When polish makes you dizzy

When you start learning Polish and you take it seriously, one of the symptoms you can have
is… headache (in Polish: ból głowy). When my students complain that all the grammar exceptions
give them a headache, I am really happy because it occurs to me (przychodzi mi do głowy) that they
are doing very well racking their brains (łamiąc sobie głowę) trying to get to know all the grammar
secrets of Polish. It means that they are making a lot of effort to understand what is going on with
this difficult language and that they using their heads (ruszają głową) and for sure they have a head
for learning languages. (mają głowę do języków).
A lot of students want to proof their level of foreign language passing the language exam.
After passing the first level exam in Polish (B1), or even earlier, you have the right to hold your head
high (trzymać głowę wysoko), and I accept that the success can go to students heads (sukces może
uderzyć im do głowy) when they get their first certificate from one of the most difficult languages in
the world. Their heads can go round and round from this success (od sukcesu może im się zakręcić w
głowie).
But sometimes a teacher’s head can split (nauczycielowi pęka głowa) from listening to all the
theories that Polish it is impossible to learn. During the process of learning we always come to the
point where we think we cannot improve anymore. This kind of crisis it is absolutely normal, and
many times it is hard to see quick progress – especially at higher levels – because student must
control a lot of things at the same time.
Instead of burying their heads in the sand (chować głowę w piasek) and escaping from the course, or
becoming so angry that they bang their heads against a brick wall (walić głową w mur), I try to
convince my students to not lose their heads (nie tracić głowy) and to put the idea of giving up
learning Polish out of their heads (wybić im to z głowy) for a bit.
Of course, so many men, so many minds (co głowa to rozum), but I suggest taking a little holiday and
than go back to studying when you return. Maybe I live up in the clouds (z głową w chmurach) but
this method always works.
I dedicate this article to all of my Dear Students who have headache headaches as a result of
studying Polish. There is nothing wrong with you; a headache actually means that you worked so
hard that you deserve a little holiday! And when you come back, you’ll see how good you are! So,
“Głowa do góry”! (cheer up).
By the way, you cannot imagine how many uses the word “głowa” (head) has! (See glossary).
ból głowy – headache
coś mi przychodzi do głowy – something occurs to me
łamać sobie głowę – to cudgel one’ brain
ruszać głową – to use one’s head
mieć głowę do języków – to have head for languages

trzymać głowę wysoko – to hold one’s head high
sukces uderza do głowy – success go to one’s head
głowa mi pęka – my head is splitting
chować głowę w piasek – to bury one’s head in the sand
walić glową w mur – to bang one’s head against a brick wall
nie tracić glowy – to not lose one’s head
wybić sobie coś z głowy – to put something out of sb’s head
co głowa, to rozum – so many men, so many minds
żyć z głową w chmurach – to live up in the air
może się zakręcić w głowie – one’s head can go round and round
This article was published in “The Wrocław International”-THE FIRST LOCAL NEWSPAPER IN ENGLISH,
WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS OFWROCŁAW, September 2011, Issue 11, ISSN 2082-730X