The language of Poland. The official dialect is based on the usage and style of Poznan.

The polish language is highly inflected. In that respect, it is extremely similar to German and Latin. It is also like Latin in that it has no articles: You cannot say "the foo", only "foo". You can say "a foo" by saying "one foo", however.

All nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are inflected by both case and gender, to agree with the noun in the clause.

Polish is a Slavic language (Indo-European/Balto-Slavic/Slavic/West Slavic/Polish) spoken today mainly in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus. There are also many Polish-speakers who have immigrated/emigrated to the United States and Canada, making the world total of Polish speakers about 60 million (40 million in Poland + c. 20 million worldwide). Its closest relatives are Czech and Slovak, though due to different spelling conventions the languages look less related in print. Polish has a complicated case system, as well as palatalization (particularly in sibilants) and nasalization. The written record of Polish dates back to the 14th Century at least, and Polish, like many Slavic languages has enjoyed a rich literary history.

The alphabet has 32 letters, most of which are modified versions of a particular Latin letter. There are also a number of digraphs, resulting in a whopping 43 phonemic sounds, which is about the same as English, though most of the variation is on the consonants and not the vowels. Many of the distinctions are quite tough to English ears. Here is the alphabet of Polish, including the letter, its name, and its IPA value, according to the dialects of Cracow and Warsaw:

  • A a ... a ... /a/, like English 'father'
  • Ą ą ... ą ... /õ/, the nasalized /o/ (or /o/, before 'l' or 'ł')
  • B b ... be ... /b/
  • C c ... ce ... /ts/, like German 'z'
  • Ć ć ... ć ... /tȥ/, softer than the English 'ch' (/tš/), but more palatal than /ts/
  • D d ... de ... /d/
  • E e ... e ... /e/, like English 'hay', but without the offglide
  • Ę ę ... ę ... nasalized /e/, except before 'l' or 'ł', where is is simply /e/
  • F f ... ef ... /f/
  • G g ... gie ... /g/
  • H h ... ha ... /x/, like 'ch' in German 'acht'
  • I i ... i ... /i/, like English 'see' but without the offglide; it can also soften (palatalize) the preceding consonant (like the Russian soft sign) when before another vowel.
  • J j ... jot ... /j/, like the English 'y' in 'yes'
  • K k ... ka ... /k/
  • L l ... el ... /l/
  • Ł ł ... eł .../w/, but actually somewhere between 'w' in English and the velarized 'l' in 'all'; This is a very distinctively Polish sound
  • M m ... em ... /m/
  • N n ... en ... /n/
  • Ń ń ... eń ... /ɲ/, like the Spanish letter 'ñ'
  • O o ... o ... /o/
  • Ó ó ... o kreskowane ... /υ/, like English 'oo' in 'book'
  • P p ... pe ... /p/
  • R r ... er ... /r/
  • S s ... es ... /s/
  • Š š ... eš ... /ȥ/, softer than the 'sh'(š) in English 'sheep'
  • T t ... te ... /t/
  • U u ... u ... /u/
  • W w ... wu ... /v/
  • Y y ... igrek ... /I/, like the 'i' in English 'bit'
  • Z z ... zet ... /z/
  • Ź ź ... źet ... /ʑ/, like the 's' in 'pleasure' (ž), but softer, more palatalized.
  • Ż ż ... żet ... /ž/, like the 's' in 'pleasure'
Digraphs:
  • ch ... /x/
  • ci ... /tš/
  • cz ... /tš/
  • dz ... /dz/
  • dź ... /dʑ/, softer, more palatal than English 'j' in 'joke'
  • dż ... /dž/, like English 'j'
  • rz ... /ž/
  • si ... /š/, like English 'sh' in 'show'
  • sz ... /š/
  • szcz ... /štš/
  • zi ... /ž/

It should also be pointed out that 'q' 'v' and 'x' sometimes show up in loanwords, but 'qu' is usually transcribed as 'kw' and 'x' as 'ks'

Pol"ish (?), a. [From Pole a Polander.]

Of or pertaining to Poland or its inhabitants.

--

n.

The language of the Poles.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pol"ish (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Polished (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Polishing.] [F. polir, L. polire. Cf. Polite, -ish]

1.

To make smooth and glossy, usually by friction; to burnish; to overspread with luster; as, to polish glass, marble, metals, etc.

2.

Hence, to refine; to wear off the rudeness, coarseness, or rusticity of; to make elegant and polite; as, to polish life or manners.

Milton.

To polish off, to finish completely, as an adversary. [Slang]

W. H. Russell.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pol"ish, v. i.

To become smooth, as from friction; to receive a gloss; to take a smooth and glossy surface; as, steel polishes well.

Bacon.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pol"ish, n.

1.

A smooth, glossy surface, usually produced by friction; a gloss or luster.

Another prism of clearer glass and better polish. Sir I. Newton.

2.

Anything used to produce a gloss.

3.

Fig.: Refinement; elegance of manners.

This Roman polish and this smooth behavior. Addison.

 

© Webster 1913.

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