About the Polish language
Polish is an Indo-European language belonging to the group of West Slavic languages (along with Czech, Slovak, Kashubian, Upper Sorbian, and Lower Sorbian).
The Polish language is spoken by about 50 million people and is ranked 30th among the most widely spoken languages in the world (according to Nationalencyklopedin). Polish is the largest Slavic language in the European Union, its fifth ethnic language (tied with Castilian Spanish, after German, English, French and Italian).
The oldest sentence in Polish: “Day, ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai” [Allow me, I will grind, and you rest] was written in the Latin alphabet in 1270 in the Henryków Book — a manuscript inscribed (since 2005) on UNESCO’s World Memory List. In 1285, at the convention of Łęczyca, it was decided that the Polish language would be used alongside Latin in monastic and cathedral schools.
Although it is sometimes considered difficult to learn, Polish grammar is not always a puzzle! The Polish language is based on the Latin alphabet, it is characterized by the use of the tonic (stable) accent and only three grammatical tenses.
Polish is written using 32 letters, including nine letters with diacritical signs (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż) accompanied by seven double characters (sz, rz, cz, ch, dz, j, dź) and a triple (dzi) representing additional phonemes.
Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives come in seven cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocal, instrumental and locative), meaning that the endings of words vary according to their syntactic function in the sentence.
The Polish language has been influenced by Latin, Greek, German, Czech, Russian, Turkish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Yiddish and more recently English.
It is estimated that an average Pole actively knows about 30,000 words, and passively understands about 100,000. According to university researchers, it is enough to know 1200 words, the most frequently used, to be able to express oneself in Polish. Thus, one year of study (and for motivated people or lovers of the language – one semester) can give very satisfactory results.
Learn more about Polish language learning opportunities in Belgium.
Learn more about Polish language learning opportunities in Poland.