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Languages of Poland

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Title: Languages of Poland  
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Languages of Poland

Languages of Poland
Official languages Polish
Regional languages

Kashubian (108,000); German (96,000); Belarusian (26,000); Rusyn (6,000); Lithuanian (5,000); Slovak (1,000); Czech (1,000);

dispersed: Ukrainian (25,000); Romani (14,000); Armenian (2,000), Hungarian (1,000)
Main immigrant languages Russian (20,000), Vietnamese (3,000), Arabic (2,000), Greek (2,000), Chinese (1,000), Bulgarian (1,000), Turkish (1,000), Hindi (1,000) and others [1]
Main foreign languages English (29%)
Russian (26%)
German (19%)
Sign languages Polish Sign Language
Source ebs_243_en.pdf (

The main language spoken in Poland is Polish.

The deaf communities use Polish Sign Language belonging to the German family of Sign Languages.

According to the Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages,[2] 16 other languages have officially recognized status of minority languages: 1 regional language, 10 languages of 9 national minorities (the minorities that have their own independent state elsewhere) and 5 languages of 4 ethnic minorities spoken by the members of minorities not having a separate state elsewhere). Jewish and Romani minorities, each has 2 minority languages recognized.

The following languages are spoken in Poland as well:

Languages having the status of national minority's language

Languages having the status of ethnic minority's language

The official recognition gives to the representatives of the minority certain rights (under certain conditions prescribed by the laws): of education in their language, of having the language established as the secondary administrative language or help language in their municipalities, of financial support of the state to the promotion of their language and culture etc.

Languages without officially recognized status

  • Wymysorys - is an endangered language with very few speakers, native to Wilamowice, but contrary to Karaim language having a similar situation, it was practically unknown of in the time of preparation of the forementioned Act.
  • Silesian - status severely disputed, question whether a dialect of Polish or separate language considered a political issue. Ethnologue distinguishes two Silesian languages, Silesian and Upper Silesian, which fact is unknown to the participants of the debate about the status of Silesian in Poland, and is never even mentioned in disputes.

Languages of new diasporas and immigrant communities

These languages are not recognized as minority languages, as the Act of 2005 defines minority as "a group of Polish citizens (...) striving to preserve its language, culture or tradition, (...) whose ancestors have been living on the present territory of the Republic of Poland for at least 100 years":

  • Greek - language of the big Greek diaspora in Poland of 1950's.
  • Vietnamese - the biggest immigrant community in Poland, since 1960's, having their own newspapers, schools, churches etc.

Dead and artificial languages

Among languages used in Poland, Ethnologue.[4] mentions also:

but does not mention two other known defunct languages:

See also


  1. ^ Ludność. Stan i struktura demograficzno=społeczna. Retrieved on 2013-04-14.
  2. ^ [1] Ministry of Interior of Poland
  3. ^ According to Ethnologue the following Romani languages are spoken in Poland: Romani Vlax, Romani Carpathian, Romani Sinte, Baltic Romani. See: , Ethnologue report for PolandEthnologue. Languages of the World
  4. ^ , Ethnologue report for PolandEthnologue. Languages of the World

External links

  • Ministry of Interior of Poland website all the acts, dispositions and bylaws related to the issue of minorities and their languages
    • Polish text of the Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages
    • Translations of the Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages into 16 minority languages and into English
  • Policy on Minority and Regional Languages in Poland
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