Pomeranian language


Pomeranian language

:"For the Low German dialects also called Pomeranian, see Pommersch."

Pomeranian is a group of Lechitic dialects which were spoken in the Middle Ages on the territory of Pomerania. They are most closely related to Polabian dialects, which they bordered in the west, and to Polish dialects, which they bordered in the south.

Following the Germanization of Pomerania due to its incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire and the influx of new German and other Germanic-speaking settlers in the Late Middle Ages (Ostsiedlung), the population switched to varieties of the Low German language (Pommersch) and most of the Slavic Pomeranian dialects became extinct. The only living descendant of Pomeranian is the Kashubian language spoken in Eastern Pomerania (the Pomeranian Voivodeship), so these two names can now be treated as synonyms. Another variety of Pomeranian, Slovincian, became extinct in the beginning of the 20th century.

Other Slavic dialects used by indigenous groups in Pomerania include the Kociewiacy, Borowiacy, and the Krajniacy. Their dialects, however, belong to the Polish language, but have a transitional character and share some common features with Pomeranian. Friedrich Lorentz assumes that at least the dialects of the Kociewiacy and Borowiacy were originally Pomeranian, but became Polonized due to Polish colonization of their territories. On the other hand, the dialect of the Krajniacy, according to Lorentz, was probably originally Polish.

The Pomeranian language, and its only surviving form, Kashubian, traditionally have not been recognized by the majority of Polish linguists and have been treated in Poland as "the most distinct dialect of Polish". Some Polish linguists ridiculed the attempts to create a standardized form of Kashubian/Pomeranian, and tried to discredit those Kashubian authors who worked on it. However, there have also been some Polish linguists who treated Pomeranian as a separate language. The most prominent of them was Stefan Ramułt, author of a Pomeranian-Polish dictionary from the late 19th century, and Alfred Majewicz who overtly called Kashubian a language in the 1980s.

Following the collapse of Communism in Poland, the attitude in Poland towards the status of Kashubian has been gradually changing. It is increasingly seen as a full-fledged language, as it is taught in state schools and has some limited usage on public radio and television. A bill passed by the Polish parliament in 2005 recognizes Kashubian as the only regional language in the Republic of Poland and provides for its use in official contexts in ten communes where Kashubian speakers constitute at least 20 percent of the population.

References

* Friedhelm Hinze, "Wörterbuch und Lautlehre der deutschen Lehnwörter im Pomoranischen (Kaschubischen)", Berlin 1965
* Friedrich Lorentz, "Geschichte der Pomoranischen (Kaschubischen) Sprache", Berlin and Leipzig, 1925
* Friedrich Lorentz, "Pomoranisches Wörterbuch", Band I-V, Berlin 1958-1983
* Stefan Ramułt, "Słownik języka pomorskiego, czyli kaszubskiego", Kraków, 1893

See also

* East Pomeranian
* Kashubian-Pomeranian Association


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