How to use Polandio?

I created Polandio for you with a purpose. Polandio is a tool of a learning acquisition method called comprehensible input method. This method has been proven to be efficient by many polyglots and from my observation still more and more people are aware of this approach. I’ve been using this method since the end of 2020 and it is amazing.

Polandio precisely lets you study Polish in perhaps the most powerful version of comprehensible input, that is by listening to stories which really occurred, which are narrated to you in natural pace with simplified vocabulary, with whole text of the story and its translation provided for free.

Below I’m listing ways of taking advantage of Polandio in efficient manner. The methods are:

The classic comprehensible input – for beginners

When you’re a beginner, you know hardly any word in Polish. When you approach even the simplest possible text (such as news with difficulty 0/10), almost all the words are new. This isn’t comprehensible at all. We must make it comprehensible, we must study the text thoroughly in the first place. I’d like to underline that this method should be used only in the very beginning of your journey with Polish, that is, when the texts with difficulty 0/10 are difficult for you. In any other situation you should use the approach described in the chapter The classic comprehensible input – for intermediate and advanced, choosing the difficulty where you understand (ideally) about 95% of the content.

During the first three to five times you can use the audio recording and pause it after every sentence or you can leave it for later. Read the first sentence in Polish, then in English. Compare them and try to match which word translates into which. Do the same for the rest of sentences. When you arrive to the end of the text, try repeating the process, on each time checking the words you still don’t recognise or you’re not sure of. Read the text like this three to five times or even more. The goal for you is to feel comfortable with the text and understand most of it.

Very easy texts tend to use vocabulary which is very common in a language. For this reason I recommend you considering taking notes with these words to learn them better. You can use a notebook, sticky notes on a wall, Anki, Memrise, Quizlet or any method of your choice. I used Memrise for years, but now I use sticky notes and revise them every 1-3 days.

When you understand most of the text, now you can finally use the most efficient version of the comprehensible input method. Read about it in the section below. As a beginner, though, you should get back to the text a few times in the next 2-3 days, making sure you understand the text better with each time. The other difference is that you might prefer the audio in slower speed – try it out yourself. Recordings in slower speed are available on Patreon.

The classic comprehensible input – for intermediate and advanced

The crucial thing here is the choice of the material. You should choose a text where you understand about 95% of its content. It won’t be always possible, sometimes you’ll understand 90% or 80% and it’s fine enough. Now, do the most shallow thing ever, that is put the audio on and follow the text with the speaker. Yes, it is that simple. When you don’t know a word, look it up in the English translation. Listen to the text a few times, but don’t bore yourself to death with it. When you feel you’re getting bored, just stop and come back tomorrow or choose another text to continue the study.

This method is efficient when it’s used continuously, with the same or different texts. It’s based on hearing the language all the time and not wasting your time on taking notes or doing grammar excercises. When there’s a word which rings your bell and you think you have heard it before, write it down. You can use a notebook, sticky notes on a wall, Anki, Memrise, Quizlet or any method of your choice. I used Memrise for years, but now I use sticky notes and revise them every 1-3 days. Words which you’re hearing for the first time shouldn’t bother you – it’s possible that you’ll never hear them again, so they’re not worth learning at all now.

The mantra method

The mantra (or: immersion) method is a method I don’t use myself because it’s not adapted to my lifestyle, but it has proven to be efficient for many polyglots, so it’s definitely worth mentioning here. It might be used as a continuation of the classic comprehensible input method or instead of it. The point is that you listen to the same recording a hundred times. A million times. A gazillion times. As many times as possible, to be concise. You upload them to your mp3 player (for example your telephone) and you listen to it whole day. Whole week. Whole life. Anywhere and anytime: when washing the dishes, hoovering, shopping, walking your dog, driving your car. The text becomes a part of you, the language becomes a part of you.

Recordings adapted to this method can be obtained on Patreon. Here I’m presenting Matt who is a huge enthusiast of this method.

The shadowing method

This is a well-known method which I’ve tried multiple times and I didn’t like it myself. However, it’s another method which has been proven to work very well for many people. This method is just the classic comprehensible input approach with an addition of one more skill: speaking. You’re listening, reading and speaking the same sentences at the same time. It might be also mixed with the mantra method to become more automatic. Below you can listen to Robin who is a shadowing enthusiast and will explain in his words how he uses it.

Just listen

I advise using this method only when you feel your listening skills are very, very, very far behind your reading skills. When you understand any video with subtitles, but you don’t understand it at all without subtitles. This is a very rare situation and almost surely doesn’t apply to you. If it doesn’t apply to you, I recommend you using the classic comprehensible input method.

Here it is important to have recordings in both slow and normal speed. Recordings in slower speed are available on Patreon. Start from the recording in normal speed. Listen to it about 3-5 times. According to the presumption, you should know all the words, but not be able to recognise them in speech. When you’re done, take the recording in slower speed. Listen to it another 3-5 times. Now take one of the two steps:

  • if you understand what was said – get back to the normal speed. Jump between those speeds. The final goal is to understand the normal speed. Listen to it as many times as you need to reinforce the skill;
  • if you still don’t understand – leave the recordings and turn back to them within a few hours or the next day. If on the next day you still don’t understand, read the transcript and continue with the classic comprehensible input method. When you’re ready to approach the recording without the transcription, just do it – to test yourself.