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The Future of Polish Language


Semsem 16 | 26
31 Oct 2010 #1
Pretty sure I've seen this brought up before, and not sure if it should be in "General Language" or "Society and Culture", but whatever.

I've been seeing a lot on the news (TV, internet, newspapers, etc.) that talk on how the English language is becoming more and more simplified (I'm not even going to compare it to how it was before the Norman Invasion of 1066). And, how English is evolving differently in other nations (Asian nations usually always called out on it), and saying how the language soon may be viewed as "proper" in said nations.

So, my question is with regards to the Polish language. From another thread (of which I cannot seem to locate quickly) it mentioned that a certain part of the Polish grammar was lost in 1945. And, if we compare Polish to the way it was in the middle ages, it's different, obviously. And, the Polish spoken in America that has roots in late 1800's Polish is outdated. But, with the globalization of English (and the number of younger Poles that know English), how does the future of the Polish language as a whole look? Is the language becoming more Anglicized daily (seeing words such as "negatyw" and "super" for example) or is it a slow adaptation and are the Poles trying (in any fashion) to maintain some sort of a different language?

If anyone can understand what I'm saying...
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
31 Oct 2010 #2
It's already been influenced alot by English, just from the time communism fell in Poland look how many new words appeared. I think there's no need for that, surely you can make up a new Polish word for its English counterpart.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
31 Oct 2010 #3
first: English as spoken in Poland will have its own variant.

Polish language will include more English, possibly German as well as vocabulary from elsewhere.

written Polish will stay the same. much like an English dialect is spoken, but not usually written
Torq 32 | 2,897
31 Oct 2010 #4
Well, there are, certainly, words that are "borrowed" from English in daily spoken Polish,
but generally it is not anglicization that threatens Polish language the most.
Carelessness, lazines and general level of education (much lower than it was 20 years ago)
affect the language the most (bad grammar, omnipresent vulgarisms, complete disregard
for proper accent etc. etc.)

Old intelligenstia and those representatives of young intelligentsia who respect their language
and culture, still speak decent Polish and try to avoid bastardization of it.
They are in tiny minority though, and I'm afraid that proper Polish that is currently spoken by
about 5% of Poland's population (an optimistic estimate) is on its way to extinction (thanks
to the reasons mentioned above as well as primitive and uneducated politicians, journalists
and TV presenters who butcher Polish on daily basis.)

Generally, the Polish speaking section of this forum is not that bad (not bad for an open
Internet forum, that is), but you can observe some of the things I mentioned there...

https://polishforums.com/po-polsku/

...if you're fluent in Polish, you can browse some threads and see what I mean.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
31 Oct 2010 #5
Now when internet is used widely in most countries in the world, these influences come faster and stronger than ever before.
Lyzko
31 Oct 2010 #6
In my opinion, talk about the 'future' of various so-called 'endangered' languages is a mute point. Very simply, World English remains what it always was; a mere construct of linguists and their political followers! Sure, English IS the 'meta-lang' of most commercial industries today, and has been for quite some time now. Nonetheless, to surmise (as some do) that this means Poles, Germans, Russians, Swedes etc.. will suddenly, even gradually, begin communicating with their own in a sort of hodge-podge of broken English, is frankly, absurd. While many Europeans, especially the Scandinavians, will doubtless continue to use English when dealing with outsiders as the language of preference, amongst themselves, all people will use their mother tongue for all communicative purposes.

Therefore, Polish indeed has a future, a long and healthy one no doubt-:)
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
31 Oct 2010 #7
Torq, out of interest - would you recommend any newspapers for having decent Polish?

(I don't have much hope, given that both Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita often have horrible grammatical mistakes and the hysteria-newspapers appear to be written for babies)
nott 3 | 594
31 Oct 2010 #8
would you recommend any newspapers for having decent Polish?

I might try: 'Najwyższy Czas!'. Liberal-conservative... if you know what I mean, that is.
Ironside 49 | 10,447
31 Oct 2010 #9
Is gloom indeed !
Torq 32 | 2,897
31 Oct 2010 #10
Torq, out of interest - would you recommend any newspapers for having decent Polish?

Daily newspapers? Not really, but "Tygodnik Powszechny" has quite high standard of Polish.

I might try: 'Najwyższy Czas!'

Yes, they're not too bad. 10-15 years ago I would recommend them without
hesitation, but I get the impression that in recent years they lowered their
standards to reach more readers.
Lyzko
2 Nov 2010 #11
Once again, the level of many languages (among them, perhaps most egregiously, English!) throughout the world has been in decline for some years! One of the problems is the gradual erosion of manual writing skills due to the advent of the Internet. Even prior, with the typewriter, people still wrote by hand, moreover, ALL learned handwriting before typewriting.

Sadly, this is no longer the case today. Many students have grown up solely with the pc, others even weened off of traditional bound books and onto Kindle, for example.

The result is a kind of 'short-hand' language, once only confined to stenography or Morse code, yet nowadays, common coin among everyone under the age of twenty-five, a sizeable bulk of the world's population to date.
Lyzko
2 Nov 2010 #12
Proofreader,

As a matter of fact, my grammar and spelling in this as well as most other posts (save for the occasional typo) are unassailable. I wonder how you might judge a teaching colleague who were plagued by dyslexia for example, but who knew how to spell and had mastered his grammar-:))

Cheers!
proofreader
2 Nov 2010 #13
Hardly unassailable, as "a matter of fact".
Still if you're dyslexic you're doing fine.
Just get off your high horse about other people's writing until yours is perfect..:)
Harry
2 Nov 2010 #14
Still if you're dyslexic you're doing fine.

Have you heard of something called the 'comma'?
Lyzko
2 Nov 2010 #15
I can safely state, my English is as close to "perfect" as one is likely to get, in this lifetime anyway-:) My Polish is another matter LOL
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
2 Nov 2010 #16
Still if you're dyslexic you're doing fine.

Ugh. Your own writing isn't much better.
yuaelt - | 12
2 Nov 2010 #17
We might live in a world where English is necessary right now, but...

Latin used to be European meta-lang for centuries, it has infected all European languages, Polish among them. With hand-writing as it's only media tool! French has been in fashion for quite a time too, and there's a number of words Polish 'inherited' from that time. Years of German and Russian influence are not to be forgotten.

So we have an era of English now. If you look at it from a bigger perspective, it's not such a big deal. Somehow we still polonize the foreign terms over time. Do you know that "keczup" has actually been proclaimed a valid form? Our parents still write "ketchup" and some of them pronounce "keczap". Do you know that the word "kobieta" used to be very offensive? What we consider deterioration, is in many cases (sadly impossible to recognize except post factum) simply the language being alive. The moment Polish stops changing, stops adapting the words and simplifying grammar, that's the moment we should start worrying about it.

As for English domination... might continue for another century and so forth, but might as well not, given the current geopolitical situation. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchildren spent their pocket money on advanced Chinese courses...
z_darius 14 | 3,968
2 Nov 2010 #18
Once again, the level of many languages (among them, perhaps most egregiously, English!) throughout the world has been in decline for some years!

"Some years" doesn't even begin to describe the length of the time. The language has been deteriorating for nearly 2000 years, and that's only the times for which some historic records exist. Even the very name of the good ole' Anglisc has gone bad. It is still possible to get the right computer keyboard to write proper Anglisc but it's a rarity. And even then, it's just a mix of the proper Anglisc and the current, bastardized version ;)

.
Lyzko
2 Nov 2010 #19
Hey, Dariusz!

Like your 'Icelandic' keyboard-:)))
Not sure I completely agree with your assessment regarding the decline of English, but I suppose to a purist, the Norman Conquest spelled the death knell of the pre-French influence on 'Anglish', making it the tossed salad it remains until our time.

Oooh, I feel a groaner (bad pun) coming on: How do linguistics students feel about having to learn Icelandic? - It's a real thorn in their side. (ha-ha!!)

German these days too is repleat not only with intentional anglicisims, but downright poor-quality slang, known variously as 'Kanakensprache' and is derived in large part from Turkish elements in the language. Even newscasters are using vernacular locutions during their broadcasts, unthinkable as late as twenty years ago!!

Is it the same in Poland, or can one rely on the textbook quality of a Polish newscaster's command of their own language?
z_darius 14 | 3,968
2 Nov 2010 #20
Like your 'Icelandic' keyboard-:)))

look at the url, kbd is OE.

Not sure I completely agree with your assessment regarding the decline of English, but I suppose to a purist, the Norman Conquest spelled the death knell of the pre-French influence on 'Anglish', making it the tossed salad it remains until our time.

I think you missed my drift.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
3 Nov 2010 #21
Do you know that the word "kobieta" used to be very offensive?

What was the proper term??

As for English domination... might continue for another century and so forth, but might as well not, given the current geopolitical situation. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchildren spent their pocket money on advanced Chinese courses...

I agree, have taken a few Mandarin courses already...

youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jEHVLuhQ9aU
mafketis 24 | 8,704
3 Nov 2010 #22
What was the proper term??

Not sure (a philologist will have a better idea) but I would assume that either

żona (the original meaning seems to have been 'woman' just as mąż was 'man')
or
niewiasta (not sure of etymology, the Czech cognate means 'fiancee')
z_darius 14 | 3,968
3 Nov 2010 #23
What was the proper term??

żona, białogłowa, niewiasta
strzyga 2 | 993
3 Nov 2010 #24
I don't have the etymological dictionary at hand but here's what I've found:

kobieta - appeared in 16th c. originally meaning a wanton woman, possibly originating from the word "kob" - chlew (pigsty), ceased to be offensive in 17th-18th c.

białogłowa - used for a woman up to the 18th c. from the white linen that women covered their hair with. The linen was called podwika, hence kobiety were also called podwiki.

niewiasta - the one who doesn't know (nie wie) - used to mean a wife or a daughter in law - a woman coming to the family; also any woman

"żona" might be the oldest of them all, but I'm not sure.
Lyzko
3 Nov 2010 #25
OE is merely Modern Icelandic with a few extra letters, Darek! I studied some Old Norse once at university, and was amazed at the similarities to Icelandic. No surprise, of course, for either of us. Superficially though, you must admit once might be fooled for a minute-:))

Not sure you caught my drift either, old man. I was only saying that language decline is not limited to any one language. English has been in a constant state of evolution, perhaps more than most extant languages, yet there's nothing per se to indicate that English has necessarily been in a steady process of decline. The again, we all judge language aethetics against the standards of our own age. If you recall, contemporaries of Edmund Spenser chided him about his 'self-conscious Chaucerisms', and even the Great Bard himself was deemed too 'radical' by some.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
3 Nov 2010 #26
if you ask me, Polish is simply going to get more and more English-ized. only poles use polish, and many of them live in english speaking countries, not to mention the constant inoculation of American culture in Poland. their "official" grammar will continue to deteriorate, get blander and will evolve into something more user friendly.

at least i hope so for all the poor bastards that will come to this country in the future and have to wrestle with Polish grammar.
Lyzko
3 Nov 2010 #27
I also hope that some of us will not forget how to write correctly in this new world language. "I" is ALWAYS written as an upper-case letter, and never "i" as those texters do nowadays!! It infuriates me that this is now the excuse for English.

If the Poles and everyone else wish to appropriate our mother tongue as their own, at least let them do it with a clean conscience and in correct English, for Pete's sake!!

How would the Poles like it if the situation were reversed and people started saying en masse that 'poszłem' is as correct as 'poszedłem', for instance.

After all, English has standards too.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
3 Nov 2010 #28
As mentioned, languages evolve.

I wouldn't worry too much about Polish becoming oversimplified.

To Poles who think this, a few words by way of an example in English : past/present perfect tenses
Lyzko
3 Nov 2010 #29
Thank you, Teffle! Hopefully more than fewer will heed your wise example-:)))
z_darius 14 | 3,968
3 Nov 2010 #30
OE is merely Modern Icelandic with a few extra letters, Darek! I studied some Old Norse once at university, and was amazed at the similarities to Icelandic. No surprise, of course, for either of us. Superficially though, you must admit once might be fooled for a minute-:))

Let's start with the keyboard.
This is the Icelandic one:

.

I hope you can look close and find the differences, including some characters that are present in one but not in the other (no scary stuff will jump at you from the screen while you concentrate on analyzing the keyboard layouts)

Now let's look at the Icelandic and OE:

Modern Icelandic

Faðir vor, þú sem er á himnum.
Helgist þitt nafn, til komi þitt ríki,
verði þinn vilji svo á jörðu sem á himni.

Old Norse:

Faþer vár es ert í himenríki, verði nafn þitt hæilagt
Til kome ríke þitt, værði vili þin
sva a iarðu sem í himnum.

OE (circa 1000 AD)

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum
si þin nama gehalgod
tobecume þin rice

They are certainly similar. So is Polish and English. It's just a question of the degree of the similarities. Still, all three above are different languages.

And yes, I too, had to study old Germanic texts at one time. The stress, of course, was on Old English and the cannon was the usual Caedmon, Bede, and Cynewulf

Not sure you caught my drift either, old man. I was only saying that language decline is not limited to any one language. English has been in a constant state of evolution, perhaps more than most extant languages, yet there's nothing per se to indicate that English has necessarily been in a steady process of decline.

So you caught the drift after all.
Not that I like the changes that have been taking place lately in Polish or English, but this is how languages work. They change.

To that effect, English appears to be a victim of its own success when it comes to the rapid pace of the changes. The development of the new communication technologies is certainly a major factor too. I was dismayed to learn, a few weeks ago, about a younger linguist in the local university who distributed her notes that included all kinds of lol, btwc u and such. All I can say to that is WTF.


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