Although a codified orthographic standard is not associated with hierarchisation, it is worth considering the status of various variants with a more specific description of language units in mind. Spelling proves to be subject to variant relatively rarely, but e.g. names of historical and literary periods are a subgroup that is wellestablished in the linguistic awareness of those who write in Polish. The spelling that corresponds better with the Polish orthographic standard assumes a small letter at the beginning of examples such as średniowiecze (the Middle Ages), odrodzenie (the Renaissance) or romantyzm (Romanticism). This advantage, which arises from the relations observed in a group of nouns, translates not only into deeming such forms as model ones but also into using them in academic texts, where forms written with capital letters are unsuitable as ones resulting from a simplification.
The selected orthographic variants prove to be popular in language practice and omitted from codification. The spelling Noc św. Bartłomieja (St. Bartholomew’s Day) has a great advantage: despite the formally ambiguous name, it identifies a particular historical event. The absence from the orthographic dictionary should not always translate into the statement of non-prescriptiveness. Other variants, some of which were recorded as early as in the lexicography of the Polish People’s Republic, e.g. pośpieszny and pospieszny (hasty), require a description allowing for the specificity of a multi-layer standard.
The issue of variation of acronyms has never been systematically studied in the Polish linguistic literature. The terminological differentiation between the terms abbreviation and acronym has been an object of linguists’ interest multiple times but semantic ranges of both notions have not been clearly delimited. It is assumed in this paper that acronyms are words founded by corresponding proper names being open compounds, that is one-word abbreviations of proper names. The object of the discussion is only acronyms motivated by native words and therefore forms such as FIAT (variants: F.I.A.T., Fiat), Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, were not taken into consideration. The acronyms were excerpted from Wielki słownik skrótów i skrótowców (Great Dictionary of Abbreviations and Acronyms) by Piotr Müldner- Nieckowski. Containing 74,370 shortened forms of words and expressions present in Polish texts from the period 1974–2006, it is the largest dictionary of this kind in Poland. Other dictionaries of abbreviations record a significantly lower number thereof: from 3,700 to 12,744.
Variation of acronyms regards ten-odd situations but only nominative forms of acronyms were taken into account. A separate issue is inflection alteration of abbreviations. The presented material demonstrates a variety of acronym variance. A valuable supplementation would be presenting the frequency of individual variance types, which, however, requires separate research.