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Polish Language - Modern vs. Traditional



There are many factors shaping language and contributing to its modifications. Polish language is currently undergoing radical changes because of the sudden globalization movement and open boundaries. The entire world is in a constant race to become civilized and catch up on the western countries standards of living. As a result, technological progress most advanced in the western European and North American countries becomes widespread in the less developed countries. New areas of technology, new concepts, and continuous innovations bring into life new vocabulary, which gets quickly adopted in all kinds of languages around the world. This process, vigorously opposed to in some countries for the language impurity, is enthusiastically embraced in other counties. In case of Poland, there are probably as many supporters as there are critics of the new trends in Polish language.


Modern Traditional Polish

The formal literary Polish language is usually very carefully revised and approved by linguistic experts. They test new expressions for compliance with existing rules that regulate what is correct or incorrect in Polish native tongue. While up to a decade ago, the language was changing in a very slow motion; the last several years abounded with incredible invasion of new foreign phrases and terms to define the progress that has come from the West. There are words like shop, weekend, link, Internet, show business, email, etc. that surround people everywhere and force a foreign language upon them. Now, the Polish language experts face a great challenge. How do those foreign words behave in Polish language? Should they be spelled as the original spelling calls for, or should they be spelled as the sounds are heard, which is commonly known by Poles? But if they are spelled in accordance to the sound rule, so "the show business" becomes "szoł biznes", or "weekend" becomes "łikend", there lurk other conflicts. In formal Polish language, some letters don't follow others. For instance, "ł" is never followed by "i", thus "łikend" is not an option. On the other hand, there are no easy ways to get a widely acceptable Polish translation for those new concepts. While weekend means the end of a week and as such could be translated word for word, the Polish translation is long and not as precise as weekend can be. Similar is a case with other words, such as email and business. Although, there are a couple of linguistic Polish versions of business to express the same concept, most of them are long and not as easy to say as biznes is. Some words, like email, are an ultimate challenge since there are substitutes for them in formal Polish language.


As the time goes by, so many people get confused due to the foreign language invasion, that they no longer ask what is linguistically correct, they just embrace the new concepts and sprinkle with them all aspects of their lives. Therefore, many magazines and newspapers start to sound like a weird jargon mixing elements of traditional Polish tongue with all kinds of gibberish slang created by inflecting foreign words, which are being treated as native Polish words. Thus, "to send an email" becomes "emailować", "to send a written message over a cell phone" turns into "smsować". The most adaptive group in the society are the teenagers, who constantly chase the fashion and newest trends. They also are the least critical group toward the linguistic changes literarily Polish language is suffering from. After all, teenagers are the ones expected to catch up on the rest of the world. The faster they adapt to the new technology and reality, the better off they will be. Does the purity of Polish language really mean anything in this fight for survival? Teenage slang does not question that...




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