They’re not easy to find, but Polish-English dual-language (‘parallel text’) books are out there and can help you learn Polish in a new and exciting way. A lot of them are designed for children, and these can be great for beginners, but there are also publishers who specialise in bilingual adult books.
The reason these can be problematic to get hold of is that they tend to be from Polish publishers whose target market is Poles learning English, but clearly they are just as useful for us English speakers learning Polish.
Dual Language Books for Adults / Advanced Learners
Let’s look at one of the main publishers: 44.pl
Available on Amazon (although tending to be from third-party suppliers) are several books from this Polish publishing house. These are typically set out with the English page facing each Polish page, allowing for easily comparison.
This is just a small selection of a much wider range of classic titles – others include Moby Dick, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and The Secret Garden. I own a couple of these and it has to be said, the language is pretty complex and these are probably best for advanced learners, though the challenge of understanding a sentence, paragraph or page can also be fun for the intermediate learner, even if they are unlikely to read it all in one sitting.
Always bear in mind though, that translations can be far from direct and it’s best to keep a dictionary on hand rather than assuming that one Polish word is a straightforward equivalent of an English word on the facing page.
Unfortunately, as the above books are targeted at the Polish market – the free MP3 download that comes with many of the books is in English only!
Dual Language Books for Children / Novice Learners
A much broader selection of children’s books are available, and these are great for adults who are just starting out with Polish, too. The illustrations also make these great for beginners whose learning style is more visual. Here’s some good examples of what’s out there – clicking will take you to Amazon:
Happy reading – and it’s back to the language tutorials for the next post.