Agony Aunts

As you can see from the previous post, Polandian has secured the services of two top-notch agony aunts – ciocia Halina and ciocia Dorota. They are both available to all Polandian visitors and are happy to give personal advice on just about any matter that might be troubling you, or a friend of yours!

Ciocia Halina advises for us three days a week when she has time off from her duties at Radio Maryja (and other select venues). Ciocia Dorota is with us for the other four days, she also gives advice on Dzień Dobry TVN and writes for Gala magazine.

So, if anything is troubling you (or a friend), or perhaps there’s some point of etiquette you need guidance on, we encourage you to get it off your chest and write to either of our agony aunts TODAY, just like Magda did!

They can both be reached by sending an email to – drogaciociu @ post .pl (without the spaces)


(YES – the mail does work!)

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22 thoughts on “Agony Aunts

  1. Sylwia says:

    LOL They might be the first agony aunts in Poland ever! I don’t think we ever had such a phenomenon here, only professionals, like sexologists, answer queries.

    But, aunts should be called Halinka and Dorotka. One doesn’t address one’s aunt with so much distance, whether one likes her or not. ;-)

  2. scatts says:

    Point taken, Sylwia. Our graphic artist is on the job as we speak!

  3. Sylwia says:

    Since we’re speaking of Polish, might I be forgiven for pointing out to a minor misspelling?

    The Polish blurb at Polandian says:

    “Polandian to kolektywy blog współtworzony przez różnych ludzi mieszkających i pracujących w Polsce.”

    Either the word “kolektyw” is a noun, meaning a collective body, often used in the communist newspeak, and as such should be declined “kolektywu” (masculine):

    “Polandian to kolektywu blog, współtworzony przez różnych ludzi mieszkających i pracujących w Polsce.”

    Or it’s an adjective, meaning this blog is collaborative, and then an “n” is missing. Should be spelled “kolektywny”:

    “Polandian to blog kolektywny, współtworzony przez różnych ludzi mieszkających i pracujących w Polsce.”

    In fact in neither case you avoid a reference to the communist newspeak, because the word isn’t used apart from it. A collaborative work in Polish i.e. in reference to a book written by several authors is called “praca zbiorowa”. The blurb would then go:

    “Polandian to blog zbiorowy, współtworzony przez różnych ludzi mieszkających i pracujących w Polsce.”

    However, the newspeak “kolektywu” or “kolektywny” might have an ironic undertone, and I always read it as such. On the other hand “zbiorowy” would be redundant, because anything that is “współtworzone” (co-created) is “zbiorowe” by definition, while redundancy in the communist newspeak is desired for comical effect.

    It might also be “…blog zbiorowy, tworzony przez…” meaning “a collaborative blog created by” without the “co”.

    Although the place of particular words within a sentence doesn’t have such a significance in Polish as it does in English, and doesn’t influence the meaning of a sentence as such, in all of the above cases the word “blog” before the other sounds more natural. Yet, in case of the word “kolektyw” used as a possessive noun “kolektywu blog” the unnatural sequence makes it more amusing in a positive, intended way.

    Polish and English punctuation differ a lot, so one needs a comma before “współtworzony”.

    I really hoped to stop at this point, but now that I’m dissenting the sentence anyway I thought I’d mention that “różnych ludzi” is redundant as well. It’s obvious that people differ from one another. One needs to use articles and qualifiers in English like “some, any, various” etc. One doesn’t need to in Polish, so we don’t. You might either write “zbieraninę ludzi” which is the closest to the English “mixed bunch”, and has a colloquial feel, showing a healthy distance to yourselves and indicating that the choice of people writing here is random, but would be a jarring repetition if you used “blog zbiorowy”, or skip the word “różnych”, or write “ludzi różnych narodowości”, pointing out to the mixed nationality of the blog’s authors. “Zbieraninę ludzi różnych narodowości” is an option as well.

    Sorry for giving you a headache!

    P.S. I pretty much suspect the Polish version was written by a Pole who tried to avoid the obvious translation of the word “collaborative” as “kolaboracyjny” that in Polish always refers to war collaboration with enemies. It’s just one of the instances when it’s difficult to think of a good translation when English and Polish words are too similar and yet their undertones too different.

  4. guest says:

    Sylwia, someone just forgot a “n” and you write here a 2nd bible ,lol.

  5. Sylwia says:

    LOL I’m really not sure it was just an “n”. It was my first thought when I saw it months ago, but since then I’ve been thinking of other possibilities and that’s what I came with. It’s just what happens when I have too much time to think.

  6. Ewa says:

    Talking aout spelling…
    Scats – not “ciocha” but “ciocia” :)) Ciocia Halina, Ciocia Dorota:)

  7. michael farris says:

    “They might be the first agony aunts in Poland ever!”

    Not true! The departed and missed (by me) Skandal! (a weekly tabloid from the early 90’s put out by the same fine people behind the Weekly World News IIRC) had a column called “(Dorota) prawdę ci powie” I forget the exact name, it might have been Dorotka or Ciocia Jakaś tam. But it was your standard Dear Abby advice column (Americans don’t say ‘agony aunt’ which sounds too much like some kinky S&M thing).

    I’m pretty sure the letters were written by the editors.

    I’ll just put in a word for low class garbage in language learning. I learned a lot of Polish from weekly tabloids and crime magazines (like Kobra) not to mention Kaczor Donald. Most language learners try to read advanced, literate material first but usually things written for people with low literacy skills are better for learners.

  8. Sylwia says:

    Point taken! You must know more about Polish agony aunts/Dear Abbies than I ever will.

    I used to learn English from songs. Actually I began to learn English only to understand songs, because I had French and Russian in primary school, but wanted to know what the Beatles sang about, so I took a dictionary. I was rather disappointed though. They keep repeating the same words over and over again, so I switched to Waits for some more complex lyrics. :D It’s a method I’m going to recommend. Whenever I couldn’t recall a word I sang the strophe that contained it. There was no English press available back then anyway.

  9. Ania says:

    That was so cool, Sylwia. You are Sylwia Miodek! I’m your biggest fan.

    My offer of songs in Polish

    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=YZlILiL0N6U

    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=GWqC2Vw1hPw

    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=mc2iRI7IISs

    just because I’m evil :]

  10. adthelad says:

    That letter ‘n’ eh, what a crafty little chap! He legs from kolektywny only to cause more bother by elbowing out the let ‘c’ in Sylwia’s dissection.

    The ‘róznych’ could just as easily been used by an anglo pole like me, someone who grew up in London with Polish as his first language but without the common contact with the Polish tounge to afford a greater vocabulary or to avoid every day anglicising of mind set.

  11. adthelad says:

    and the trouble with joking around picking up typo’s in people’s comments is that there are inveriably glaring errors in one’s own – cue smiley hitting itself on the head with a mallet. Not like those forums which allow members to edit their own comments. Should have said ‘leg it’ and ‘anglisizing’. Phew! Now i can rest easy :)

  12. island1 says:

    Where’s Pawel? I blame Pawel for more or less everything.

  13. domingo says:

    Sylwia, i wouldn’t be so sure about that comma before ‘współtworzony”.

  14. some dude says:

    Wow, this idea is stupid, pointless and offensive.

    Needless to say, I love it!

  15. Sylwia says:

    Ania, W Malinowym Chruśniaku is just too cruel! I wonder if it’s possible for a foreigner to ever understand it. But then if there’s one poem we’d want people to appreciate it must be this one. *sigh*

    Ad, the “różnych” is what I overuse too after I write or read in English too much. I just keep monitoring myself not to become languageless, and that’s how I know it comes from the analogy in English.

    Thank God this forum doesn’t allow people to edit one’s mistakes. I’d be spending hours chasing mine!

    Seriously, my long disseCtion is an effect of my very close relationship with the one sentence. After all I’ve been looking at it for months. I’d miss “kolektywny” acutely! I’d never correct someone else’s post, although I do appreciate people’s correcting mine. So you’re very welcome!

    Domingo, we could negotiate it. I’m totally bribe-able when it comes to commas. ;-)

    Island, why not blame it on me for a change? :-D

  16. scatts says:

    Translations are welcomed!!

    W malinowym chruśniaku – Bolesław Leśmian

    W malinowym chruśniaku, przed ciekawych wzrokiem
    Zapodziani po głowy, przez długie godziny
    Zrywaliśmy przybyłe tej nocy maliny.
    Palce miałaś na oślep skrwawione ich sokiem.

    Bąk złośliwie huczał basem, jakby straszył kwiaty,
    Rdzawe guzy na słońcu wygrzewał liść chory,
    Złachmianionych pajęczyn skrzyły się wisiory,
    I szedł tyłem na grzbiecie jakiś żuk kosmaty.

    Duszno było od malin, któreś, szepcząc rwała,
    A szept nasz tylko wówczas nacichał w ich woni,
    Gdym wargami wygarniał z podanej mi dłoni
    Owoce, przepojone wonią twego ciała.

    I stały się maliny narzędziem pieszczoty,
    Tej pierwszej, tej zdziwionej, która w całym niebie
    Nie zna innych upojeń, oprócz samej siebie,
    I chce się wciąż powtarzać dla własnej dziwoty.

    I nie wiem, jak się stało, w którym okamgnieniu,
    Żeś dotknęła mi wargą spoconego czoła,
    Porwałem twoje dłonie – oddałaś w skupieniu,
    A chruśniak malinowy trwał wciąż dookoła.

  17. Henryk in Sydney says:

    It’s all Kevin Rudd’ fault!!s

  18. Sylwia says:

    Scatts, the page you found had several poems at once. Only the first 5 strophes belong to ‘W malinowym chruśniaku’. It ends with: A chruśniak malinowy trwał wciąż dookoła.

    I did translate it once, and failed miserably, as was to be expected. My friend who was to be the beneficent of my troubles read it and asked what was it all about, lol.

    The poem operates on two layers. One is the literal, and really not much happens there, just two young people went to a brushwood to pick raspberries. The other is in the language. Polish is largely based on onomatopoeias. It’s not always important what a word means but how it sounds. All of the ś, sz, ć, cz, rz etc. that sound mostly like rubbish to an English speaker have an effect on us. Leśmian combined the words in such a way that it is the greatest erotic in the Polish literature even though not much happens there. It just makes a reader create such suggestive pictures in one’s mind. For example the word ‘krwawy’ suggests piercing. Would bloody or bleeding have the same effect? The various ‘szeleszczące’ words make us speak lower and think of whispering. A sharply sounding word after that creates a contrast. Words in Polish can be moulded, so that their emotional expression changes, like in wóda and wódeczka. Both mean the same vodka, but the latter is tasty while the first is going to give you a huge hangover. People shape the words, not to change the object, but to change their attitude to the object. This in poetry can have a very considerable effect, and Leśmian was a master in inventing new words. In this poem words of various aesthetical hue are juxtaposed together. Some are delicate, some ugly, making the poem interchangeably tender and vulgar. ‘Wygarniać’ suggests groping, ‘na oślep’ abandonment, ‘złachmanione’ rugged clothes. One has a feeling that the couple is battling and whirling. This poem has sound, touch, taste and scent. It’s sex with all the tenderness, passion, sweat and dirt, but it’s not spoken. How on earth one translates impressions? If there are such techniques available in English then I simply don’t know about them, so I have no way to succeed. Perhaps Michael could do better. Of course you can always say that my mind is in the gutter! :D

    I remember from my teenage years that many boys could recite it. It’s very helpful in courtship.

    In the meantime I recalled that I had another song translated. It’s simpler, and not exactly erotic, unless one could call this kind of sex erotic, but it contains many words you’ll never use at work. ;-)

  19. scatts says:

    Sylwia, you’re such a tease with all this sexy talk!

    and

    Scatts, the page you found had several poems at once. Only the first 5 strophes belong to ‘W malinowym chruśniaku’. It ends with: A chruśniak malinowy trwał wciąż dookoła.

    I knew that. I was just giving value for money. ;)

  20. Sylwia says:

    It’s just an incentive to learn Polish!

  21. […] long ago I mentioned in a comment at Polandian (I spend there too much time, don’t I?) that I used to learn English from The Beatles’ songs, and just a few days ago a friend of mine dug out a link to Rocky Racoon. That’s actually one […]

  22. Satchel says:

    Play infoarmivte for me, Mr. internet writer.

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