Our dog only speaks Polish

Speak English to Edek and you will get no response at all


As most of you will know by now, we lived in Wrocław for two years. During that time Kinga, Sophie and Oliver really wanted to get a dog. I was 100% against it - I did not want a dog. I thought it was too much responsibility, we would have to make sure we were home during specific hours and generally I thought it would be like having another kid.

I'm not the only member of this family though, so in the end I had to give in - when I say 'give in' what I actually mean is that I returned home from my weekly commute one Thursday night, to find a French bulldog puppy in the flat. I was not happy! Of course, every time he made a mess on the floor, I complained, when he snored, I moaned and when he had to go to the vets I got mad. I did not want this animal!



Above: Edek 'smiling' for the camera, he is a proud Pole

Needless to say, as time went by, Edek and I formed a bond. He looked at me with his gorgeous eyes and would come and snuggle up next to me. I ended up falling in love with him. Now, almost three years on, I enjoy having Edek as part of our family so much so, that we are getting another French bulldog. When we go to Poland next month. 'Heniek' will become Edek's little brother - and guess whose idea it was to get a second dog? Yep, that's right, it was mine. Once we get Heniek back to the UK, I'll be sure to add some photos to Instagram but until then, let's concentrate on Edek.


Although he should be 'French', Edek is 100% Polish, so much so that he understands no word of English. I thought speaking to a dog with the right tone in your voice was what is important but with Edek, its all about the language. For example, if I want him to come to the kitchen and he is sat in the living room, I'll say "what's this Edek"? and he will just continue to sit and ignore me. As soon as I say the words "Edek, co to jest"? he will sprint to the kitchen expecting something tasty to be waiting for him. I can say it with the same tone in English but he is really not interested.


Edek has lived in England for more than a year now and I am disappointed that he has made no effort at all to learn the language. He does not attempt to go out with other dogs so he can socialise, he only watches Polish TV and he hasn't even started duolingo. I'd say his Polish level is around B2 but with English he is not even on the CEFR scale of proficiency, less than A1. To be honest when we have guests, it's kind of embarrassing when he just stares at them not having a clue what they are saying - it is a bit like when I first visited Poland! Sometimes, I'm frustrated that he doesn't want to learn English but then I always give in to him and speak Polish. It's my own fault - I blame myself, but he really could make more effort.


On a slightly more serious note, it's good for me as I have formed the 'habit' of only speaking Polish to Edek. I wish I could form this habit with the rest of the family but every time I say we should speak Polish, we end up talking in English. It is so hard to break that habit when it's normal to speak English. So, with Edek I speak Polish all the time. Unfortunately, these sentences are often repeated many times per day and are limited to the following: 'Jesteś głodny'?, 'potrzebujesz siku?', 'chodż tu', 'co ty robisz'?, 'daj łapa', and 'idziesz na spacer'? (Are you hungry?, do you need a wee?, come here, what are you doing?, give me your paw and are you going for a walk?). That is about the extent of our conversations.


Although our conversations are limited, I have grown to love this little mutt. He is part of the family now and although he likes to spend his days, chewing his own foot, snoring louder than any human I ever met before and ripping his toy pheasant to pieces, I wouldn't have him any other way.


I just wish he would make an effort to learn at least some English.


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