- 1. In official and polite contact the following forms are used:
- Pan — to address a man — a singular form.
- Pani — to address a woman (whether she is married or not) — a singular form.
- Państwo — to address a man and a woman in a mixed group — a plural form.
- Panowie — to address a group of men — a plural form.
- Panie — to address a group of women — a plural form.
- 2. The formal ways of greetings are often followed by the titles referring to the social position or rank.
|Dzień dobry pani doktor.
||Dzień dobry panie doktorze.
||Good morning Mr./Mrs., Miss, Doctor.
|Dobry wieczór pani profesor.
||Dobry wieczór panie profesorze.
||Good evening Mr./Mrs., Miss, Professor
NOTE: it is important to know that such greetings in English “How are you?” Jak się masz?, or “How is it going?” Co słychać? Jak leci ? (informal) are not used as greetings in Polish. Instead, they are treated as questions requiring information. They are answered in Polish with such feedback as: good or bad mood information, complaints, worries or the opposite. The interlocutor normally follows with a more specific question about the situation, offers help, etc.
- 3. Personal pronouns that are used in the formal speech.
In the formal contact, such words as pan and pani are followed by the 3rd person singular form of a verb, and the plural państwo, panie, and panowie are followed by the 3rd person plural form of a verb.
Być (To Be)
3rd person singular
3rd person singular
plural 3rd person plural
3rd person plural
|Ona/pani jest. (she/Mrs. is)
||On/pan jest. (he/Mr. is)
||One/panie są. (they/women are)
||Oni/panowie są. (oni/panowie są) (they/men are)
- 4. Cultural context information:
The forms pani and pan are connected with age and social status; therefore, they are used to address adults. (Polish matriculation age is officially recognized as 18 years old.)
Although the formal nature of some social contacts is predetermined, it is possible to change the formal into an informal type of contact; however, there are socio-cultural rules that govern such transition. A woman may suggest such a change to a man, an older person to a younger person, or someone of a higher social rank to the inferior. Below are the phrases used to do so:
- Proszę pana/pai , czy możemy przejść na ty? (Can we speak to each other, Mr?/Mrs?)
Proszę mi mówić ty, Jan etc. (Please speak to me you, John etc.)
- 5. Introducing yourself:
To introduce yourself in a formal way you need to give both the forename and the surname.
Below are the example formulas:
- Nazywam się: Marek Nowak. (My name is…)
Jestem Marek Nowak. (I’m…)
- 6. Introducing other people.
Below are some phrases used to introduce others in a formal way.
- (Proszę pani/pana) chciałabym pani/panu przedstawić (+ Accusative) Pana Marka Nowaka.
Sir/Madam let me introduce Mr. Mark Nowak (to you).
- In response: Bardzo mi miło panią/pana poznać. (Nice to meet you.)
A shortened response: Bardzo mi miło.
- 7. To express a certain level of familiarity, and to soften the formal style yet keep it culturally correct, the expressions pani/pan are followed by the first name or its diminutive:
- In addressing a person you say: Pani Mario, Panie Janie / Pani Marysiu, Panie Janku
- In introducing them you say: Pani Mario chciałabym Pani przedstawić Pana Marka Nowaka.
- 8. The formal phrases are customary formulas for letters:
||Z wyrazami szacunku. (Regards)
||Z poważaniem. (Sincerely)
|Droga Pani Mario…
||This is a semi formal form:
Dear Mrs. Mary…
Note: Szanowny Panie Doktorze, Szanowna Pani Mario — it is customary that all the words referring to the addressee are spelled with a capital letter at the beginning.