Interesting facts and myths about Polish language

1. Around the world, there are around… 50 million people who speak Polish! Of course, most of them live in Poland, but large Polish-speaking communities can also be found in USA, Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Argentina, Brasil and Belarus. However, don’t be surprised if you meet a Polish speaker in Denmark, Estonia, Serbia or… New Zeland. :)

2. Polish language belongs to the Slavic languages group, along with Russian, Ukrainian, Czech or Serbian. And although between Polish and the languages of our Eastern and Southern neighbors we can find a lot of similarities, sometimes we can come across the so-called "false friends", which are words that sound alike, but have completely different meanings. For example, Polish "frajer" (naive, easily deceivable man) has little to do with the Czech "frajer" (handsome guy/lover/boyfriend). :) Attention! False friends can be also found in non-Slavic languages, e.g. English "ordinary" sounds similar to Polish "ordynarny", which means "vulgar". :)

3. The first known full sentence in Polish comes from “Księga Henrykowska” from 1270 and relates to the description of daily life at that time. The husband says to his wife: "Daj, ać ja pobruszę, a ty poczywaj" (loosely translated: "Relax Honey, today I will do the dishes."). It is an undeniable proof that Polish feminism roots date back to the 13th century. :)

4. Poles love to use diminutive forms: kawusia z mleczkiem, herbatka z cytrynką, 2 kilo ziemniaczków, milusi koteczek… Attention! Important information for the beginning Polish language students: Polish names have many diminutive forms as well, for example Ola, Olunia, Olusia, Oleńka or Olka all stand for the same female name… Aleksandra. :)

5. Besides the ski jumping, football and using diminutive forms, another Polish national sport is word-formation. :) For example, from the verb “lecieć” (to fly) we can create “wylecieć”, “nalecieć”, “ulecieć”, “polecieć”, “przelecieć”, “przylecieć”, etc… and they all have different meanings! If you’ve already been to our slang workshop you probably know that word-formation is highly applicable in this area too.

6. The Polish alphabet (like most European alphabets) is based on the Roman alphabet and consists of 32 letters. 9 of them, however, you won’t find in any other alphabet... They are: ą, ć, ę, ł, ń ó, ś, ż, ż. And although it is these "rustling" letters that keep foreigners awake at night, Poles have clearly weakness for them. The ranking from 2010 for the most beautiful Polish word may serve as a proof of this. It was won by... "źdźbło" (blade of grass). Other words which were also taken into account were: "szept" (whisper), "brzdęk" (plunk) and ... "szeleścić" (to rustle). :)

7. In addition to the "rustling" letters, there is another torture device for foreigners - the "digraphs", i.e.: cz, ch, sz, rz, dz, dż and dź. Compiled in different combinations, they create tongue twisters such as "Chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie w Szczebrzeszynie". Don’t worry, even Poles have a problem to pronounce it correctly. :)

8. According to 3 major sources: the Internet, the public and American scientists, Polish is one of the most difficult languages in the world. However, the success of our students in learning Polish strongly contradicts this theory. Do you have any doubts? Feel invited to our courses!