Dialects of Polish

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Dialects of Polish

The oldest printed text in Polish – Statuta synodalia Episcoporum Wratislaviensis printed in 1475 in Wrocław by Kasper Elyan.

The Polish alphabet contains 32 letters. Q, V and X are not used in the Polish language.
The Polish language became far more homogeneous in the second half of the 20th century, in part due to the mass migration of several million Polish citizens from the eastern to the western part of the country after the Soviet annexation of the Kresy in 1939, and the annexation of former German territory after World War II. This tendency toward a homogeneity also stems from the vertically integrated nature of the Polish People’s Republic.[citation needed]

The inhabitants of different regions of Poland still speak “standard” Polish somewhat differently, although the differences between regional dialects appear slight. First-language speakers of Polish have no trouble understanding each other, and non-native speakers may have difficulty distinguishing regional variations.

Polish is normally described as consisting of four or five main dialects:

Greater Polish, spoken in the west
Lesser Polish, spoken in the south and southeast
Masovian, spoken throughout the central and eastern parts of the country
Silesian, spoken in the southwest (also considered a separate language, see comment below)
Kashubian, spoken in Pomerania west of Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea, is often considered a fifth dialect. It contains a number of features not found elsewhere in Poland, e.g. nine distinct oral vowels (vs. the five of standard Polish) and (in the northern dialects) phonemic word stress, an archaic feature preserved from Common Slavic times and not found anywhere else among the West Slavic languages. However, it “lacks most of the linguistic and social determinants of language-hood”.[19]

Many linguistic sources about the Slavic languages describe Silesian as a dialect of Polish.[20][21] However, many Silesians consider themselves a separate ethnicity and have been advocating for the recognition of a Silesian language. According to the last official census in Poland in 2011, over half a million people declared Silesian as their native language. Many sociolinguistic sources (e.g. by Tomasz Kamusella,[22] Agnieszka Pianka, Alfred F. Majewicz,[23] Tomasz Wicherkiewicz)[24] assume that extralinguistic criteria decide whether something is a language or a dialect of the language: users of speech or/and political decisions, and this is dynamic (i.e. change over time). Also, language organizations like as SIL International[25] and resources for the academic field of linguistics like as Ethnologue,[26] Linguist List[27] and other, for example Ministry of Administration and Digitization[28] recognized Silesian language. In July 2007, the Silesian language was recognized by an ISO, and was attributed an ISO code of szl.

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