Over the years, ITC has developed a strong network of translators whose native language is Polish. These linguists have passed several rounds of tests and are evaluated regularly. In addition, ITC project managers have drawn up language guides to help translators follow the specific rules that apply to Polish.

55 million

people have Polish as their mother tongue

32 letters

make up the Polish alphabet

13 countries

have a Polish-speaking community of more than 50,000 people

History of the language: translation into Polish

In terms of origins and category, Polish is derived from the Indo-European family of languages and belongs to the West Slavic languages which evolved over millennia and finally separated from their roots. It is estimated that the Polish language is used by approximately 45 million people worldwide. The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and consists of 32 letters. Complex grammar and complicated phonetics make the Polish language one of the most difficult to master. It is full of exceptions and differences in pronunciation and spelling. However, the fundamental problem for foreigners learning the Polish language is its syntheticity—also known as declension —which indicates number, case and gender.

The formation of modern Polish was heavily influenced by other languages, mainly Czech, German, French, Italian and Latin. Currently, due to the prevailing fashion, Polish is infiltrated by numerous Anglicisms—both lexical and syntactic—which often displace native forms. Foreign vocabulary is also increasingly used in scientific publications.

On the national level, there are two varieties of Polish: standard and colloquial (including slang and everyday dialect). Further, standard Polish splits into spoken (free and spontaneous) and written language (planned and orderly). Like any other language, Polish can be formal (official, used in various governmental bodies and institutions) and colloquial (used in everyday life). In terms of colloquialisms, Polish abounds in many forms of slang (such as occupational, environmental and regional) and dialects. The most important dialects are those spoken in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), Małopolska (Lesser Poland) and Śląsk (Silesia).

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Specific features of the Polish language

In terms of languages, Polish is derived from the West Slavic group of languages which, over time, evolved into three dialectical groups: Czech-Slovak, Sorbian and Lekhian. The Lekhian tribes that formed in the ninth century had a significant impact on the formation of the Polish language. But it was only starting in the twelfth century that any definitive history of the Polish language can be traced because this was the time when the first sources of language appeared. The literate period of the Polish language is divided into three periods: Old Polish, Middle Polish and Modern Polish. The Old Polish period began in the twelfth century—it was then when Pope Innocent II sent his bull to Archbishop Jacob. Although written in Latin, the papal bull contains many Polish personal and local names. Polish words also appeared in such literary landmarks as Dagome Iudex, Thietmar Chronicles (Kronika Thietmara) and The Book of Henryk (Księga henrykowska). The first known texts written entirely in Polish appeared at the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The most popular are Bogurodzica (hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God), Swietokrzyskie Sermons (Kazania świętokrzyskie) Florian Psalter (Psałterz floriański) and the Bible of Queen Sophia (Biblia królowej Zofii).

The Middle Polish period began in the sixteenth century and lasted until the mid-eighteenth century. During this period, significant changes occurred in the vocabulary and grammar of the Polish language. This was also the period when the first printing houses were created and works related to grammar, spelling and vocabulary were published. It was also during this period that the giants of the era, poets Mikolaj Rej and Jan Kochanowski, created their works.

The Modern Polish period began in the second half of the eighteenth century and brought with it other notable changes. The most important phenomena of this period were the formation of a national Polish language, unification of grammar and spelling, compulsory schooling and numerous linguistic publications and periodicals. The Modern Polish period is still continuing as the language is constantly undergoing transformations.