What is Frazpol?
Frazpol is a free online tool which can help you learn, practice and test Polish idioms. It is made up of four main parts: dictionaries, exercises, tests and games. The input is divided into four levels. The project was launched in 2000 at the School of Polish Language and Culture University of Silesia – you can learn more about the team and different phases of the project in the “O programie” section of their website (click on the top left post-it note stuck on the window).
The programme is very nicely designed and worth checking out. If you want to go straight to Frazpol, follow this link.
If you need more encouragement, keep reading:
To give you an idea of what it looks like and what you can do with it, here is a brief presentation with pictures and descriptions:
On the right side of the window you can reach for “Słownik/ Dictionary”, and once you get there, you will discover there are actually three dictionaries available. They all include the same set of idioms, the only difference being the way these idioms are arranged.
Good news for German speakers:) You will be happy to find out there are translations into your own language in all three dictionaries (in the blue alphabetical dictionary you have to press on the tiny German flag to see them, in the other two translations are there by default).
There is a promising-looking GB flag on the cover of this dictionary too, unfortunately it is not clickable, which means English translations are not available yet…
The three types of arrangement are:
The alphabetical dictionary offers no surprises and is as easy to use as ABC.
The thematic dictionary is just as predictable, you choose a theme – but it can’t be any theme that comes to your mind – you pick a topic from the available selection of categories. And this is what it looks like after you’ve picked a topic:
Only the keyword dictionary – the red one in the middle – might look a bit mysterious at first sight. It is organised around selected keywords. Write the first letter and you will see which words starting with this letter are included in the dictionary. Again, you can’t write any word, there is a limited selection of keywords. And this is what happens if you write “ch”:
Click on a keyword and you will see idioms using this word alongside their explanations (in Polish and German):
Levels and exercises
Have a look at the window on the homepage again. Tasks are divided into four levels of difficulty, you can see their names on the four post-its in the middle of the window. The easiest category is supposedly A1-B1, but I think a lot of input there is really above A1 and even some advanced learners could find these exercises challenging.
Well, to avoid frustration at any level, it is advisable to refer to the dictionaries first. This is what they are for, aren’t they?
Whichever level you go for, you will be presented with the following set of options: exercises, games and tests.
Let’s start with “Ćwiczenia/exercises”. Here is the choice:
Whichever type of exercise you choose, it’s usually easy to guess what to do (and if not, there are instructions in Polish and German again):
The only moment of hesitation might be where to write words in some exercises, such as here. Your task is to write the correct form of a word in a given idiomatic expression, but you can’t clearly see the place where to write it. Here is a hint – continue in the same line, just after the word in the brackets:
It’s also nice that you can work in this programme even if you don’t have a Polish keyboard, as you can get Polish characters easily by clicking on them.
I would normally discuss tests in the final paragraph but Frazpol tests include exactly the same types of tasks as Frazpol exercises. The difference is that in the exercises part you can check whether your answer is correct or not after each sentence, and in the tests part you have to complete the whole set of sentences, and only then your score is calculated and you get to know which answers were correct. In every test you are entitled to one lifeline though – you can check your answer to one question before submitting them all.
I love Frazpol’s rebus section, it’s challenging but fun to do:
If your answer is incorrect, it will be highlighted in red:
Then, there are drag and drop exercises. Your task is to complete idioms by matching idiom beginnings on the left with words on the right:
Here you have jumbled words and your task is to make a complete idiomatic expression. One word is spare:
So if you want to try and learn, practise, play and get tested, visit Frazpol website and enjoy:)