My Polish Yorkshire Dad & his accent

A Yorkshire Pole

I was browsing through an old hard external hard drive this morning and came across this video (below) of my late dad on his 80th birthday. I couldn’t play it at first to my horror, then managed to convert it and bring it back to life.

My dad loved being in front of a camera and he was always so natural and ready to be funny. He was always slightly baffled too as to why on earth I’d want to film him.

Here he is – I’d asked him what his favourite biscuit was to bring out his accent. I miss him, can’t have a Rich Tea Biscuit without thinking of him and have shed a few tears watching him again.

Dad was in Germany during World War 2 and come to England afterwards as a displaced person. He took integration and learning English really seriously and wrote new English words up in the shed with chalk. He also often came to me with the newspaper to ask me to explain what certain words meant.

I don’t think he really realised he had a Polish Yorkshire actually, although I have the reverse – a Yorkshire accent when speaking Polish.

The father character in my novel Are My Roots Showing? is based on dad.

How Polish are YOU? Quiz

How Polish Are You?

Although I had Polish parents (but was born in the UK), I only score about two out of ten on this. How Polish are you? Do the following quiz and read the results below.

  1. Do you have a round face and chiselled cheek bones?
  2. Do you eat meat whenever possible and genuinely wonder how veggies survive?
  3. Can you calculate the number of Złoty to the dollar to four decimal places, even if you are woken up in the middle of the night?
  4. Do you have an abnormal ability to transport vast amounts of luggage on the top of a car? NB This trait is not just limited to cars. I once saw a man in Poland walking alongside his bicycle with a sofa balanced on the pedal.
  5. Do you go mental over scary food such as galareta, sledzie, or cold soured milk and pickled cucumbers?
  6. Are you always talking about the cisnienieatmospheric pressure – and how it can be blamed for everything form rheumatism to marital snoring?
  7. Do you have a propensity to look glum (or at best very serious) even when you’re happy?
  8. Do you have an enduring love for Poland, no matter how far away?
  9. Do you pray more to Mary than to God?
  10. Can you drink vodka like a fish and wake up feeling totally fine the next day?


10 out of 10. Excellent. You are a true Pole. If someone cut you in half they’d find a copy of Adam Mickiewicz’s ‘Pan Tadeusz’ inside.

9 out of 10. Very good. You are, to all intents and purposes, a true Polak/Polka.

8 out of 10. Good. You are very Polish and don’t let the side down.

7 out of 10. Good-ish. You are pretty Polish but could do better.

6 out of 10. Average sort of. You need to get more Polish kuchnia (Polish cooking) down you, go there on holiday and speak Polish more often, starting with Poles shopping in Lidl.

5 out of 10. Not really good enough. Your red and white colours are fading pretty fast.

4 out of 10. Errr… you are less than half Polish and need to try much harder. Say five Hail Mary’s in Polish and read ‘Quo Vadis.’

3 out of 10. Hmm. You should have studied harder at Polish school, learned your mushrooms and all your Kings and Queens (then you’d have also known that even the two queens were crowned as kings).

2 out of 10. You, Polish? You’re having a laugh. You wouldn’t know a pieróg from a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

1 out of 10. Sorry, but you have failed the Polish test and are about as Polish as a Union Jack. Go back to the Polski Elementarz and spend five years out there.

Karola Gajda is the author of the novel ‘Are My Roots Showing?’ on sale on Amazon though Cirrus publishing – or go to the homepage and click on the red button.

My book comes out on 25 May 2016

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