The past hundred years of the development of the Polish language, i.e. the period 1918-2018, is distinguished primarily for commemorative reasons connected with regaining independence by Poland after 123 years of partitions. It turns out, however, that the century can be easily captured in linguistic categories. As regards periodisation of the history of Polish, it encompasses the last four phases of the Modern Polish period, which are determined by a coincidence of six sociolinguistic trends and five major system development trends based on more than 150 processes and specific changes.
This paper is an attempt to demonstrate the most significant trends in the evolution of the grammatical system of the Polish language in the conventional period of the past century. Grammar, which determines the identity of a language, evolves much more slowly than vocabulary. The trend to simplify the system, which can be observed on the example of verbal inflection (decline of the past perfect tense, immobilisation of personal suffixes), and – to a lesser extent – nominal inflection (regression of the vocative case), is one of intra-linguistic changes. Many changes have social grounds, e.g. the increase in the level of education and the culture of writing results in the progressing intellectualization of forms of expression, which is manifested e.g. by using analytical prepositions in syntax or compounds in word formation. Finally, the changes in the social status of women are reflected in the category of appellative feminatives and surnames. Observable at the end of the Modern Polish period, the trend to expose gender in language, which diminished in the post-war period of the Polish People’s Republic, has become more dynamic for the past two decades.
The primary aim of this sketch is to present the changes which have occurred in the dictionaries of Polish compiled and published over the past century, since Poland regained independence. The changes concern the repertoire of the qualifiers used in the dictionaries. The major hypothesis adopted by the authors is related to the manner of categorising the reality by semantic fields determined by qualifiers.
This paper summarizes the author’s research on the category of common speech. It discussed briefly the evolution of the approaches dealing with the relative importance of common speech among other varieties of the Polish language as well as the issue of the common speech as an interactive, informal, situational, and less grammaticalised variety. The study also reveals the factors enabling this variety to expand and proliferate and defines certain features structuring the common, everyday text: its concreteness, visual and dialogical nature as well as immersion in a situation.
This paper is an attempt to signalise the factors determining the language of the Polish poetry of 1918-2018. Strictly literary programmes and considerations are emphasised and the immense impact of both global and domestic policy on shaping artistic and ideological attitudes of Polish poets are indicated.
This paper is dedicated to a discussion of the situation of Polish orthography over the past century. The analysis of successive periods is accompanied by a presentation of changes in both spelling itself and the method of pursuing the codification activity. Codification had consisted in taking resolutions announced officially in the updated edition of Pisownia polska (Polish spelling) by designated bodies until the 1970s. Minor changes and additions, the procedure and announcement of which give rise to doubts as to the extent of the codified standard and the function of the spelling dictionary, were introduced over the next fifty years. Codification understood as a set of evaluations concerning language units formulated clearly by experts has been blurred.
This paper discusses the issue of using the term norma językowa (a language standard) in the Polish prescriptive literature of the first half of the 20th century. It shows how this terms was developed and how the concept behind it had been called before this name was first used. It also points to the terms naming the groups of language users referred to by the language enthusiasts of those days, originally as recipients of warnings against language errors, and then as those who should propagate language culture. Hence, terms such as warstwy wykształcone (the educated class), inteligencja (the intelligentsia), osoby posługujące się polszczyzną literacką (people using literary Polish) are discussed. Finally, the criteria for evaluating the linguistic elements (the usage, language of writers, tradition) applied at that time are indicated.
The author summarises the concepts of the standard and its codification which had a significant influence on the understanding of language culture at the turn of the 21st century. She finds the holistic theory of language standard and culture formulated by Halina Kurkowska in 1971, which defines the standard as a part of a language, as a component of its internal organisation rather than as an external socially imposed linguistic behaviour, the most important for the present days. The standard is shaped by the usage and it is linguists’ duty to determine and describe its content and to codify what has been sanctioned by the social linguistic convention.
The author of this paper considers the identification of two levels of the language standard: the model standard and the functional (popular) standard, the most significant achievement of the Polish prescriptivism. The concepts by Danuta Buttler, Andrzej Markowski, Jan Miodek, Jadwiga Puzynina, Stanisław Gajda, Mirosław Bańko, which are discussed in this paper in detail, have all contributed to that. All researchers regard diversification of the standard as satisfaction of the needs of language users but they disagree on the concepts concerning its codification. An innovative manner of approaching the language standard at
the time of the “digital breakthrough” was formulated by Katarzyna Kłosińska, who argues that the approaches to the language standard applied to date do not correspond to the essence of online communication. The researcher warns codifiers against ethnocentrism and suggests that a set of “prescriptive universals” be used for standard codification.