All About the Polish Language

This month we’re adding Polish to our ever-growing list of languages available as an interactive Living Language online course. Want to know more about  the Polish language? Read below. Want to get started now learning Polish? Just select “Polish” from the Languages menu above this post.

Polish is the official language of the Republic of Poland. Following the 2004 expansion of the European Union (EU), it has also become one of the official languages of the EU. It is spoken by more than 40 million people in Poland and neighboring countries (in particular, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, whose western regions formed part of the Polish state before World War II).

There are also numerous Polish-speaking communities in various European countries and the United States, most notably in Chicago and New York City. According to the Twenty-Second United States Census (2000), Polish is spoken at home by more than 650,000 Americans, which means that it ranks as the eleventh most-spoken language.

The linguistic situation in Poland is characterized by very little diversity. Most regional variants of Polish are so similar that even native speakers find them indistinguishable.

Here are a few phrases to get you started:

Dzień dobry! – (dzhin DOH-brih) – Good morning!/Good afternoon! (formal)
Jak się Pan/Pani nazywa? – (yak she pan/pan-ee na-zee-VA?) – What’s your name? (formal, to a man/to a woman)
Nazywam się … – (na-zee-VAM she…) – My name is…
Bardzo mi miło. – (bard-zo mee MEE-wo) – I’m glad (to meet you).
Dziękuję. – (DZHEN-koo-yeh) – Thank you.
Do zobaczenia. – (doh za-ba-CHEN-ya) – See you.
Do widzenia. – (doh vee-DZEN-ya) – Good-bye.

(Image of The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw by Lukas Varhol, via Wikimedia Commons)