Did you know that the Polish language has been extraordinarily influenced by history and politics? After splitting from the common Slavonic origin of many other Balto-Slavic languages, Polish was greatly influenced by Latin when its population was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. This brought the use of a modified Latin alphabet into the language, and many concepts and terms. Later on came the German influence through both commerce and conflicts with several German kingdoms and principalities. Polish borrowed a large number of words from German. The Union of Lublin by which Poland and Lithuania became a single country, also brought important new terms into the language. Poland-Lithuania (Rzeczpospolita or Polish Republic) had one of the first and oldest constitutions in Eastern and Central Europe, and this document reflects the level of refinement that the Polish language had reached by then. It also influenced the language itself by introducing complex legal terms into the day-to-day popular usage. Because this constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, a large number of Yiddish words found their way into Polish by way of a large number of Jews that settled in Poland. So did some Western European words that came through a newly formed Protestant minority that had active contacts with other Protestants throughout Europe.
Further historical developments, including the dismemberment and occupation of Poland by Austria-Hungary and Russia brought predictable influences from Austrian German and Russian. However, the Polish people were able to keep a distinctive and separate cultural and linguistic identity throughout this process. Polish literature has been and continues to be one of the most important of Europe, and their scientific achievements are well represented in their modern language.
Z dumą mówić polski!
Language, its origins, intricacies, its beauty and its potential, has always been a huge part of what we do at Ariel Media. And, when we say language, we refer to all the languages we work with. This post originally appeared on our Facebook page back when the social media platform was more content-friendly.