Polish language

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

The Polish language (together with Czech-Slovak, Upper and Lower Sorbian, and other Lekhitic languages) belongs to the West Slavic branch of Slavic languages. 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, and Silesian. Mazovian shares some features with Kashubian, whose remaining speakers (fewer than 200,000) live west of Gdansk near the Baltic Sea. Elsewhere, Polish has been influenced by contact with foreign languages. In Silesia the inimitable regional patois contains a mixture of Polish and 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. Small numbers of people also speak Belarusian, Ukrainian, and German as well as several varieties of Romany.

Polish is often said to be one of the most difficult languages for non-native speakers to learn. It has a complex gender system: there are four genders: neutral, feminine and 2 masculine genders (person-masculine and item-masculine). There are 7 cases and 2 numbers. Nouns, Adjectives and Verbs are declined, and Noun declension is especially difficult and irregular.

Every verb is either perfect or imperfect. Verbs often come in pairs, one of them imperfect and the other perfect (usually imperfect verb with a prefix), but often there are many perfect verbs with different prefixes for single imperfect words.

Tenses are:

construction             (for perfect verbs)      (for imperfect verbs)     example imperfect    example perfect
verb+ic                infinitive              infinitive                 robic               zrobic
verb+suffix               future simple tense     present tense               robicie             zrobicie
past participium+suffix    past perfect tense     past imperfect tense        robiliscie          zrobiliscie
(this suffix can be moved)                                                    coscie robili       coscie zrobili

Movable suffix is usually attached to verb or to the most accented of sentence, like question preposition. Sometimes alone suffix with prefix ze- appears. So what have you done ? can be:

  • co zrobiliscie
  • coscie zrobili
  • co zescie zrobili

Past Participium depends on number and gender, so 3rd person, singular past perfect tense can be:

  • zrobil (zrobił in Polish transcription)
  • zrobila (zrobiła)
  • zrobilo (zrobiło)

See also:


/Talk