Polish Language

History

The Polish language is a Lechitic language, originating from the Indo-European language family. Lechitic, also spelled Lekhitic, languages also include Pomeranian, Silesian and Polabian. There are four eras to the Polish language; Old Polish, Middle Polish, New Polish and Modern Polish. The period of Old Polish lasted from the 9th to the 16th century, with the next two centuries making up the Middle Polish era. New Polish only lasted until 1930, when the language was renamed Modern Polish

In world war two, the borders of the Polish country became greatly changed. Polish people were evacuated from their country as part of the regime of ethnic cleansing put in place by the Nazis. Because of this, the Polish language has not only spread to many of the surrounding countries, but it has also influenced them, and taken influence from them.

Popularity

The Polish language is the official language of the country of Poland. It is used throughout the country, with the vast majority of Polish people being Polish speakers. Standard Polish is spoken by all Polish speakers, though there are several dialects. However, compared to a country such as England, these dialects are little more than a change in accent, with some additional vocabulary. While they can be understood by other Polish speakers, learners of Polish as a second language often find distinguishing between these dialects to be relatively difficult

Of the Lechitic languages, the Polish language has by far the most speakers. After Russian and Ukrainian, it is also the most spoken Slavic language. It is spoken in Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, United Kingdom, United States, Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, Australia, Ireland and Israel, and has a total worldwide of around 40 million speakers. Officially, it is also considered to be a minority language in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Germany.

Language

Polish uses its own Polish alphabet. This is basically the same as the Latin alphabet, though has some extra additions to account for certain vowel and consonant sounds. The Polish language has eight vowel sounds. Six of these are oral, while two are nasal vowels. In contrast, the consonant system in the Polish language is considerably more complex, with such features as affricate consonants. Affricate consonants are consonants that begin with stopping the air in the mouth to make the word (such as T or D) but then release orally as a fricative (such as S or Z).

When two of the same consonants are placed next to each other, their sound changes considerably. Instead of being pronounced in a prolonged manner, such as within the Italian language for example, but each consonant is pronounced individually. This interesting feature does not only occur within the native words of the Polish language, but also in any loanwords from other languages when they are spoken in Polish.

There are several ways to convey self in the Polish language, with gender, animacy and personhood. There are three genders in Polish, which are masculine, feminine and neutral, while there are two forms of animacy, which are animate or inanimate. Personhood refers to how personal something is to you, whether it is personal or non-personal. Personhood and animacy are only used within the masculine gender, and not the feminine, so we can see that there are five gender classes that can be used.

Why Learn The Polish Language?

Tourism is a large element of Poland’s economy. Although the tourist offices of Poland push for tourists to view the cities, there are also many areas of natural beauty such as the Masurian Lake District and Bialowieza Forest. That’s not to say that the cities aren’t worth travelling to and exploring, though. Warsaw and Krakow are the two main cities that tourists choose to travel to, primarily on account of their stunning architecture and diverse performing arts. Warsaw has over fifty large theatres and musical venues in the city, with many smaller joint venues. Learning the Polish language can not only make your travels to Poland a lot easier, but can open up your artistic experiences to an entirely new culture.


1 Comment

  • #1 by Adam Balicki on January 17 - 6:38 pm

    Quote

    According to most sources, Polish has more speakers than Ukrainian. Comparing the population of the two countries is misleading, because a significant portion of the Ukrainian population (especially in the East) speaks Russian.

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