The Polish Language
The Polish language may sound very similar to other Slavic languages, but it isn’t one itself—at least, not entirely. Polish did originate from the Slavic branch of languages, but as time passed, it developed its distinct grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. In fact, according to Poland’s government website, Polish shares less than 80 percent of its linguistic roots with the other two main Slavic languages—Russian and Ukrainian—and that’s why it’s considered its independent branch of the Slavic language family tree.
Poland and Languages
Despite being surrounded by Slavic languages (including Ukrainian, Czech, Slovakian and Russian), many linguists claim that Polish is not a member of that language family. That doesn’t mean it isn’t related to other Eastern European languages—Polish is said to have been influenced by neighboring tongues—but rather that it exists as its unique language.
What makes a language Slavic?
If you want to learn more about what makes Polish so distinctly Slavic, it helps to look at its roots. Although many historical records have been lost, linguists have deduced that modern-day Western and Eastern Slavic languages are descended from one root language: Proto-Slavic.
They believe that Proto-Slavic is a descendant of Proto-Indo-European—the mother tongue of all Indo-European languages. The earliest known writings in any Slavic language are around 500 AD; they were found on stone tablets in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Old Slavonic words came to Russia from the Balkans with the first books as early as the 10th century, together with writing.
Are the Poles Slavs?
Though the Poles are ethnically related to the other East and West Slavic people of Europe, the language they speak is not one of those. Many linguists consider the polish language more closely related to Finno-Ugric or even Indo-European languages. However, it has been influenced by several of its neighbors, including the Russian language, Germany, and Lithuanian.
It is thought that over time the polish people borrowed elements from their neighbors. Because of these influences, many scholars classify polish as a member of an Eastern European branch of Indo-European languages rather than Slavic. Some scholars refer to it as Lechitic instead.
Interesting Polish Language Facts
Polish is a Slavic Language
Polish is a Slavic language spoken in Poland and the other parts of Eastern Europe. It belongs to the group of West Slavic languages, which are closely related to Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Belarusian, Latvian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Rusyn, Romany, etc. Polish is also part of the more prominent Slavic language family.
There are around 55 million Polish speakers across the world.
The number of Poles in Poland itself is estimated at 4.5 million, which makes it one of the largest minority groups in Europe. Poland has 38.9 million people and is the 14th most populous country in the EU. Polish is the official language of Poland and the only official language used for public administration purposes. Polish is written using the Latin alphabet.
The Polish language has no gender.
There are only two genders in Polish: masculine and feminine. There is no third gender. In Polish, there is no distinction between singular and plural. A noun can either take a singular form or a plural form, depending on its use. For example, if I say ‘I am going to buy milk,’ it would be grammatically correct to use the singular form ‘mam płaczeć butyric.’ But if I wanted to talk about multiple milk items, I could use the plural form ‘mam tebutryki.’
The longest Polish word contains 54 letters.
Dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego is the longest Polish word. It roughly stands for “of nine-hundred and ninety-nine nationalities.” It is a very long word, and it can be spelled in many different ways. It has been written on the walls of a house in the village of Kowalewo (in Poland) for over 100 years now.
Polish is close to Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian languages.
It has a lot of similarities with the Germanic languages, as well as Hungarian and Slovenian. The Polish language is closely related to other Slavic languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Czech, Slovak, etc.
Polish was once considered to be a dialect of Czech.
In the past, Polish was considered a dialect or regional variety of Czech. This view was based on the similarity of both languages. Both have similar grammar and vocabulary. They share words like ‘panna’ (woman), ‘kobieta’ (girl), ‘czas’ (time), ‘niedziele’ (holidays), ‘wieje’ (rainy days), ‘ludzi’ (people), ‘przedmieścia’ (neighborhood), ‘pójazdy’ (transportation). However, this is no longer true today. The Polish language has evolved significantly since the Middle Ages. Nowadays, Polish is considered to be a separate language.
Both Slavic and Baltic share with the eastern Indo-European languages
Both Slavic and Baltic share with the eastern Indo-European languages – as well as with Iranian, Turkish, and Mongolic – a common root of *-s. The word for “to be” in many modern Slavic languages is derived from this root: *běć (cf. English “be”). The word for “man” in some Slavic languages is derived directly from this root: *mětъ (cf. English “mate”, Russian “моять”, Ukrainian “менятий”, Belarusian “мачысь”, Macedonian “медведи”, Serbo-Croatian “medvedi”, Slovene “medvedi”, etc.). Unlike in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, each letter represents only one sound!
Many English language words of Polish origin are related to Polish cuisine.
The following is a list of some common English words with their Polish etymological origins:
- bacz (baksh) – cabbage, bok choy
- brudna (brudne) – cold
- czerniak (czerniaka) – carrot
- dzik (dzik) – wild
- gula (gulke) – sugar
- kapusta (kapusza) – apple
- miod (miody) – onion
- jaja (jaże) – jelly
- krew (krwa) – blood
- łosia (losia) – garlic
- malina (malyna) – snow
- miasteczek (miasta) – little town
- niemowlątka (niemowlątka) – baby seal
Why is Polish so different from other Slavic languages?
When you learn any other Slavic language, you’ll find out they’re all pretty much alike. You will hear the same sounds, and you will see the same patterns in every single one of them. And yet, Polish is unique. Why is that? There are several reasons why Polish is different from all of the others. Let’s start by looking at its history.
When did Polish develop?
The earliest known records of Polish come from around the 8th century. These were found in a monastery near what is now called Gniezno, Poland. Today, this area is part of modern-day Poland. This means that the Polish language developed before most Slavic countries. The oldest recorded use of the Polish language was used in an official document dating back to 966 AD.
This makes sense because Poland was initially ruled by Germans. So, it would make sense if the people who lived under German rule spoke a German-based language. However, after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the Poles began speaking Polish instead of German.
So, how do we know that these early documents are written in Polish? Well, the reason is simple. The letters look very similar to the Latin alphabet. So, even though they’re written in a different language, they still look very similar to us. But wait, isn’t Latin also a derivative of another language? Yes, it is. That language is Greek.
What Language Is The Closest To Polish?
The following is a list of the most common languages spoken in Poland. If you are looking for a language to learn, we recommend checking out our article on the best foreign languages to learn.
Polish is one of those rare languages influenced by two different cultures. It has both German and Slavic influences. The Slavs were known to other peoples as the residents of the broad lands between the Dnieper and Vistula rivers until the middle of the 1st millennium CE.
Polish is not only the native language of Poland but also the official language of over 30 other countries. The following is a list of those countries:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
How Similar Is Polish To Other West Slavic Languages?
The West Slavic languages are a group of closely related Indo-European languages spoken in the western part of Europe. The most widely known member of this family is Czech, which has around 10 million native speakers and is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Other members include Slovakian, Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, and Ukrainian. These languages have their roots in Old Church Slavonic, which is the original version of the Slavic language.
Because of the close relationship between these languages, many linguists believe that Polish is more like a dialect of Czech than it is a separate language. For example, there are words in Polish almost identical to the ones in Czech.
For instance, the word “kto” (who) comes from the word “którzy” (those). Another example is the word “słowo” (word), which comes from “slovo” (a word). There are also some differences between Polish and the other West Slavic languages. One of them is how Polish uses the letter ‘c’ when it’s at the end of a word. For example, the word “pana” (his/her name) becomes “pan.”
Another difference is that Polish doesn’t use the letter ‘j.’ Instead, it uses the letter ‘i’ or ‘y’. For example, the word for “the dog” is “ciężko,” while the word for “the cat” is “ciuch.” Another interesting fact about Polish is that it uses the same alphabet as Czech. You can read books in Polish if you already speak Czech.
Which Slavic Language Has More Words In Common With English Than Any Other?
When it comes to the number of words shared with English, the winner is undoubtedly Polish. According to Wikipedia, there are 2,906 words in common between Polish and English. These words come from all areas of life, including sports, science, technology, politics, finance, medicine, law, religion, education, food, music, art, literature, etc.
Similarities between Russian and Polish language
The similarities between the Russian and Polish languages are many. Both belong to the Slavic family of languages, but they have been influenced by different cultures: the Poles, Germanic and Baltic tribes. In contrast, Russians were mainly influenced by Finno-Ugric peoples. East Slavic is generally thought to converge to one Old East Slavic language, which existed until the 12th century.
Both languages are written using the Cyrillic script, although the letters look pretty different. For example, the letter ‘й’ seems pretty similar to the letter ‘ё,’ while the letter ‘я’ resembles the letter ‘а.’
Both languages use the Latin alphabet, although the order of the letters differs. For example, the Polish alphabet contains the letter ‘e,’ while the Russian alphabet does not contain any such letter. However, both languages use the letter ‘z’ instead of ‘j.’
Several grammatical features are found only in Polish and Russian. For example, the verb form in Polish ends with “-am” or “-im,” while the verb form in Russian ends with “-есть.” The noun form in Polish ends with-a, while the noun form in Russian ends with -и.
Some words are used in Polish and Russian but mean something completely different. For example, “dziecko” means “child” in Polish, while it means “baby” in Russian. Similarly, “wieczór” means “time” in Polish, while in Russia, it means “evening.” Unlike Czech or Slovak, Polish does not retain phonemic vowel length — the letter.
Difference between Russian and Polish language
The difference between the two languages, Polish and Russian, is a matter of linguistic history. The differences are primarily due to different histories in the development of these languages. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Slavic tribes settled on the territory of modern Poland. They adopted the Polish language, which was spoken in ancient Pomerania. At this time, the language was called Old Polish. It became known as Proto-Slavonic after the Slavic tribes moved further east, settling on the territory of modern Belarus and Ukraine. Later, when the Slavs migrated westward again, they brought their language. This language developed into what we know today as Russian.
Origins of Polish and Russian languages
The origins of the modern Polish language lie in the West Slavic dialects spoken by early medieval Poland. The earliest written records of these dialects date to the 10th century, when they were used as liturgical texts for the Christian Church. These dialects evolved from the Common Slavic language (the ancestor of all modern Slavic languages), spoken since the 6th century.
In the 9th century, the first Polish state arose in the lands of present-day Poland and Lithuania. Its ruler, Mieszko I Tanglefoot, established his capital at Gniezno, where he built a church dedicated to Saint Stanislaus. The name of the country came from its capital city: Wielkopolska (“Greater Poland”).
During the 11th and 12th centuries, the Kingdom of Poland expanded significantly, absorbing territories previously held by other German states. In the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights conquered most of the remaining pagan areas of Poland and converted them to Christianity. Several smaller Polish principalities emerged during this period, including the Piast dynasty’s domains.
During the 14th century, the Kingdom of Poland was divided among various noble families. The Jagiellon dynasty ruled over most of the land until 1572 when King Sigismund II Augustus united the Crown of Poland under one rule. However, the nobility continued to fight each other to control the kingdom. Eventually, the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania emerged as an independent nation in 1569.
After the Union of Lublin in 1569, the Polish language gradually replaced Latin as the official language of the state, although many people still spoke and wrote in Latin. During the 17th century, the Polish language began to spread beyond the borders of the Commonwealth; the first Polish-language newspapers appeared in 1611. By the end of the 18th century, the Polish-speaking population of Europe numbered about 30 million.
After World War I, Poland regained independence in 1918. The Second Polish Republic existed until 1939 when it was invaded by Nazi Germany. After the war, Poland was occupied by Soviet Russia. In 1945, the communist regime that controlled Poland declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of Poland.
Polish culture flourished during the 20th century, especially in literature, art, science, music, theater, film, architecture, education, and sports in late 1980.
The Slavic language family includes Polish. It’s connected to Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, and Belarusian languages. In fact, behind Russian, Polish is the second most frequently spoken Slavic language. Over 40 million people speak Polish throughout the world.
The Polish language is part of the Slavic language family, Europe’s third-biggest language family after Romance and Germanic languages. These language groups are descended from proto-Indo-European, and they’ve splintered over time.
Polish borrows a lot of terminology and loanwords from German. There are several German communities in Poland, which shares its whole western border with Germany. So, between Poland and Russia, Polish comes closest to English.