Languages of Poland

Languages of Poland
RegionalKashubian (108,000); German (96,000); Belarusian (26,000); Hungarian (1,000); Ruthenian (6,000); Lithuanian (5,000); Slovak (1,000); Czech (1,000);
Dispersed: Romani (14,000); Armenian (2,000)
ImmigrantRussian (20,000), Ukrainian (25,000), Vietnamese (3,000), Greek (2,000), Chinese (1,000), Bulgarian (1,000), Turkish (1,000), Hindi (1,000) and others[1]
ForeignEnglish (33%)[2]
Russian (26%)
German (19%)
SignedPolish Sign Language
Sourceebs_243_en.pdf (europa.eu)

Polish Language - Polish is a language in the Polish republic and is the main language spoken in Poland[3]. These include both the languages of the country's indigenous population and the languages of immigrants and their descendants. The only official language of Poland, according to the Constitution, is Polish. The overwhelming majority of the country's population speaks it as a native language or as the language of home communication.[4]

The deaf communities use Polish Sign Language belonging to the German family of Sign Languages.

The variety of languages spoken by the Polish people and ethnic groups(excluding Polish), that have lived in the region for at least 100 years are legally recognized as regional and minority languages, which have appropriate rules of use.[5][6] In territory administrated areas, where the number of minority language speakers or regional language speakers is 20% or greater, the languages can have the status of an auxiliary language for the people, while Polish is the official language.[7]

According to the Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages,[8] 16 other languages have officially recognized status of minority languages: 1 regional language, 10 languages of 9 national minorities (the minorities that have their own independent state elsewhere) and 5 languages of 4 ethnic minorities (spoken by the members of minorities not having a separate state elsewhere). Jewish and Romani minorities have 2 recognized minority languages each.

The following languages are spoken in Poland as well:

Languages used in household contacts

Population by type and number of languages used in household contacts in 2011.[9]

Languages having the status of national minority's language

Languages having the status of ethnic minority's language

The official recognition gives to the representatives of the minority certain rights (under certain conditions prescribed by the laws): of education in their language, of having the language established as the secondary administrative language or help language in their municipalities, of financial support of the state to the promotion of their language and culture etc.

Languages having the status of regional language

Languages having auxiliary language status in certain communes

The bilingual status of gminas (municipalities) in Poland is regulated by the Act of 6 January 2005 on National and Ethnic Minorities and on the Regional Languages, which permits certain gminas with significant linguistic minorities to introduce a second, auxiliary language to be used in official contexts alongside Polish. So far 44 gminas have done this:[11] The number in brackets refers to the number of gminas the language holds this status.

Languages exercising bilingual settlement naming rights in certain communes

Officially any officially recognised or regional or minority language can be applied by a settlement to have this right however only 5 of the language communities have exercised this power. Number of settlements with dual language naming rights in brackets.

Languages of new diasporas and immigrant communities

These languages are not recognised as minority languages, as the Act of 2005 defines minority as "a group of Polish citizens (...) striving to preserve its language, culture or tradition, (...) whose ancestors have been living on the present territory of the Republic of Poland for at least 100 years":

  • Greek - language of the big Greek diaspora in Poland of 1950's.
  • Vietnamese - the biggest immigrant community in Poland, since 1960's, having their own newspapers, schools, churches etc.

Unrecognised regional languages

  • Silesian - there is dispute whether the language is one of the four major dialects of Polish,[12][13][14][15] while others classify it as a separate language, distinct from Polish.[16][17][18][19][20] Ethnologue distinguishes Silesian language from Upper Silesian dialect of Polish language. There efforts by some Silesian groups advocating legal recognition to be granted (similar or the same to that of Kashubian) and the topic is considered a political issue.
  • Wymysorys - is an endangered language with very few speakers, native to Wilamowice, but contrary to Karaim language having a similar situation, it was practically unknown of in the time of preparation of the forementioned Act.

Dead and artificial languages

Among languages used in Poland, Ethnologue.[21] mentions:

but does not mention two other known defunct languages:

See also


  1. ^ Nowak, Lucyna, ed. (2013). Ludność. Stan i struktura demograficzno-społeczna. Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011 (PDF). Główny Urząd Statystyczny. ISBN 978-83-7027-521-1. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  2. ^ "SPECIAL EUROBAROMETER 386 Europeans and their Languages" (PDF). ec.europa.eu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-06.
  3. ^ http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/rosyjski/kon1.htm
  4. ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20050170141
  5. ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20050170141
  6. ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20050170141
  7. ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20050170141
  8. ^ "Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages" (PDF) – via GUGiK.gov.pl.
  9. ^ Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski, p. 70, p. 173
  10. ^ According to Ethnologue the following Romani languages are spoken in Poland: Romani Vlax, Romani Carpathian, Romani Sinte, Baltic Romani. See: Ethnologue. Languages of the World, Ethnologue report for Poland
  11. ^ "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  12. ^ Gwara Śląska – świadectwo kultury, narzędzie komunikacji. Jolanta Tambor (eds.); Aldona Skudrzykowa. Katowice: „Śląsk". 2002. ISBN 83-7164-314-4. OCLC 830518005.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ „Słownik gwar Śląskich". Opole, Bogusław Wyderka (eds.)
  14. ^ „Dialekt śląski" author: Feliks Pluta, publication: Wczoraj, Dzisiaj, Jutro. – 1996, no 1/4, pp 5–19
  15. ^ „Fenomen śląskiej gwary" author: Jan Miodek publication: Śląsk. – 1996, no 5, pp 52
  16. ^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History, Oxford 1996 pp 1233
  17. ^ Wikipedia:SDU/Kategoria:Śląska Wikipedia (2008) {Discussion on the inclusion of Silesian-language articles in the Polish Wikipedia. Main Opinion: Not, because Silesian is a separate language in its own right}
  18. ^ Ekspertyza naukowa dra Tomasza Wicherkiewicza
  19. ^ Ekspertyza naukowa dra Tomasza Kamuselli
  20. ^ Jolanta Tambor. Opinia merytoryczna na temat poselskiego projektu ustawy o zmianie Ustawy o mniejszościach narodowych i etnicznych oraz o języku regionalnym, a także niektórych innych ustaw, Warszawa 3 maja 2011 r.
  21. ^ Ethnologue. Languages of the World, Ethnologue report for Poland

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