If you were asked which language is the most difficult in the world you would probably guess Chinese, Japanese, or maybe Arabic? Some people will even try to add Hungarian to the list too.
Would you ever assume that Polish is classified as one of the most difficult languages in the world? Individuals with Polish friends or has ever visited this central European country are probably already nodding their heads in agreement with this ranking. For those who think that Polish is an alien language, let me introduce you to some fun facts about it:
1. There are 32 letters in the alphabet. How many?!
Yes, you read correctly, there are it is 32 letters. The additional letters include extra dots and strokes, called diacritical marks: ą, ć, ę, ł, ń ó, ś, ż, ż. Interesting right?! Most foreigners studying Polish will surely have a headache or two. The Poles, on the other hand have a small crush for weird letters and weird sounds. The word that has been acclaimed as the most beautiful one in 2020 is źdźbło (blade of grass). As you see, to make it even more fun, Poles tend to create clusters, like sz, cz, or dż, which give Polish the characteristic buzzing sound.
2. How many people speak Polish?
The number is as high as over 50 million of Polish speakers around the world! However, only 40 million actually live in Poland. There are still huge Polish communities living in the US (especially Chicago), but also Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the UK, among others. Due to migration to the UK in the last 20 years, Polish has become the second most widely spoken language.
3. Let’s have some fun – tongue twisters’ time!
So, you already know that we are dealing with 32 letters of the alphabet. Now, would you like to try to pronounce a Polish sentence on an ultra-difficult lever? Let’s go for it!
W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie i Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie.
/In Szczebrzeszyn a beetle buzzes in the reed, for which Szczebrzeszyn is famous./
Piece of cake, right? 😊
4. Can Polish help me with studying other languages?
Polish is a Western Slavic language, so it may get easier for you to study Czech and Slovak, for example. It will also help you better understand the more distant group of languages such as Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, Slovene, Serbian and Ukrainian.
When learning any of these simultaneously, keep an eye on ‘false friends’ as there are plenty! The Czech "frajer" (handsome guy/boyfriend) in Polish means a very naïve person and has a very pejorative connotation.
5. Poles, big fans of not so obvious diminutive forms
Just like Portuguese with their cafezinho or beijinho, Polish people are very creative when it comes to creating diminutives. Each word has at least one variant, sometimes it can even go up to 5! What really surprises foreigners is the fact that some diminutives sound very different from their regular form, for example, the diminutive of Aleksandra is Ola, or Jakub – Kuba.
Well, now that you know the most important facts about the Polish language, you are now ready to start learning. Please remember that whenever you need to translate any document into Polish, you can always count on our experts!
Should you require the help of a Polish professional linguist, please do not hesitate to contact Starska Translations!
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