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Do you know?
Polish is the sixth-most spoken language in the European Union.
Globally, over 50 million people speak Polish. In Poland, around 97% population (approximately 38 million) are native Polish speaker.
Polish is spoken as a second language in eastern Germany, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
The US, UK, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Israel have sizable Polish speaking community.
History of the Polish Language
Polish is a West Slavic language belonging to the Indo-European language family. The Polish language has its root in Proto-Slavic spoken by Slavic tribes. Members of these tribal groups migrated to the entire eastern, southern, and central Europe in large numbers. As a result, by 1000 CE, Proto-Slavic was divided into three groups: West Slavic, East Slavic, and South Slavic.
Polish, as a distinct language, began to emerge around the 10th century when the Poland state was established. Duke Mieszko unified different related tribes living in the basins of Vistula and Odra River to build the state of Poland.
Until this time, Polish was a spoken language without any script of its own. In 966, Mieszko accepted Christianity as the rightful religion, and along with Christianity, Poland also adopted the Latin alphabet.
The first written record of the Polish language dates back to 1136. It is a list of names issued by the archbishop of Gniezno. In the 13th century, quotations from the Latin prayers and sermons were translated into Polish to disseminate them among the local Polish community. Some non-religious texts and poems were also compiled in Polish later that century.
Initiatives to standardize the language were first taken in 1440. Around the same time, legal documents began to be written in Polish. From 1500 to 1700, Polish was the dominant language in Central Europe and parts of Eastern Europe. It was mainly because during that time, the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had influence over the entire region, politically and culturally.
The first Polish dictionary was compiled in 1807. Samuel Bogumil Linde published his six-volume work between 1807 and 1814.
Over the years, like any other living language, the Polish language has also gone through numerous changes. Grammatical rules became more relaxed, the language was simplified, and new loan words were introduced.
The influence of the Polish language began to decline toward the end of the 18th century. The survival of the language was threatened as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was divided three times. After World War I, Poland regained its sovereignty but was again invaded during World War II. The political turmoil impacted the language heavily, but still, the language thrived. Today, Poland remains an overwhelmingly monolingual country, with its 94.5% population speaking Polish as their first language.
Why learn Polish?
How to learn Polish?
Is it hard to learn Polish?
Learning Polish is not as hard as learning Mandarin or Arabic; but it can still be pretty challenging for English speakers.
What makes it challenging to learn Polish?
Polish words are loaded with consonant clusters. It can be tricky for an English speaker to master the pronunciation when the consonants are packed together. For example, consider the words like bezwzględny, burzynski, or sprzedawca. The tongue of an English speaker is not trained to pronounce such words, and Polish is full of them.
Like some West European languages, Polish assigns grammatical gender to the nouns. You need to learn the noun gender and agreement to speak Polish correctly.
The trickiest part of learning Polish is perhaps mastering the grammatical cases. It has seven grammatical cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Thus, you can conjugate a Polish word in 7 different ways. It needs a considerable amount of time and practice to understand and memorize the rules.