June 20, 2011 | Polish
Grammar-Book Shopping in Greenpoint
I am foiled in my shopping expedition, but I have fun anyway.
Today I went to Greenpoint, where there are Polish bookstores, in search of another grammar book, this time with grammar exercises.
Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
A Presumably Polish Restaurant
I enjoyed a lovely walk down Manhattan Avenue, starting at the Nassau subway stop and finishing at the Greenpoint stop, where I got back on the subway for my return to Manhattan. It’s really a very charming stretch!
Robin Cook and Tom Clancy in Polish
The first place I went was Polam Bookstore, at 648 Manhattan Avenue.
When I arrived, a store employee was speaking to a man in Polish at the register. She was nice and helpful in response to my questions, but unfortunately, she didn’t have grammar books at the moment. She said she was reordering them, but this is an urgent language-learning need!
They had other books, for people who already speak Polish. I find it interesting how many languages writers such as Robin Cook are translated into.
When I left, I thanked her in Polish, and they both smiled. I find that even slight efforts in Polish seem to yield rather significant rewards. Surprise, appreciation, etc. It is moving.
From there I walked into random stores. There was Polish everywhere on the street.
Electronics in Polish
Legal Services in Polish
Banking in Polish
Cucumbers in Brine, in Polish
I was able to understand some of the words on signs, on labels, and in passing conversations, and got irrationally excited about that.
Lots of Polish Food at Biedronka!
The food store Biedronka seemed to have a strongly Polish clientele.
As I walked up and down the aisles, I heard and saw a ton of Polish. I took a few pictures.
Sometimes taking pictures at food stores can be tricky, because if you start photographing pickle jars and juice bottles, people tend to think you’re an inspector from some New York agency. So I am pretty surreptitious these days.
After all, I’m not trying to expose anyone.
I just have a thing for foreign-language food labels!
Hydrate in Polish!
I really liked the second Polish bookstore I visited, Polonia Bookstore. They had a number of grammar books, but I decided they weren’t for me.
The problems: one book was entirely in Polish, which is not going to work at this point. I am not currently capable of understanding grammatical explanations about Polish in Polish.
Another book had some explanations in English—but no answer key! No answer key, no purchase.
The store also had phrasebooks. I personally find phrasebooks useless.
I feel as though the main purpose of phrasebooks is to make the people buying them believe that they have done something useful by handing over a credit card, without actually teaching something meaningful. I find it frustrating and unhelpful to try to learn a few random questions and sentences about bathroom locations and tourist attractions without having any sense of the language architecture behind them. Syllables without meaning, in my opinion.
Finally, they had CDs, but I already have Rosetta Stone.
My failed grammar expedition was by no means the fault of Polonia, however; in fact, the woman I spoke to there was great, and it was a very nice store.
Polonia Bookstore, 882 Manhattan Avenue
Cards, with Babies and a Pope
Lots of Polish Magazines at Polonia
My grievances are just common ones when one is looking for books about a not heavily studied language. Demand and competition are definitely good for the language-learning market.
Anyway, if you speak Polish, I recommend this bookstore!
Even without success on the Polish grammar front, my field trip was totally worth it.
And afterwards I found a good grammar online, and it arrived today, Monday, and so far I like it: Basic Polish, by Dana Bielec.
One thing I love about modern life is barnesandnoble.com! You want a Polish grammar one afternoon, and the very next day, without your even leaving your building, it is in your hands.