Polish language

Native toPoland
Native speakers
L1: 40 million (2012)[1]
L2: 670,000 (2012)[1]
Total: 41 million[1]
Early forms
Sign Language System
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byPolish Language Council
(of the Polish Academy of Sciences)
Language codes
ISO 639-1pl
ISO 639-2pol
ISO 639-3pol
Linguasphere53-AAA-cc 53-AAA-b..-d
(varieties: 53-AAA-cca to 53-AAA-ccu)
  Majority of Polish speakers
  Polish used together alongside other languages
  Majority of Polish speakers outside of Poland
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Polish (endonym: język polski, [ˈjɛ̃zɨk ˈpɔlskʲi] , polszczyzna [pɔlˈʂt͡ʂɨzna] or simply polski, [ˈpɔlskʲi] ) is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group within the Indo-European language family written in the Latin script.[9] It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being the official language of Poland, it is also used by the Polish diaspora. There are over 50 million[10][11] Polish speakers around the world. It ranks as the sixth most-spoken among languages of the European Union.[12] Polish is subdivided into regional dialects and maintains strict T–V distinction pronouns, honorifics, and various forms of formalities when addressing individuals.[13]

The traditional 32-letter Polish alphabet has nine additions (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż) to the letters of the basic 26-letter Latin alphabet, while removing three (x, q, v). Those three letters are at times included in an extended 35-letter alphabet, although they are not used in native words.[14] The traditional set comprises 23 consonants and 9 written vowels, including two nasal vowels (ę, ą) defined by a reversed diacritic hook called an ogonek.[15] Polish is a synthetic and fusional language which has seven grammatical cases.[16] It is one of very few languages in the world possessing continuous penultimate stress (with only a few exceptions) and the only in its group having an abundance of palatal consonants.[17] Contemporary Polish developed in the 1700s as the successor to the medieval Old Polish (10th–16th centuries) and Middle Polish (16th–18th centuries).[18]

Among the major languages, it is most closely related to Slovak[19] and Czech[20] but differs in terms of pronunciation and general grammar. In addition, Polish was profoundly influenced by Latin and other Romance languages like Italian and French as well as Germanic languages (most notably German), which contributed to a large number of loanwords and similar grammatical structures.[21][22][23] Extensive usage of nonstandard dialects has also shaped the standard language; considerable colloquialisms and expressions were directly borrowed from German or Yiddish and subsequently adopted into the vernacular of Polish which is in everyday use.[24][25]

Historically, Polish was a lingua franca,[26][27] important both diplomatically and academically in Central and part of Eastern Europe. Today, Polish is spoken by approximately 38 million people as their first language in Poland. It is also spoken as a second language in eastern Germany, northern Czech Republic and Slovakia, western parts of Belarus and Ukraine as well as in southeast Lithuania and Latvia. Because of the emigration from Poland during different time periods, most notably after World War II, millions of Polish speakers can also be found in countries such as Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

  1. ^ a b c Polish at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b c d European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  3. ^ Polish made official language in Brazilian town founded by Poles
  4. ^ "Nyelvi sokszínűség az EU-ban – hivatalos regionális és kisebbségi nyelvek a tagállamokban" (in Hungarian). 16 March 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities". Treaty No. 157 of 1 February 1995. Council of Europe. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  6. ^ "MINELRES – Minority related national legislation – Lithuania". www.minelres.lv. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Reservations and Declarations for Treaty No.148 – European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages". Council of Europe. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Law of Ukraine "On Principles of State Language Policy" (Current version — Revision from 01.02.2014)". Document 5029-17, Article 7: Regional or minority languages Ukraine, Paragraph 2. Zakon2.rada.gov.ua. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Lekhitic languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  10. ^ World Almanac and Book of Facts, World Almanac Books, Mahwah, 1999. ISBN 0-88687-832-2.
  11. ^ Encyklopedia języka polskiego, pod red. S Urbańczyka i M. Kucały, Ossolineum, wyd. 3, Warszawa 1999, ISBN 83-04-02994-4, s. 156.
  12. ^ Keating, Dave. "Despite Brexit, English Remains The EU's Most Spoken Language By Far". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  13. ^ Wierzbicka, Anna; Winter, Werner (2020). Cross-Cultural Pragmatics. De Gruyter. p. 57. ISBN 9783112329764.
  14. ^ "Q, V, X – Poradnia językowa PWN". sjp.pwn.pl.
  15. ^ Kappenberg, Bernard; Schlobinski, Peter (2015). Setting Signs for Europe; Why Diacritics Matter for European Integration. Columbia University Press. p. 44. ISBN 9783838267036. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  16. ^ Foland-Kugler, Magdalena (2006). W gaju słów, czyli, Polszczyzna znana i nieznana (in Polish). Ex Libris. p. 29. ISBN 9788389913876. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  17. ^ "WALS Online – Chapter Fixed Stress Locations". wals.info. Archived from the original on December 7, 2015.
  18. ^ Długosz-Kurczabowa, Krystyna; Dubisz, Stanisław (2006). Gramatyka historyczna języka polskiego (in Polish). Warszawa (Warsaw): wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. pp. 56, 57. ISBN 83-235-0118-1.
  19. ^ Stroińska, Magda; Andrews, Ernest (2018). "The Polish Language Act: Legislating a Complicated Linguistic-Political Landscape". In Andrews, Ernest (ed.). Language planning in the post-communist era: the struggles for language control in the new order in Eastern Europe, Eurasia and China. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 243. ISBN 978-3-319-70926-0. OCLC 1022080518.
  20. ^ Swan, Oscar E. (2002). A grammar of contemporary Polish. Bloomington, Ind.: Slavica. p. 5. ISBN 0-89357-296-9. OCLC 50064627.
  21. ^ "Język polski". Towarzystwo Miłośników Języka Polskiego. July 27, 2000 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Mańczak-Wohlfeld, Elżbieta (July 27, 1995). Tendencje rozwojowe współczesnych zapożyczeń angielskich w języku polskim. Universitas. ISBN 978-83-7052-347-3 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "Rok ... pod względem oświaty, przemysłu i wypadków czasowych". Nakł. N. Kamieńskiego i Spólki. July 27, 1844 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ Brzezina, Maria (1986). Polszczyzna Żydów (in Polish). Warszawa (Warsaw): Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. pp. 31, 46. ISBN 83-01-06611-3.
  25. ^ Prokop-Janiec, Eugenia (2013). Pogranicze Polsko-żydowskie (PDF) (in Polish). Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. p. 20. ISBN 978-83-233-3507-8. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  26. ^ Marácz, László; Rosello, Mireille, eds. (1 January 2012). Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans. BRILL. p. 25. ISBN 978-94-012-0803-1. Retrieved 28 November 2018 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ Koyama, Satoshi (2007). "Chapter 8: The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as a Political Space: Its Unity and Complexity" (PDF). In Hayashi, Tadayuki; Fukuda, Hiroshi (eds.). Regions in Central and Eastern Europe: Past and Present. Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University. pp. 137–153. ISBN 978-4-938637-43-9.