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Polish Language tips and useful phrases

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Polish is the official language of Poland. It has the second largest number of speakers among Slavic languages after Russian. Polish is the main representative of the Lechitic branch of the West Slavic languages. It originated in the areas of present-day Poland from several local Western Slavic dialects, most notably those spoken in Greater Poland and Lesser Poland. It shares some vocabulary with the languages of the neighboring Slavic nations, most notably with Slovak, Czech, Ukrainian, and Belarusian.

Polish language was once known as a lingua franca in various regions of Central and Eastern Europe, mostly due to the political, cultural, scientific, and military influence of the Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth. Today, Polish is spoken by over 38.5 million native speakers in Poland and it is spoken as a second language in western parts of the Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine. Because of the emigration from Poland during various time periods, millions of Polish speakers can be found in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, and so on. There are over 46 million Polish language speakers around the world.

"Standard" Polish is still spoken somewhat differently in different regions of the country, although the differences between these broad "dialects" are slight. There is never any difficulty in mutual understanding, and non-native speakers are generally unable to distinguish among them easily. The differences are slight compared to different dialects of English, for example. The regional differences correspond mainly to old tribal divisions from around a thousand years ago; the most significant of these in terms of numbers of speakers are Great Polish (spoken in the west), Lesser Polish (spoken in the south and southeast), Mazovian (Mazur) spoken throughout the central and eastern parts of the country, and Silesian spoken in the southwest. Mazovian shares some features with the Kashubian language.

Polish language is awfully difficult to master, however, learning a few key phrases will definitely smooth your time in Krakow. Crucial to achieve this will be learning how to pronounce each letter or combination of letters, especiall those which don't exist in your alphabet. Many letters represent the same sounds as they do in English. Listed below are those particular to Polish.