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Polish language facts for kids

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język polski
Native to Poland ; bordering regions of Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic; along the Belarusian–Lithuanian and Belarusian–Latvian border; Germany, Romania, Israel. See also Polish diaspora.
Native speakers 40 million  (2007)Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
Language family
Early forms:
Old Polish
  • Middle Polish
    • Polish
Writing system Latin (Polish alphabet)
Polish Braille
Official status
Official language in  Poland
 European Union
Recognised minority language in  Ukraine
 Czech Republic
Regulated by Polish Language Council
Linguasphere 53-AAA-cc < 53-AAA-b...-d

Polish (język polski, polszczyzna) is the official language of Poland. It is the most common Western Slavic language and the second Slavic language, after Russian.

Polish has been an important language in Central and Eastern Europe. Polish is now spoken by over 38.5 million people as their first language in Poland. It is also spoken as a second language in western parts of Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine. Because of emigration from Poland during different times, millions of Polish-speakers can be found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere. There are over 50 million speakers around the world.


There are 9 letters in Polish that English does not have. They look like English letters with marks above or below them.

In lower case, the 9 letters are: ą ć ę ł ń ś ó ź ż

In upper case, the 9 letters are: Ą Ć Ę Ł Ń Ś Ó Ź Ż

There are 3 English letters not used in Polish: q, v, x.

There are 7 combinations of 2 letters that are like a single letter sound (similar to "th" or "qu" in English). These include "ch", "cz", "dz", "dź", "dż", "rz", "sz".


Many letters have the same sound in Polish and English, such as "f" "m", and others, but other letters sound different: Polish "w" sounds like an English "v", and Polish "ł" sounds like an English "w". There are also some Polish sounds that do not exist in English and some English sounds that do not exist in Polish.

The vowels "ą" and "ę" are nasal and so they are pronounced by blowing air partly out of both the nose and the mouth.

Most words are pronounced with an accent on the second-last syllable: "student" (which means the same as the English word) is pronounced with the accent on "stu" ("STU-dent"), and "studenci" (the plural form of "student") is pronounced with the accent on "den" (stu-DEN-ci).


The Polish language has several dialects but they are more similar to one another than most other European languages. There are small differences, but all speakers can understand one another, and non-native speakers often cannot notice the differences.


Grammar is complex, and has features that are unlike English.

Like many other languages, Polish has grammatical gender. A table (stół) is masculine, a book (książka) is feminine, and a window (okno) is neuter.

Nouns and adjectives and verbs have many endings, depending on their role in a sentence. There are 7 cases that show the role of a noun in a Polish sentence. Each has its own ending, which also depends on the gender of the noun.

Word order is freer than in English, partly because endings help to understand the role of the noun. In English, "The boy bites the dog" is quite different from "The dog bites the boy", but in Polish, both orders can be used without confusion.

Sample Phrases

Dzień dobry (Dz'yehn DOH-brih) - Good morning or Good afternoon

Dobry wieczór (DOH-brih v-YETCH-oor) - Good evening'

Do widzenia (doh vee-DZEN-yah) - Good bye

Cześć! (tsheshch) - Hi, Hello! or Bye

Tak (tahk) - Yes (in Polish, long-short answers like Yes, I did are not needed, and Tak is enough)

Nie (nyeh) - No or Not (in Polish, long-short answers like No, I won't are not needed, and Nie is enough)

Jak się masz? (yahk shyeh mahsh) - How do you do?

Co robisz? (tsoh robish) - What you doing?

Jak się nazywasz? (YAHK shyeh nahZYvash) or Jak masz na imię? (YAHK mahsh nah EE-myeng/EE-myeh) - What's your name?

Nazywam się... (nah-ZIH-vahm shyeh) - My (name and) surname is...

Mam na imię... (mahm nah EE-myeng/EE-myeh) - My (given) name is...

Nie mówię po polsku (nyeh MOW-vyeng/MOW-vyeh poh POL-skoo) - I do not speak Polish

Lubię Cię (loo-bee-EH chyeh) - I like you

Kocham Cię (koh-hahm chyeh) - I love you

Nie mówię po angielsku (nyeh MOW-vyeng/MOW-vyeh poh ahng-YEL-skoo) - I do not speak English

Jak dojechać na lotnisko/dworzec (yak do-YEH-khatch nah lot-NEE-sco/dvo-ZHETS) - How to get the airport/rail station?
(where dworzec - station means rail station by default)

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Idioma polaco para niños

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