Today is International Mother Language Day. Polish is a first language to over 40 million people all over the world. It’s of course the official language of Poland and European Union, but also has a status of minority language in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine.
However, if you think that everyone in Poland speaks the same standard Polish language you learn from books - you are wrong. We have five major dialects, from which two aspire to be called a languages.
Orange: Lesser Poland dialect
Violet: Greater Poland dialect
Green: Masovian dialect
Brown: Silesian language
Red: Kashubian language
Between Lesser Poland, Greater Poland and Masovia differences are mostly in vocabulary and pronunciation of certain words.
The story is quite different with Silesian and Kashubian languages. They use a slightly different writing system, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation and aren’t too easy to understand by the rest of the country.
Have a look:
This is “Our Father” prayer - the only text I could easily find in all three languages. Click to enlarge the picture - you can easily see a difference between those languages.
Those two languages gained special privileges in Poland - there are schools in which they are spoken (I know about schools with Kashubian language) and in both of them you can write our high school leaving exam - matura.
It’s only a short rant about different languages and dialects in Poland, I want to write more about in the future :)