Alternative name(s): polski (pl), Pools (nl), polonais (fr), Polnisch (de), polska (sv)
Language family: Indo-European
Language Group: Slavic
Geographical use: Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Czech Republic (near the city of Cieszyn/Cesyn)
Present-day Polish has 7 vowels and 35 consonants that are written in an adapted Roman alphabet. Sounds that are not represented in the alphabet are rendered by dual letters such as sz and cz and by diacritic signs, which are derived from Czech. A unique Polish letter is l (crossed 'l') (that corresponds to the Dutch w). During its evolution Polish has eliminated the differences between short and long sounds. The stress is now on the penultimate syllable. Polish is the only Slavic language with nasal vowels (a and e), who came from Old Slavic nasal vowels.
The singular has three genders (male, female, and neutral). Plural has a separate gender, personal male (used with men), that is discerned from a common plural for all other genders.
Polish has 7 cases. The verbs are declined according to number and gender of the subject, but the endings were simplified after the elimination of the three past tenses (aorist, imperfectum and postperfectum). The so-called Slavic perfectum is the only past tense used in spoken language. The word order is very free.
The oldest written remains of Polish are names in Latin documents. The current standard language is based on the dialect of the Poznan region in the west of Poland. A lot of words were borrowed from medieval Czech and German, Latin, Russian, Ukrainian, French, and English.