Dialects of the Polish language

Dialects of the Polish language

In Polish linguistic tradition there are seven general dialectal groups of the Polish language, each primarily associated with a certain geographical region[1]. The dialects (dialekt in Polish) are often further subdivided into subdialectal groups called gwara or region.

Early mediaeval tribes, from which the modern Polish dialects descended.

The Polish language became far more homogeneous in the second half of the 20th century, in part due to the mass migration of several million Polish citizens from the eastern to the western part of the country after the east was annexed by the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II.

The regional differences correspond mainly to old ethnic or tribal divisions from around a thousand years ago; the most significant of these in terms of numbers of speakers are Greater Polish (spoken in the west), Lesser Polish (spoken in the south and southeast), Mazovian (Mazur) spoken throughout the central and eastern parts of the country, and Silesian language in the southwest. Mazovian shares some features with the Kashubian language (see below).

Contents

Traditional division

Note that the following scheme, while often cited[2], is also considered outdated in some parts for the reasons stated above. Specifically most modern scholars agree that Kashubian is in fact a separate language[3]. While most Polish linguists regard Silesian as a dialect[4] [5], some also argue that it is rather a language[citation needed].

A map showing a different division of Polish dialects onto four branches: the Lesser Polish, Greater Polish, Mazovian and the New Mixed Dialects group. Silesian and Kashubian are treated as languages rather than dialects.

Greater Polish dialect

Descending from the Western Slavic language once spoken by the Polans

Mazovian dialect

Descending from the language of the Mazovians[6][7]

  • Białystock dialect (Polish: gwara białostocka)
  • Suwałki dialect (Polish: gwara suwalska)
  • Warmia dialect (Polish: gwara warmińska)
  • Kurpie dialect (Polish: gwara kurpiowska)
  • Masurian dialect (Polish: gwara mazurska)
  • Malbork-Lubawa dialect (Polish: gwara malborsko-lubawska)
  • Ostróda dialect (Polish: gwara ostródzka)
  • Near Mazovian dialect (Polish: gwara mazowsze bliższe)
  • Far Mazovian dialect (Polish: gwara mazowsze dalsze)

Lesser Polish dialect

Descending from the language of the Vistulans, is the most numerous dialectal group in modern Poland[8]. It includes the following sub-groups

Northern Kresy dialect

In modern times spoken mainly by the Polish minority in Lithuania and the Polish minority in Belarus [9][10],

  • Wilno dialect (Polish: gwara wileńska)

Southern Kresy dialect

often considered a descendant of a pidgin of the Polish language and Old Ruthenian language spoken in Red Ruthenia in the Middle Ages[9][11],

Independent dialects or languages

Two of the dialects are often considered to be independent languages:

Kashubian

Kashubian (Polish: język kaszubski, dialekt kaszubski), refers to the language spoken in the region of Eastern Pomerania, often by descendants of the ancient tribe of Pomeranians.

  • Slovincian dialect (Polish: gwara słowińska), which became extinct in early XX century, last speakers lived in the village of Kluki by the Łeba Lake.

Silesian

Silesian (Polish: język śląski, dialekt śląski), descending from the language of the Slavic tribe of Ślężanie[citation needed], in modern times spoken in the regions of Upper Silesia.

  • Cieszyn Silesian dialect (Polish: gwara cieszyńska), dialect of Cieszyn Silesia
  • Lach dialect (Polish: gwary laskie), surviving dialect is the Lach speech (Polish: gwary laskie), associated with the Czech language.
  • Niemodlin Silesian dialect
  • Gliwice Silesian dialect
  • Jabłonków Silesian dialect
  • Kluczbork Silesian dialect
  • Prudnik Silesian dialect
  • Opole Silesian dialect
  • Sulkovian Silesian dialect


Unrelated dialects

There is also a number of dialects unrelated to the traditional scheme descending from the ancient Western Slavic tribal groups inhabiting the territory of modern Poland. Among the most notable of them are the urban dialects of some of the larger cities where Polish is (or used to be) commonly spoken. Those include the Warsaw dialect, the Poznań dialect, the Łódź dialect and the Lwów dialect[11]. There are also several professional dialects preserved, of which the best known is grypsera, a language spoken by long-time prison convicts.

References

  1. ^ (Polish) Zofia Kurzowa (2007). Szpiczakowska Monika, Skarżyński Mirosław. ed. Z przeszłości i teraźniejszości języka polskiego. Kraków: Universitas. pp. 726. ISBN 97883-242-0691-9. 
  2. ^ (Polish) Jadwiga Wronicz (March-April 2007). "Pozycja dialektu wobec innych odmian polszczyzny". Język polski; Organ Towarzystwa Miłośników Języka Polskiego LXXXVII (2): 91–96. 
  3. ^ (Polish) Bronisław Jakubowski (1999). "Język czy dialekt?". Wiedza i Życie (4). http://archiwum.wiz.pl/1999/99044500.asp. 
  4. ^ (Polish) Aldona Skudrzykowa (2002). Jolanta Tambor. ed. Gwara Śląska - świadectwo kultury, narzędzie komunikacji. Katowice: Śla̜sk. ISBN 83-7164-314-4. 
  5. ^ (Polish) various authors (2000). Bogusław Wyderka. ed. Słownik gwar śląskich. I-IX. Opole: Państwowy Instytut Naukowy - Instytut Śląski. ISBN 8371261373. 
  6. ^ (Polish) Bronisław Wieczorkiewicz (1968). Gwara warszawska dawniej i dziś. Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy. pp. 516. 
  7. ^ Halina Karas, Gwary Polskie, Dialects and gwary in Poland
  8. ^ (Polish) Stanisław Urbańczyk, ed (1992). "Dialekt małopolski". Encyklopedia języka polskiego (II ed.). Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków: Ossolineum. pp. 60. http://artur.czesak.webpark.pl/Stronica/Dialmlp.html. 
  9. ^ a b (Polish) Zofia Kurzowa (2007). Szpiczakowska Monika, Skarżyński Mirosław. ed. Ze studiów nad polszczyzną kresową. Kraków: Universitas. pp. 518. ISBN 97883-242-0683-4. 
  10. ^ (Polish) Zofia Kurzowa (2006). Szpiczakowska Monika, Skarżyński Mirosław. ed. Język polski Wileńszczyzny i kresów północno-wschodnich. Kraków: Universitas. ISBN 83-242-0738-4. 
  11. ^ a b c (Polish) Zofia Kurzowa (2006). Szpiczakowska Monika, Skarżyński Mirosław. ed. Polszczyzna Lwowa i kresów południowo-wschodnich do 1939. Kraków: UNIVERSITAS. pp. 439. ISBN 83-242-0656-6. 

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