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Polish language

Polish is the official language of Poland.

Spoken in:Poland
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia (Europe), Slovakia, Ukraine, UAE, USA.
Total speakers: 46 Million
Official status
Official language of:Poland, also Vilnius county, Lithuania
ISO 639-1: pl
ISO 639-2: pol

Table of contents
1 History
2 Classification
3 Geographic distribution
4 Dialects
5 Sounds
6 Grammar
7 Vocabulary
8 Writing systems


Polish has been influenced by contact with foreign languages (foremost Latin, German, French, Italian, Russian and English). In Greater Poland and especially Silesia the inimitable regional dialects are influenced by German elements. Since 1945, as the result of mass education and mass migrations, standard Polish has become far more homogeneous, although regional dialects persist. In the western and northern territories, resettled in large measure by Poles from the Soviet Union, the older generation came to speak a language characteristic of the former eastern provinces.


The Polish language, together with other Lekhitic languages (Kashubian, Polabian), Upper and Lower Sorbian, Czech and Slovak, belongs to the West branch of Slavic languages.

Geographic distribution

Polish is mainly spoken in Poland, but Polish emigrants have brought the language with them, and there are significant numbers of Polish speakers in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia (Europe), Slovakia, Ukraine, UAE, and the USA.


It has several dialects that correspond in the main to the old tribal divisions; the most significant of these (in terms of numbers of speakers) are Great Polish (spoken in the northwest), Little Polish (spoken in the southeast), Mazovian (Mazur), and Silesian. Mazovian shares some features with Kashubian language, whose remaining speakers (estimates vary from 100,000 to over 200,000) live west of Gdansk near the Baltic Sea.

Small numbers of people also speak Belarusian, Ukrainian, and German as well as several varieties of Romany.


to do: sounds and phonology of Polish


Polish is often said to be one of the most difficult languages for non-native speakers to learn. It has a complex gender system with five genders: neuter, feminine and three masculine genders (personal, animate and inanimate). There are 7 cases and 2 numbers.

Nouns, adjectives and verbs are inflected, and both noun declension and verb conjugation are highly irregular. Every verb is either perfective or imperfective.

Verbs often come in pairs, one of them imperfective and the other perfective (usually imperfective verb with a prefix), but often there are many perfective verbs with different prefixes for single imperfective words.

Tenses are:

construction(for perfective verbs)(for imperfective verbs)example imperfectiveexample perfective
verb+suffixfuture simple tensepresent tenserobiciezrobicie
past participle+suffixpast perfect tensepast imperfect tenserobiliściezrobiliście
(this suffix can be moved)coście robilicoście zrobili

Movable suffix is usually attached to verb or to the most accented of sentence, like question preposition.

Sometimes alone suffix with prefix że- appears.

So what have you done ? can be:

All these forms are used without a subject -- "wy" ("you" in plural). Of course, it is possible to use the subject along, but it sounds well only in the first sentence (the other two are stronger, with the stress on the verb, so the subject is not so important): Past participle depends on number and gender, so 3rd person, singular past perfect tense can be:


to do: Polish vocabulary

Writing systems

The Polish alphabet ... letters are variously decorated with diacritics and it can be represented with the ISO 8859-2 character set:

a, ą, b, c, ć, d, e, ę, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ł, m, n, ń, o, , p, q, r, s, ś, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, ź, ż,
A, Ą, B, C, Ć, D, E, Ę, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ł, M, N, Ń, O, , P, Q, R, S, Ś, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, Ź, Ż

The letters q, v and x are used only in foreign words. It uses 9 special characters, and some character pairs to represent sounds not available in the Latin alphabet. Vowels are pronounced like in all European languages (and for that matter Japanese) other than English.

"a b d e f h k l m n o p s t u z" are pronounced as you'd expect them to be.

Special letters are: Special letter pairs are: See also: