Should Polish language course include dialects?
As with all languages, Polish has multiple dialects. They are spoken in different regions and are the effect of each region’s history. In the following article, we will teach you about Polish dialects.
Polish dialects: Silesian
This is the most specific dialect of the Polish language. Silesia has been a part of Germany for centuries. Poland lost it in 1384 and regained it in 1945. It inevitably led to significant German influence. The Silesian dialect uses many German words. And the Polish ones very often hardly resemble the “original” ones.
This dialect is so different from standard Polish that some people claim it is a separate language! Also – some Silesian people believe that they are completely another nation.
Some differences refer to Polish grammar. For example, standard Polish for “had” is “miał”, while Silesians say “mioł”.
Polish dialects: Greater Polish
Prior to World War II Greater Poland has been bordering with Germany. It was inhabited by a huge German minority. Also – during the partitions period (1795-1918) Polish population has been subject to Germanization policy. This resulted in another German-like dialect. However, this one is much closer to Polish.
Some differences include: “strych” (attic), whereas the standard Polish word is “poddasze”. Also “pyra” is Greater Polish for “potato”, while the universal word is “ziemniak”.
Pomerania and West Pomerania are the northern regions of Poland. They are located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Those places also have their own unique history. They have been independent until the 16th century. Pomeranians spoke their own languages, which were mostly suppressed by Germany. However, some of those languages survived and lived until Pomerania became Polish in 1945.
They are also very different from the Polish language. And, like the Silesian dialect, are sometimes considered a separate language. But what criterion is this distinction based on? Linguists decided that as long as two speakers are able to understand each other without any help of sign or foreign language, they are speaking one language. Let’s look at the example. While learning Polish you’ll be taught to say “oni obaj są” (they both are). But a Pomeranian speaker would say “vuôńi jiěsta”, which is incomprehensible for a Polish speaker.
But the Pomeranian dialects family include also a peculiar Kashubian dialect/language. It is common that its speakers adjust their dialect to standard Polish. And by this, they move closer to the criterion of mutual understandability.
Polish language course covers standard Polish. It is enough to communicate with all Poles. Even if they speak any of the listed dialects/languages, they still comprehend universal Polish. Remember that Polish people are impressed when a foreigner tries to speak their language. And they will be even more impressed if you know at least a few local words.