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the language of the Poles. Polish is spoken in the Polish People’s Republic, France, Great Britain, the USA, Canada, South America, and the USSR. Speakers number about 40 million (1972, estimate). Polish belongs to the West Slavic group of the Indo-European language family. Five basic dialect groups are distinguished: Great Polish, Little Polish, Mazovian, Silesian, and Kashubian; the last-named is the most distinct.
Polish possesses the nasal vowels [p] and [g] but has no long vowels or diphthongs. There are consonantal oppositions based on palatalization and voice. Polish possesses eight sibilants. Word accent is dynamic and falls on the penultimate syllable. Polish is an inflected language; in the course of inflection the phonological makeup of the stem may change significantly. The language has three basic types of nominal declension. In addition to the category of animate-inanimate there is a grammatical category that embraces masculine personal nouns; this category appears in the nominative and accusative case forms of masculine substantives and in the agreement of substantives with other nouns and with certain verb forms. Pronouns have both full and enclitic forms. There is a special type of collective numeral. The indicative mood distinguishes four tenses, and the conditional mood two. All conjugated forms, simple and compound, indicate person morphologically. There are special verb forms for indeterminate and generalized subjects. Declined verbal forms include the active and passive participles and the verbal noun; the gerund and infinitive are invariable.
The literary language took shape in the 15th and 16th centuries under the influence first of the Great and Little Polish dialects and later of the Mazovian dialects. The first written text, the Kazania éwiçtokrzyskie (Sermons of the Holy Cross), dates from the late 14th century. The writing system is based on the Latin alphabet and uses digraphs and diacritics.
REFERENCESSelishchev, A. M. Slavianskoe iazykoznanie, vol. 1. Moscow, 1941.
Lehr-Spławń iski, T. Pol’skii iazyk Moscow, 1954. (Translated from Polish.)
Bol’shoi pol’sko-russkii slovar’. Moscow-Warsaw, 1967.
Bol’shoi russko-pol’skii slovar’, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Warsaw, 1970.
Doroszewski, W. Podstawy gramatykipolskiej, 2nd éd., part 1. Warsaw, 1963.
Klemensiewicz, Z., T. Lehr-Spławiński, and S. Urbańczyk. Gramatyka historyczna języ ka polskiego, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1964.
Szober, S. Gramatyka języka polskiego, 12th ed. Warsaw, 1971.
Stownik języka polskiego, vols. 1–11, with index. Warsaw, 1958–73.
T. S. TIKHOMIROVA