Impersonal verbs and their role in asking for and giving permission (można, nie można, trzeba, należy)
  • Conditional sentences with: jeśli, gdyby
  • Cases (review), declination of irregular nouns (pieniądze, rząd – rządu, rzędu)
  • Declination of the pronouns and adjective pronouns (który, jaki, czyj)
  • Numerals (measurements, finances, percentage)
  • Active, passive and reflective voice
  • Register of text (formal, informal)
  • Expressing certainty/ uncertainty and probability (z całą pewnością, nie wiem dokładnie, prawdopodobnie)
Cultural Content
  • Polish slang and idioms
  • Typical Polish family in context of participation in cultural events
  • Political background in Poland
  • Polish population and minorities
  • Main religion and religious minorities
Skills Work
  • Can make a speech / presentation to a larger audience
  • Can produce a coherent text on topics of personal interest, summary, report, commentary based on reading / watching / listening the programs, argumentative essay
  • Can listen to and understand longer radio / tv programs
  • Can describe experiences, events, put events into chronological sequences using linking words (następnie, później, w wyniku czego)
  • Can give the reasonable explanation for opinions

Upper Intermediate Higher

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Appearance, health and beauty, safety (in the city, on the roads) and emergencies, sports and leisure activities (bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats, airplanes, trains – travelling)
  • Employment / unemployment
  • Solving problems (services, voluntary work, charities, helping hands in neighborhood)
  • Religions and politics
  • In the bank, at the hospital, illnesses, injuries, catastrophic events, natural disasters, war
  • Crime, police, safety
  • Music festivals and cultural events
Grammar
  • Participles (adjective and adverbial)
  • Reflective verbs (used while talking about the feelings: cieszyć się, bać się, denerwować się)
  • Structure of the compound sentences that contain in subordinate clauses the words: czyli, jednak, natomiast, dopóki, kiedy, ponieważ, dlatego)
  • Word formation- verbs with prefixes: do-, na-, nad-, o-, od-.
  • Adverbs of intensity: ledwo, nieco, prawie, niemal, mniej, więcej, dosyć, zupełnie, wcale nie)
  • Imperfective / perfective verbs
  • Consonants and vowels alternations (while verbs are conjugated, and nouns declined).
  • Movable person suffixes in past tense (zrobiliśmy to, myśmy to zrobili)
  • Double imperfective verbs: determinate verbs (jechać, spać, lecieć) and indeterminate verbs (jeździć, sypiać, latać)
Cultural Content
  • Understanding and using idioms
  • Understanding the current trends in politics in Poland, especially in context of the war in the Ukraine
  • Cultural events
  • Main topics of the ‘national discussions’ in Poland (the ‘hot topics’ Polish people discuss when they meet up, including politics, inflation, economic situation, high costs of living and sports)
Skills Work
  • Writing reports, reviews on books, films and programs
  • Understanding news (radio, tv, internet, press)
  • Discussing current affairs (politics, cultural events, sport) with native speakers
  • Expressing feelings, opinions, differences in opinion (agreement, disagreement, neutrality) and giving a reason to it
  • Understanding and using idioms

Advanced

Topics & Vocabulary
  • A wide range of topics including: environment, media and advertising; culture and entertainment; beliefs and religions, etc.
  • Criticizing and responding to criticism (Szkoda czasu…To okropne/straszne)
  • Agreeing, disagreeing
  • Talking about all aspects of art – literature, music, paintings, cinema, theatre, etc.
  • Encouraging and persuading (Najlepszy ze wszystkich..Kup teraz….Nie przepłacaj)
  • Expressing approval/disapproval (Nic podobnego..To wykluczone…Nonsens)
  • Reporting speech, asking for repetition (Przepraszam, ale nie uslyszałem…Przepraszam, ale nie wszystko zrozumiałem..)
Grammar
  • Revision of all grammar aspects
  • Revision of cases (Dative)
  • Pronouns “nikt, nic, żaden” in different cases
  • Word order in negative sentences with pronoun “się”
  • Preparing for B1 level Polish exam – practicing speaking, writing, and reading
  • Locative after expressions with “o” (o tym, że…o tym, jak…)
  • Interrogative pronouns in different cases
  • Grammar presented will be the grammar used for each function/theme
Cultural Content
  • Polish mass media
  • Polish slang and idiomatic expressions
  • Entertainment and cultural life in Poland
  • Religion and beliefs in Poland
Skills Work
  • Reading longer texts for gist and detail
  • Preparing, writing and conducting an interview
  • Writing formal long letters, essays, commentary, etc.
  • Summarizing information: speaking and writing

Understanding Language Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’ below. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

CEFR Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

Beginner (A1)

  • You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
  • You can introduce yourself and others
  • You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have
  • You can ask and give directions
  • You can order food and drink
  • You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements
  • You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Elementary (A2)

  • You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment
  • You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
  • You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need
  • You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

Intermediate (B1)

  • You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
  • You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
  • You can describe experiences and events
  • You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
  • You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
  • You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafes or basic office work).

Upper Intermediate (B2)

  • You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
  • You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

Advanced (C1)

  • You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
  • You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

Proficient (C2)

  • You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
  • You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources
  • You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
  • You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

How to book with Cactus

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