Learn Polish

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Polish Language

The Polish Language

The Polish language is the mother tongue of the citizens of the Republic of Poland- a country in Eastern Europe. It is widely spoken in Poland, and in the countries of Belarus and Lithuania. Around 44 million people in those countries use it collectively as their first language. It is one of the official languages of the European Union.

The language was largely spoken in Poland until 966. Around that time, the ruler Mieszko I received baptism as a Christian. With the entry of Christianity, the people learned to write in Latin. Later, they were able to write in Polish. The first documents which contained Slavonic names included: Dagome iudex, which stated that Mieszko I aligned his state to the pope. The manuscript was penned in c. 990-992. It described the lands particularly the two biggest cities of Gniezno and Cracow.

Another document bearing the written Polish language was Pope Innocent IV's the "Gniezno papal bull" (Bulla gnieźnieńska) of 1136 which contained 410 names of Polish places and people. The third document was the 1155 Hadrian IV's bull containing 50 Polish names. The use of Polish and Latin in Poland resulted in the creation of the first Polish spelling rules established by Polish clergymen.

The Polish language is part of the West Slavic group together with Slovak and Czech. It is patterned after Latin alphabet, with the only difference is the diacritical marks on some letters. It is an inflected dialect with stress patterns falling on the second to the last or penultimate syllable. It has seven cases, three genders with one in its singular form and two in the plural form and two numbers.

When you learn Polish, you might notice the close resemblance to some English words. For instance, the Polish dym means smoke not dark. The word los in Polish means destiny even if it sounds like loss in English.

There are five major dialects in Polish which include: Kashubia, Mazovia, Malopolska, Silesia and Wielkopolska. In 1954, after World War II, the dialects further evolved as people moved to the northern and western part of the country.
Some Polish words are also derived from other languages such as English, German, Russian and French aside, of course, from Latin.

Addressing in Formal and Informal Manner in Polish

If you are speaking to a stranger, it is considered proper to speak in third person mentioning his title after the words Pan (Sir) and Pani (Madam). If you are close to the person, then you mention the person’s name after Panor Pani.

Grammar

A unique feature in Polish verb is the ‘aspect’. It can be either perfective or imperfective manifesting ongoing action and a completed action. A number of prefixes can be used to make perfective verbs which have different meanings. Polish words sometimes use a number of consonants together. These consonants are combined to create a single sound.

Polish is quite difficult to learn. The spelling of words can become complicated because the words almost have similar sounds. The rules on grammar and punctuation are numerous but so do the exceptions. It also contains nasal vowels which are only found in Slavic languages.