Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Work Day

There's this dziadek in the lab who is probably around eighty-years old. He's this wizened little fellow and hobbles along on crutches and almost always wears a bathrobe. The thing is, is that his desk isn't conveniently on the lab floor like some others, but up a flight of stairs on a platform overlooking the whole lab. He sits there, occasionally getting up to walk to his coat on the hanger, or to go someplace else. He's apparently designing some fire extinguisher that utilizes atomized water particles at high speeds. He's usually the last to leave. One time, he actually started to make conversation with me as I was leaving. As you should know, I'm not exactly the most proficient speaker of Polish, so I ashamedly said so. His English is rough, but at least he understood my small bits of Polish.

We finally got the laser to work somewhat. The instructions are all in English, so I'm usually the one reading and deciphering them. We still can't control it by the computer, only manually, but tomorrow a faculty member from the Physics Dept. should come and teach us how (he's the one who originally used it ten years ago, so he may be a bit rusty on the operating procedures.)

I'm getting more used to the formal 'Pan.' It brings back memories of my teaching Martyna, Martyna and Tosia (read here) where they all referred to me as such. There are periods where pan isn't used: K doesn't use it with me (when he does speak to me in Polish, he uses the informal 'ty', which is what I prefer.) There are no women here, so 'Pani' is completely off the table.
An interesting thing about Polish genders, is that usually they have two nouns (feminine and masculine) for one profession or occupation, i.e. student and studentka both mean student, just one is female. 'Profesor' is not one of these nouns, and referring to a female professor as "Pani Profesorka" would probably be an insult or diminutive. The correct form, according to my Polish professor (Whom I address as Szanowny Panie Profesorze) is simply "Pani Profesor."

No comments: