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Old Polish Vs New Polish


Patrycja19 63 | 2,700
27 Dec 2008 #1
I have heard more then once while asking for documents to be translated that some of the older polish is harder to read.

What was changed ?

And when trying/attempting to write letters to family in poland or to parishes to get documents I was told to just write English ( LOL < LOL ) <~perhaps my translator ( poltran) wasnt up to par?

whats the differences in the New VS Old ways of writing polish?
slick77 - | 127
27 Dec 2008 #2
I'm not a linguist but my first guess would be vocabulary.

Obviously, there are some words and phrases in the old Polish language that we don't use in the modern language.

For instance,

Ach, Królu wieliki nasz
Coż Ci dzieją Maszyjasz,
Przydaj rozumu k mej rzeczy,
Me sierce bostwem obleczy,
Raczy mię mych grzechów pozbawić
Bych mógł o Twych świętych prawić.

Nobody uses words like "sierce", "obleczy", or "przydaj" in the modern language anymore.
nunczka 8 | 458
28 Dec 2008 #3
I was born and raised in the US. I have no trouble with Polish speaking Americans. But I sure get lost on this forum.. I see words on here that I never heard before.
mafketis 21 | 7,458
28 Dec 2008 #4
IIRC the was some general reformation of standard written Polish in the interwar period.

One change was to replace the old instrumental plural in -y with -ami which is what everbody said (-y hangs on in a couple of set expressions like innymi słowy, or przed laty) I'm not sure what other changes were (except that the most contentious issue were spellings like Maryja vs Maria). IINM the church usage lost, but was probably more linguistically accurate.
osiol 55 | 3,922
28 Dec 2008 #5
There are what are called "historically soft consonants": c, cz, dz, dż, sz, ż and rz. They are hard consonants, but somehow (don't ask me how) were once soft consonants (like ć, ń, ś, ź). I don't understand what that's all about, but it could make some difference.

The book I'm learning from also seems to have a few words that may be a bit dated now. For example it gives "mię" as an alternative version of "mnie" - something I once saw an argument about on PF (apparently nobody says "mię" these days. Another example is "jaje" as another word for egg, the usual form being "jajko". A former teacher of mine found "jaje" particularly funny and I can only guess why.
nunczka 8 | 458
28 Dec 2008 #6
HA,HA, Yep, thats it.. Polish American Honky talk.

Some more Honky goodies.

Automobile>>>> Cara or machina
Orange>>>>> Anczka
Tomato>>>>>>>>>>>>Merdici
Pond>>>>>>>>>>>>Ponda
Grass>>>>>>>>>Trawa
Apple>>>>>>Japka

And on and on.. LOL! But it worked for us.. STILL DOES
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544
28 Dec 2008 #7
The book I'm learning from also seems to have a few words that may be a bit dated now.

Jaje. :) It is still being used, but not in standard Polish.
osiol 55 | 3,922
28 Dec 2008 #8
I've had quite a few Polish meals that involve jaje, often with mayonnaise for extra unhealthiness. I don't know how well the egg-word situation compares with English in times gone by. There used to be a lot of different words for egg, sadly now reduced to only one. Nobody eats a fried ovum with their breakfast.

Having a book that is about 40 years old, I do wonder if much has changed since it was written.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544
28 Dec 2008 #9
Having a book that is about 40 years old, I do wonder if much has changed since it was written.

Well languages evolve so I'm sure that there must have been some changes but not to a degree where you wouldn't be understood.

A 40 year old polish-learning book. That's quite an antic.
Marek 4 | 867
28 Dec 2008 #10
Slick, I'm far from either a Polish-American or a native speaker, but can only surmise that most US citizens of Polish descent, say from in and around the Chicago area, learned a slang or country Polish from their working-class parents or grandparents.

Certain regions of Poland have their own specific dialects. It's the same with German-Americans who speak German at Stammtisch clubs with other German-Americans, but who et lost in a German forum. For one thing, language changes and many second or third generation American speakers of Polish or German may well speak a language which hasn't kept up with changes over the past century and so on.
slick77 - | 127
29 Dec 2008 #11
Slick, I'm far from either a Polish-American or a native speaker, but can only surmise that most US citizens of Polish descent.

The quotation I provided in my previous post comes from the 15th country Polish poem - The Legend of Saint Alexander (Legenda o świętym Aleksym). It's not slang.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
2 Jan 2009 #12
Would any Anglista who knows Polish be able to say whether the 15th-century Polish poem cited here was more or less comprhensible to present-day native speakers than 15th-century English would be. In other words, has Polish ro English changed more?

I recall from college English the Chaucerian line (spelling unsure): Whan that Aprille with her shoures sote the drought of Marche had perced to the rote and bathed every veyn in swich liqueur, of which engendered is the flowre...

The prof incidentally was a Chaucerian expert and when he recited that verse, it evoked the harsh, guttural sounds of German. For instance, drought was not pronounced like Polish drałt, but like Polish drocht.
ladykangaroo - | 165
3 Jan 2009 #13
Would any Anglista who knows Polish be able to say whether the 15th-century Polish poem cited here was more or less comprhensible

I'm not anglista myself, but I recall reading some 14th and 15th century stuff. Usually five verses of old poem are accompanied by a page-long explanation and footnotes. It's not particularly comprehensible I must say. Reading it loud is another story, as written Polish is just an approximation at best of how the language used to sound like. Some vowels and consonants are not being used any more (and you may find it quite hard to position your tongue properly). So called "yers" (jery) still affect the declension and spelling of some words but are not present in today's language.

Maryja vs Maria

I was taught that Maryja relates only to the mother of Good, you were not supposed to name your child like that. Maria (very rarely Marya) is just a name.

Having a book that is about 40 years old

1960s-1970s? It wouldn't change much.
OP Patrycja19 63 | 2,700
3 Jan 2009 #14
Im not talking 15th century old, my mothers first cousin who is abt 86 I think writes differently then the polish written today.. reason I say this is because of a friend who translated a letter she wrote to another cousin and she said some of the words are different now. but she understood her writing, she just didnt know

how to explain some of the things she wrote and told me its older polish and she is only been in the US for 8 years now so its not like she lost her ability to read/write it when she is full polish.

I can see what your saying, I think all the languages had a makeover since then :)
klyzee - | 1
5 Jul 2009 #15
i,m not polish,but i like polska,i knew it through tourists and tv,i hope somebody contact with me and help me recognizing POLSKA more and more,,i can speak English , Russian,some German,some Kurdish,some Turkish and Arabic.thank you all.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,608
6 Jul 2009 #16
Are you sure that a 40 year-old book has the word "jaje" in it!? It seems that "jaje" is a form of "jajo" in the dual, the grammatical number that ceased to exist in Polish long time before that.

Some other forms of the dual: dwie słowie (modern Polish: dwa słowa); dwie jabłce (dwa jabłka); dwie głowie (dwie głowy); dwaj kmiecia (dwaj kmiecie); dwie babie (dwie baby). The latter form had been used ironically as an already archaic word in "Pan Tadeusz" (published in 1834).
Lyzko
6 Jul 2009 #17
Thank you for enlightening me, Slick!

My guess was completely off, I see. As I say, not being anywhere near native to Polish, I was thrown a curve ball and hadn't the sense to avoid being hit-:)))

One never stops learning.LOL
Nicolemc96 - | 1
17 Jan 2010 #18
I came across this thread in trying to find out what some words meant that my grandparents used to say. One was a greeting, I think. It sounded like ye gates. I know I have misspelled it horribly. Does anyone know this? Thx
marqoz - | 195
10 Feb 2010 #19
t sounded like ye gates

Isn't it a German or Yiddish: Wie geht's? [vee-gates] meaning How is it going? or How are you?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
10 Feb 2010 #20
Has much of PRL Polish survived to this day? Obviously many politiical concepts rooted in the communist period have gone by the board like aktyw. kolektyw, KC, Pewex, współzawodnictwo pracy, czyn społeczny and punkty za pochodzenie. But what about such russicisms as na zakładzie, na sklepie, etc.? PRL teenagers hated being called dzieci and would reply: "My nie dzieci, my młodzież!" But in America university students call themselves college kids, and dzieciaki seem to have made their way into today's Polish more than before, hasn't it?
marqoz - | 195
11 Feb 2010 #21
So called "yers" (jery) still affect the declension and spelling of some words but are not present in today's language.

Yeah. But yers were vocalized in XII-XIII century or so. You have very scarce written material from this period.

Polish flourished and stabilized in XV-XVI century. Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) was the greatest Polish poet and the most part (I think >90%) of his works is still comprehensible.

Later trends consisted of simplifying of consonant groups, elimination of accented vowels, uniformization of grammatical forms, adaptation of common European set of neologisms.

There were some downfall in clarity during the late Baroque-Rococo periods when Polish text were heavy interleaved with Latin words and erudite antique allegories. Much smaller drawback can be met in XIX century were some artificial syntax fashions were popular in literature and administrative language.

Much greater changes were made in dialectology: Polish regional dialects are nearly extinct now. As an effect quite big lexical resources and word forms are not used anymore. Moreover many words for tools or activities, which together make up material culture are dead as well.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
11 Feb 2010 #22
I have no trouble with Polish speaking Americans. But I sure get lost on this forum.. I see words on here that I never heard before.

I heard that the vocabulary that is used in Poland today, and the one among Polish speakers in US, are rather different.

But in America university students call themselves college kids, and dzieciaki seem to have made their way into today's Polish more

I haven't heard anyone in my University being referred to as dziecko (or similar).
But students always call each other 'ty', even if they have never met before, that's a tradition.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,608
11 Feb 2010 #23
Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) was the greatest Polish poet and the most part (I think >90%) of his works is still comprehensible.

Generally, I agree that most of his language is comprehensible today (but he is a rather remarkable exception, other authors of the epoch are not so "clear" for a contemporary reader). Let's consider one of his poems, commemorating the erection the first fixed wooden bridge over the Vistula river in Warsaw in the times of King Sigismundus Augustus in 1573.

NA MOST WARSZEWSKI [today: warszawski]
Nieubłagana Wisło, próżno wstrząsasz rogi,
---[today: na próźno potrząsasz rogami]
Próżno brzegom gwałt czynisz i hamujesz drogi;
---[today in this context: ... i przegradzasz drogi]
Nalazł fortel król August, jako cię miał pożyć,
---[znalazł sposób ... jak cię ujarzmić]
A ty musisz tę swoje dobrą myśl położyć,
---[sorry, sorry, I don't understand sentence, though I do understand words]
Bo krom wioseł, krom prumów już dziś suchą nogą
---[Bo oprócz ... oprócz promów ...]
Twój grzbiet nieujeżdżony wszyscy deptać mogą.
marqoz - | 195
11 Feb 2010 #24
A ty musisz tę swoje dobrą myśl położyć,

I've tried to interpret it as if the Vistula must to rethink its horny behaviour. But OK, it's quite enigmatic line. The master had a bad while (deadline factor or one chalice too far). Pity. It would be so light and funny verse.
Michael Skiscim
24 Nov 2019 #25
Don't stop now. Trying to find out why my last name starts with Ski. All I know is it's old Polish
Lyzko 24 | 6,777
24 Nov 2019 #26
"Swej", "swego", and "swemu" for "swojej", swojego", and "swojemu" might also be examples of old Polish, no?
Or is that simply poetic diction?
terri 1 | 1,634
25 Nov 2019 #27
Imagine that it is something akin to English 'thee, thou' which people still use in formal ceremonies and in parts of England where others just use 'you.'
Ziemowit 12 | 3,608
25 Nov 2019 #28
@Lyzko
I think you are right here. Thanks to this clue of yours I can now read the phrase now: swoją dobrą myśl położyć.
Lyzko 24 | 6,777
25 Nov 2019 #29
Glad to have been of service. How would one translate the above phrase though which looks to me like "modern" Polish?


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