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              Basic Polish vocabulary with pronunciation and information about Poland
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Polish language introduction


Introduction to the Polish language

 

Polish language is a West Slavic language.
It belongs to the language family: Indo-European -> Balto-Slavic -> Slavic -> West Slavic -> Lechic
It is spoken by 50 million people.

 

The alphabet used is Latin, however there are few additional letters. They are based on Latin letters a, e, l, o, n, s, z, but they have some additional accents or so called "little tail" under the letter ą, ę, ł, ó, ń, ś, ż, ź. There are 6 oral vowels and 2 nasal. Almost all words have the second to last syllable stressed. Only in some Latin words it is the third to last syllable, but most of the people tend to pronounce it in the same pattern like all other Polish words.

 

Letters that do not appear in the Polish alphabet are: Q, V, X, pronounced respectfully ku, fau, iks

 

If you were wondering how to write Polish letters, probably you will be surprised to discover that in Poland people use standard American keyboard. However in Control panel you have to change the keyboard into "Polish programmer".
Go to Regional and language options --> languages --> details --> settings --> add --> Polish Programmers. So the keyboard is called Polish Programmer, if you choose just Polish it will write like on German keyboard, I think the letter Z will be replaced with Y and Y will be replaced with Z.

 

To write Polish letters use right Alt and the letter you want to change A, E, C, etc. to ą, ę, ć. In order to write Ź, you need to use right Alt and X. Capital letters with diacritics right Alt and Shift.

Polish language is in general homogeneous. Most of the population uses standard Polish pronunciation. However in certain regions you can come across local dialects. These are:

 

Podhale dialect - spoken in in the mountainous areas bordering the Czech and Slovak Republics. People who speak this dialect are called Gorals (in Polish: Góral, plural: Górale), meaning Highlanders. It sounds like a very misspronounced Polish language. They stress different syllables than in standard Polish pronunciation and they also use many regional words. For many people they sound funny, because certain words they pronounce as if they were foreigners trying to learn Polish and were unable to remember correct pronunciation. Well at least this is my opinion about this dialect. Personally I find it slightly difficult to understand. If they speak too quickly then I almost don't understand. I think a foreigner should never worry if they have probles with understanding Górals.

 

One of the most characteristic words used by Górals is ciupaga. If I hear this word I think immediately about Gorals. In English it is translated as a walking stick or sheperd's axe, but it is much more than this.They are made of long solid piece of mountain hardwood and they are beautifully decotated. The handle can also function as an axe.

logo - ciupaga goral

Goral with ciupagas

 

"Highlander Boy (Góral) - 18 inch Collectible Regional Doll"

It is a beautful small dool of a Góral boy.

 

"1939 Print Zakopane Huts Gorals Gorale Feast of Mountains Poland Polska Costume - Original Halftone Print"

White halftone print of various Gorales dressed in their native costume in Zakopane, Poland

"Polish Highlanders Hat"

 

 

 

 

Kashubian language (considered to be a separate language) - spoken near the Baltic Sea area
Silesian language - spoken in Silesia region

 

logo - goral

Góral from Podhale region

 


Górals' dance

 


Górals' music and dance

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