The Proto-Indo-Polish Language

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Firstly, it is worth mentioning that both Polish and English language originate from the oldest language in the world, called Proto-Indo-European. It came to Europe approximately 3000 years B.C. along with the people who travelled there from Asia. As a result of the Proto-Indo-European community dividing into smaller ethnic groups in pursuit of better life conditions, the culture and languages of those particular groups also became different(zróżnicowany) and that is how the Indo-European language families came into existence. Polish language belongs to the Slaving language family and the official beginning of its independent evolution is dated at second half of the 10th Century. Before that, the Proto-Slavic language was spoken in that area…show more content…
Periodization of the history of Polish language can be based on two criteria: the philological one focused on the existence (or lack thereof) of written trails of Polish language, and the non-linguistic one where social, economic, political or cultural factors mark the changes within the language. In this essay only the second criterion will be taken into account and in that way the Polish language history can be divided into three blocks: the Old Polish, the Middle Polish and the Modern Polish (Długosz-Kurczabowa and Dubisz, 2001: 56-57). As mentioned before, the Proto-Slavic language was first spoken on grounds of today’s Poland and provided the basic vocabulary for the Polish language. Approximately 1700 words coined at that time survived in the language until today and there must have been many more which went out of use before the invention of printing. Among the Proto-Slavic words incorporated into the Polish language one can find both concrete and abstract terms related to: spirit and emotions (e.g. myśl, dusza, Bóg, miłość, gniew, bojaźń), the world (e.g. Ziemia, góra, łąka), animals and plants (e.g. dąb, wisznia, wilk, koń,…show more content…
Long vowels a, e, o became short but were still pronounced in a different way than they are today (they were later marked with diacritical sign ' above the letter indicating the sound), while long vowels i, y, u became the same as their short variations. The soft consonants t and d changed into ć and dź, while softened s', z' and r' – into ś, ź and ř. However, it is worth noting that in the oldest written trails of Polish language none of the native sounds had its own graphic representation; therefore, the sounds d, dz and dź were all denoted by the Latin letter d. Various digraphs and trigraphs were introduced later to deal with this problem, and as a result, the sound sz could be written either as sz, ss or sch. The standardization of this system only took place after the invention of print. However, before that, the simplification of consonant groups saw the end of such forms as dzs, cs, czs and czt. Another simplification process concerned the declination of nouns. Different variants cumulated into one pattern of declination. Masculine plural nouns in nominative case had the suffix –owie (biskupowie, dniowie), while the locative case for both genders had the suffix –ech and –och (o grzeszech, o bratoch, postaciech, rzeczoch) which were later replaced by -–ach. Feminine nouns had the suffix –e¬ or –ej in the genitive case (duszej) and the suffix –am in the plural dative case (złościam).

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