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17 Polish Words We Cannot Simply Translate Into English

17 Polish Words We Cannot Simply Translate Into English

Like many Eastern European languages, Polish has many words and phrases that do not translate very easily into English. For the below ones, it’s particularly hard to find a translation that can convey the funny and local style of the literal meaning and the real meaning at the same time.

1. Myśleć o niebieskich migdałach

“To think of blue almonds.” This is used to describe when someone is daydreaming. For example, if you messed something up because you were not paying attention, or you missed something important, someone may say this phrase to you sarcastically.

2. Rzucać grochem o ściane

“Throw beans at the wall.” This is used when describing speaking with someone who just won’t see things your way. Speaking to him is like “throwing beans at a wall” (talking to a wall) he just won’t see your point of view.

3. Chodzić na rzęsach

“To walk on eyelashes.”  This phrase is used to describe a very drunk person, or someone who is about to pass out from drinking. It can also be used to describe someone who is exhausted the next day from drinking the night before.

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4. Owijać prawdę w bawełnę

“To wrap the truth in cotton.” Polish people use this when someone is lying or beating around the bush about something. It is used to call out a liar.

5. Po Ptakach

“After the Birds.” This is used when describing an action that happened way too late after the fact, and nothing can be done about it. For example, if you wanted to buy tickets to a concert but showed up so late that they sold out your friend may say “No i po ptakach” and shrug his shoulders. A variation in pronunciation of the expression would be “ptokach” instead of “ptakach.”

6. Prosto z mostu

It’s literal English translation is “straight from the bridge.”  It’s real meaning is to tell it like it is or be blunt. The phrase comes from the name of a former Polish magazine that wrote very radical articles about the government of Poland during the Great Depression.

7. Jedzie mi tu czołg

“Is there a tank driving here?” This phrase is typically accompanied with a gesture of gently pulling on your lower eyelid, and tilting your head down to express sarcasm. It is used when someone tells you something absolutely unbelievable. I would compare it to saying “Yeah Right”……

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8. Narobić bigosu

“To make Bigos – Hunter’s Stew” which is a traditional meat and cabbage stew. This phrase is used when someone messes things up. For example, if you gave out too much personal information about yourself to a co-worker and later regretted it and told you mom about it, she might say “Ale Narobiłaś Bigosu!” while shaking her head at you. It’s another way of saying someone is a blabber-mouth.

9. Urwać się z choinki

“Tear off from a Christmas Tree.” I know, right? This phrase is used to describe someone whose actions catch you off guard if they do something crazy, or always act crazy.

10. Pozjadać wszystkie rozumy

“To eat all the wits.” This is used when saying that someone is a know-it-all. It’s not a compliment.

11. Nabić kogoś w butelkę

“Stick someone in a bottle.” It means you’re pulling someone’s leg by telling a fib.

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12. “Być nie w sosie”

“To not be in the sauce.” This phrase is used to describe when you are in a bad mood. If you come to work grumpy, and you don’t want to do with anyone, you don’t want to be in the sauce.

13. Mieć muchy w nosie

“To have a fly in your nose.” This is a way of describing someone who has a bad attitude about things because they’re not happy about what happened. They are said to have a fly stuck up their nose. The English equivalent would be if someone had something stuck in their craw.

14. Wypchaj się sianem

“Stuff yourself with hay.” This is a way to tell someone to get lost and leave you alone. If a girl was at a bar, and a creep guy was hitting on her, she might say this to him to get the guy to stop bothering her.

15. Bułka z masłem

“A roll with butter.” This is used to describe something very easy. The English equivalent would be “a piece of cake.”

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16. zuć miętę do kogoś

“To feel mint, or smell mint from someone.” This means that you have an attraction to or a crush on someone else. If you are attracted to another person, you feel (or smell) pleasant mint coming from them.

17. Brać nogi za pas

“Take your legs under your belt.” This is a way of telling someone to hurry up and get the lead out.

So, as you can see, the Polish language has some unique words and phrases to describe things that don’t translate exactly to English, but are very similar in nature. Personally, I think the Polish equivalents are more interesting in their literal senses.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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