World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Silesian language

Article Id: WHEBN0000356069
Reproduction Date:

Title: Silesian language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Silesia, Texas Silesian, Kreple, Slavic languages, Polish language
Collection: Language Versus Dialect, Languages of Germany, Languages of Poland, Languages of the Czech Republic, Lechitic Languages, Silesian Language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Silesian language

Upper Silesian
ślōnskŏ gŏdka
ślůnsko godka
Native to Poland (Silesian Voivodeship, Opole Voivodeship), Czech Republic (Moravia–Silesia, Jeseník)
Region Upper Silesia / Silesia
Native speakers
510,000  (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 szl
Glottolog sile1253[3]
Linguasphere 53-AAA-cck, 53-AAA-dam
Range of Silesian on a map of East-Central Europe (marked as G1 and G2, in southern Poland and the eastern Czech Republic).

Silesian or Upper Silesian (Silesian: ślōnskŏ gŏdka, ślůnsko godka, Czech: Slezština, Polish: język śląski/Polish: etnolekt śląski) is a West Slavic lect, related to Polish[4][5] and Czech. Its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by Central German due to the existence of numerous Silesian German speakers in the area prior to World War II and after, until the 1990s.[6]

There is no consensus on whether Silesian is a separate language or a somewhat divergent dialect of Polish. The issue is largely unanswerable based on linguistic criteria, due to the existence of a dialect continuum between Polish and Czech formed by the Silesian and Lach varieties. The issue of whether language forms like Silesian and Lach represent minority languages in their own right is generally quite contentious in Europe due to the increased linguistic and political rights generally enjoyed by speakers of recognized minority languages, and Silesian is no exception. In this instance, local Silesians tend to advocate in favor of language status, while Poles and Czechs from other regions tend to advocate against this.


  • Distribution 1
  • Recognition 2
  • Writing system 3
  • Grammar 4
  • Example 5
  • Dialects of Silesian 6
  • Dialect vs. language 7
  • Culture 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Silesian speakers currently live in the region of Upper Silesia, which is split between southwestern Poland and the northeastern Czech Republic. At present Silesian is commonly spoken in the area between historical border of Silesia on the east and a line from Syców to Prudnik on the west as well as in the Rawicz area. Until 1945 Silesian was also spoken in enclaves in Lower Silesia, Lower Silesian, a variety of Central German, was spoken by the ethnic German majority population of that region at the time.

According to the last official census in Poland in 2011, about 509,000[1] people declared Silesian as their native language (in census 2002, about 60,000[7]), and in the censuses in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, nearly 0.9 million people declared Silesian nationality.[1][8][9][10]


In 2003, the National Publishing Company of Silesia (Narodowa Oficyna Śląska) commenced operations.[11] This publisher was founded by the Alliance of the People of the Silesian Nation (Związek Ludności Narodowości Śląskiej) and it prints books about Silesia and books in Silesian language.

In July 2007, the Slavic Silesian language was given the ISO 639-3 code szl.[12]

On 6 September 2007, 23 politicians of the Polish parliament made a statement about a new law to give Silesian the official status of a regional language.[13]

The first official National Dictation Contest of the Silesian language (Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego) took place in August 2007. In dictation as many as 10 forms of writing systems and orthography have been accepted.[14][15]

On 30 January 2008 and in June 2008, two organizations promoting Silesian language were established: Pro Loquela Silesiana and Tôwarzistwo Piastowaniô Ślónskij Môwy "Danga".[16]

On 26 May 2008, the Silesian WorldHeritage was founded.[17]

On 30 June 2008 in the edifice of the Śląsko godka — jeszcze gwara czy jednak już język?).[18]

In 2012, the Ministry of Administration and Digitization registered the Silesian language in Annex 1 to the Regulation on the state register of geographical names;[19] however, in a November 2013 amendment to the regulation, Silesian is not included.[20]

Writing system

Ślabikŏrzowy szrajbōnek is the relatively new Rada Górnośląska. Ubuntu translation is in this alphabet[21] as is the Silesian WorldHeritage. It is used in a few books, including the Silesian alphabet book.[22]

Letters: A, Ã, B, C, Ć, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ł, M, N, Ń, O, Ŏ, Ō, Ô, Õ, P, R, S, Ś, T, U, W, Y, Z, Ź, Ż.[22]

One of the first alphabets created specifically for Silesian was Steuer's Silesian alphabet, created in the Interwar period and used by Feliks Steuer for his poems in Silesian. The alphabet consists of 30 graphemes and eight digraphs:

Letters: A, B, C, Ć, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ł, M, N, Ń, O, P, R, S, Ś, T, U, Ů, W, Y, Z, Ź, Ż
Digraphs: Au, Ch, Cz, Dz, , , Rz, Sz

Sometimes other alphabets are also used, such as the "Tadzikowy muster" (for the National Dictation Contest of the Silesian language) or the Polish alphabet, but writing in this alphabet is problematic as it does not allow for the differentiation and representation of all Silesian sounds.[22]


While the morphological differences between Silesian and the neighboring language of Polish have been researched extensively, grammatical differences have not been studied in great depth. One example is that, in contrast with Polish, Silesian retains the pluperfect (joech śe była uobaliyła — "I had slipped") and separate past conditional (jo bych śe była uobaliyła — "I would have slipped").

Another major difference is in question-forming. In Polish, questions that do not contain interrogative words are formed either by using intonation or the interrogative particle czy. In Silesian, questions that do not contain interrogative words are formed by using intonation (with a markedly different intonation pattern than in Polish) or inversion (e.g. je to na mapie?); there is no interrogative particle.


The Lord's Prayer in Silesian, Polish and Czech.
Silesian (Steuer spelling) Polish Czech
Uojcze nasz, kery jeżeś we ńebje,
bydź pośwjyncůne mjano Twoje.
Przińdź krůlestwo Twoje,
bydź wola Twoja,
jako we ńebje, tak tyż na źymji.
Chlyb nasz kożdodźynny dej nům dźiśej.
A uodpuść nům nasze winy,
jako a my uodpuszczůmy naszym wińńikům.
A ńy wůdź nos na pokuszyńy,
nale zbow nos uode złygo.
Ojcze nasz, któryś jest w niebie,
święć się imię Twoje,
przyjdź królestwo Twoje,
bądź wola Twoja
jako w niebie tak i na ziemi.
Chleba naszego powszedniego daj nam dzisiaj.
I odpuść nam nasze winy,
jako i my odpuszczamy naszym winowajcom.
I nie wódź nas na pokuszenie,
ale zbaw nas ode złego.
Otče náš, jenž jsi na nebesích,
posvěť se jméno Tvé
Přijď království Tvé.
Buď vůle Tvá,
jako v nebi, tak i na zemi.
Chléb náš vezdejší dej nám dnes
A odpusť nám naše viny,
jako i my odpouštíme naším viníkům
a neuveď nás v pokušení,
ale zbav nás od zlého.

Dialects of Silesian

Grave inscription at Lutheran cemetery in Střítež near Český Těšín. The inscription, which says "Rest in Peace", is in the Cieszyn Silesian dialect.

Silesian has many dialects:

Dialect vs. language

Opinions are divided among linguists about whether Silesian is a distinct language or a dialect of Polish. The issue can be contentious, because some Silesians consider themselves to be a nationality within Poland. Some linguists from Poland such as Jolanta Tambor,[23] Juan Lajo,[24] Dr Tomasz Wicherkiewicz[25] and philosopher Dr hab Jerzy Dadaczyński,[26] sociologist Dr Elżbieta Anna Sekuła[27] and sociolinguist Tomasz Kamusella[28][29] support its status as a language. According to Stanisław Rospond, it is impossible to classify Silesian as a dialect of the contemporary Polish language because he considers it to be descended from the Old Polish language.[30] Other Polish linguists, such as Jan Miodek and Edward Polański, do not support its status as a language.

The German linguist Reinhold Olesch was eagerly interested about the "Polish vernaculars" of Upper Silesia and other Slavic varieties spoken by few people, such as Kashubian and Polabian.[31][32][33][34]

Most linguists writing in English, such as Alexander M. Schenker,[35] Robert A. Rothstein,[36] and Roland Sussex and Paul Cubberley[37] in their respective surveys of Slavic languages, list Silesian as a dialect of Polish, as does Encyclopædia Britannica.[38]

A similar disagreement exists concerning the neighboring Lach varieties, sometimes considered separate languages and sometimes dialects of Czech, but the latter opinion appears currently dominant.[39][40][41]

Czech Óndra Łysohorsky and his translator Ewald Osers (1949),[42][43] were interested in Lach dialects.

Gerd Hentschel wrote "Das Schlesische ... kann somit ... ohne Zweifel als Dialekt des Polnischen beschrieben werden" ("Silesian ... can thus ... without doubt be described as a dialect of Polish").[44][45]


Silesian has recently seen an increased use in culture, for example:

  • TV and radio stations (for example: TV Silesia, Sfera TV, Slonsky Radio,[46] Radio Piekary);
  • music groups (for example: Hasiok, Dohtor Miód, FEET);
  • theatre[47] (for example: Polterabend in Silesian Theatre[48]);
  • film (for example: Grzeszny żywot Franciszka Buły ("The Sinful Life of Franciszek Buła")
  • books (for example, the so-called Silesian Bible; poetry: "Myśli ukryte" by Karol Gwóźdź)
  • teaching aids (for example, a Silesian basal reader)[49]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011. Raport z wyników - Central Statistical Office of Poland
  2. ^ "szl"Ethnologue report for language code: . Ethnologue. Languages of the World. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Silesian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ prof. Bogusław Wyderka:
  5. ^ Izabela Winiarska:
  6. ^ Tomasz Kamusella. 2013. The Silesian Language in the Early 21st Century: A Speech Community on the Rollercoaster of Politics (pp 1-35). Die Welt der Slaven. Vol 58, No 1.
  7. ^ "Ludność według języka używanego w kontaktach domowych i deklaracji narodowościowej w 2002 roku" [Population by language used at home and declarations of nationality in 2002] (XLS) (in Polski). Main Statistical Office of the Polish Government: report of  
  8. ^ "Obyvatelstvo podle národnosti podle krajů" (PDF).  
  9. ^ "Národnost ve sčítání lidu v českých zemích" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  10. ^ National Minorities in the Slovak Republic - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic
  11. ^ "Narodowa Oficyna Śląska" [National Publishing Company of Silesia] (in Polski). 
  12. ^ "ISO documentation of Silesian language".  
  13. ^  
  14. ^ (Silesian) / (Polish) "National Dictation contest of the Silesian language". 
  15. ^ Ortography: diacritic, Czech, phonetic, Hermannowa, Polish, Polish plus, Steuer's, Tadzikowa, Wieczorkowa, multisigned.
  16. ^ "Śląski wśród języków świata" [The Silesian language is a foreign language].  
  17. ^ "Śląska WorldHeritage już działa" [Silesian WorldHeritage already operating].  
  18. ^ (Polish)  
  19. ^ Dz.U. 2012 nr 0 poz. 309 - Internet System of Legal Acts
  20. ^ Dz. U. z 2013 r. poz. 1346
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b c Mirosław Syniawa: Ślabikŏrz niy dlŏ bajtli. Pro Loquela Silesiana. ISBN 978-83-62349-01-2
  23. ^ "Ekspertyza naukowa prof. UŚ Dr hab. Jolanty Tambor" (en: "The scientific expertise of Juan Lajo"), 2008
  24. ^ "Ekspertyza naukowa pana Juana Lajo" (en: "The scientific expertise of Juan Lajo"), 2008
  25. ^ "Ekspertyza naukowa dra Tomasza Wicherkiewicza" (en: "The scientific expertise of Tomasz Wicherkiewicz"), 2008
  26. ^ "Ekspertyza naukowa ks. dra hab. Jerzego Dadaczyńskiego") (en: "The scientific expertise of Jerzy Dadaczyński"), 2008
  27. ^ "Ekspertyza naukowa dr Elżbiety Anny Sekuły" (en: "The scientific expertise of Elżbieta Anna Sekuła"), 2008
  28. ^ Tomasz Kamusella. Schlonzska mowa — Język, Górny Śląsk i nacjonalizm [Silesian speech — language, Upper Silesia and nationalism] (in Polski).  
  29. ^ Tomasz Kamusella (2003). "The Szlonzoks and their Language: Between Germany, Poland and Szlonzokian Nationalism" (PDF).  
  30. ^ "Polszczyzna śląska" - Stanisław Rospond, Ossolineum 1970, p. 80–87
  31. ^ Ernst Eichler (1999). Neue deutsche Biographie [New German biography] (in Deutsch). p. 519. 
  32. ^ Reinhold Olesch (1987). Zur schlesischen Sprachlandschaft: Ihr alter slawischer Anteil [On the Silesian language landscape: their old Slavic share] (in Deutsch). pp. 32–45. 
  33. ^ Joanna Rostropowicz. Śląski był jego językiem ojczystym: Reinhold Olesch, 1910–1990 [Silesian was his mother tongue: Reinhold Olesch, 1910–1990] (in Polski). 
  34. ^ Krzysztof Kluczniok, Tomasz Zając (2004). Śląsk bogaty różnorodnością — kultur, narodów i wyznań. Historia lokalna na przykładzie wybranych powiatów, miast i gmin [Silesia, a rich diversity — of cultures, nations and religions. Local history, based on selected counties, cities and municipalities]. Urząd Gm. i M. Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Dom Współpracy Pol.-Niem., Czerwionka-Leszczyny.  
  35. ^ Alexander M. Schenker, "Proto-Slavonic", The Slavonic Languages (1993, Routledge), pages 60–121.
  36. ^ Robert A. Rothstein, "Polish," The Slavonic Languages (1993, Routledge), pages 686–758.
  37. ^ Roland Sussex & Paul Cubberley, The Slavic Languages (2006, Cambridge University Press).
  38. ^ "Silesian".  
  39. ^ Dušan Šlosar. "" (PDF) (in Deutsch). 
  40. ^  
  41. ^ Pavlína Kuldanová (2003). "Útvary Českého Národního Jazyka" [Services of the Czech National Language] (in Česky). 
  42. ^ Ewald Osers (1949). Silesian Idiom and Language.  
  43. ^ Slavonic Encyclopedia. pp. 1149–51. 
  44. ^ Gerd Hentschel. "Schlesisch" (in Deutsch). 
  45. ^ Gerd Hentschel (2001). "Das Schlesische – eine neue (oder auch nicht neue) slavische Sprache?". Mitteleuropa – Osteuropa. Oldenburger Beiträge zur Kultur und Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas.  
  46. ^ (Silesian) "". 
  47. ^ "Po śląsku w kaplicy" [Once in the chapel of Silesia] (in Polski). Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  48. ^ "Stanisław Mutz — Polterabend" (in Polski). Silesian Theatre. 
  49. ^ (Silesian) Przemysław Jedlicki, Mirosław Syniawa (13 February 2009). "Ślabikorz dlo Slůnzokůw". Gazeta Wyborcza Katowice. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. 

External links

  • (Silesian) Jynzyk S'loonski
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.