If you’re thinking about learning Polish it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Polish language facts:
Polish is a Slavic language originally derived from Old Polish. Polish emerged in the 10th century when the Polish state developed itself. Previously a spoken language only, Polish became a written language with the adoption of the Latin alphabet, brought by Christianity.
There are around 55 million Polish speakers across the world. Polish is an official language in Poland, and there are strong Polish-speaking communities in Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine. There are also large Polish communities living in Canada and the United States. In the UK, Polish has become the third most spoken language after English and Welsh. Polish is also the second most spoken Slavic language after Russian.
Many English words of Polish origin are related to Polish cuisine. Such loanwords include bigos (a Polish hunter’s stew), kielbasa (a spicy smoked sausage), paczki (a doughnut filled with jam), and pierogi (popular Eastern European filled dumplings).
With 54 letters, dziewięćsetdziewięćdziesięciodziewięcionarodowościowego is the longest Polish words. It roughly stands for “of nine-hundred and ninety-nine nationalities”.
As a West Slavic language, Polish is close to Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian languages. It also shares similarities with other Slavic languages such as Belorussian, Serbian, Russian and Ukrainian.