Kashubian language

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Kaszëbsczi jãzëk
Native to Poland
Region Pomerania
Native speakers
108,000  (2011 census)[1]
Latin (Kashubian alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
In official use, as a regional language, in some communes of Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Kashubian Language Council
Language codes
ISO 639-2 csb
ISO 639-3 csb
Glottolog kash1274[3]
Linguasphere 53-AAA-cb

Kashubian or Cassubian (Kashubian: kaszëbsczi jãzëk, pòmòrsczi jãzëk, kaszëbskò-słowińskô mòwa; Polish: język kaszubski, język pomorski, język kaszubsko-słowiński) is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages.[4]

Kashubian dialects area (with ethnonyms groups)

Assumed origins[edit]

Kashubian is assumed to have evolved from the language spoken by some tribes of Pomeranians called Kashubians, in the region of Pomerania, on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea between the Vistula and Oder rivers.

Related languages[edit]

It is closely related to Slovincian and both are dialects of Pomeranian. Many linguists, in Poland and elsewhere, consider it a divergent dialect of Polish, although now it is usually recognized as the closest existing relative of Polish.[citation needed] Dialectal diversity is so great within Kashubian that a speaker of southern Kashubian has considerable difficulty in understanding a speaker of the northernmost dialects.

Like Polish, Kashubian includes about 5% loanwords from German (such as kùńszt "art"). Unlike Polish, these are mostly from Low German and only occasionally from High German.[5] Other sources of loanwords include the Baltic languages, Russian and Polish. In dialects of Kashubian a schwa occurs.

The earliest printed documents in Kashubian date from the end of the 16th century. The modern orthography was first proposed in 1879. Following the collapse of communism in Poland, attitudes on the status of Kashubian have been gradually changing. It is increasingly seen as a fully-fledged language, as it is taught in state schools and has some limited usage on public radio and television.[6][citation needed]

Today's speakers[edit]

In the 2011 census, 106,000 [7] people in Poland declared that they mainly use Kashubian at home. All Kashubian speakers are also fluent in Polish. A number of schools in Poland use Kashubian as a teaching language. It is an official alternative language for local administration purposes in Gmina Sierakowice, Gmina Linia and Gmina Parchowo in Pomeranian Voivodeship.

Kashubian literature[edit]

Important for Kashubian literature was Xążeczka dlo Kaszebov by Doctor Florian Ceynowa (1817–1881). Hieronim Derdowski (1852-1902 in Winona, Minnesota) was another significant author who wrote in Kashubian, as was Doctor Aleksander Majkowski (1876–1938) from Kościerzyna, who wrote the Kashubian national epic The Life and Adventures of Remus. Jan Trepczyk was a poet who wrote in Kashubian, as was Stanisław Pestka. Kashubian literature has been translated into Czech, Polish, English, German, Belarusian, Slovene and Finnish. A considerable body of Christian literature has been translated into Kashubian, including the New Testament, much of it by Fr. Adam Ryszard Sikora (OFM).[8] Rev. Franciszek Grucza[9] graduated from a Catholic seminary in Pelplin. He was the first priest to introduce Catholic liturgy in Kashubian language.


Following the collapse of Communism in Poland, attitudes on the status of Kashubian have been gradually changing. It has been included in the program of school education in Kashubia although not as a language of teaching nor as a required subject for every child, but as a foreign language taught 3 hours per week at parents' explicit request. Kashubian has some limited usage on public radio and had on public television. Since 2005 Kashubian has enjoyed legal protection in Poland as an official regional language. It is the only language in Poland with this status, which was granted by the Act of 6 January 2005 on National and Ethnic Minorities and on the Regional Language of the Polish Parliament.[10] The act provides for its use in official contexts in ten communes where Kashubian speakers constitute at least 20 percent of the population.[citation needed]


Kashubian dialects area in the early 20th century

As wrote Friedrich Lorentz in the early 20th century there were three Kashubian dialects.


Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Kashubian:

Wszëtczi lëdze rodzą sã wòlny ë równy w swòji czëstnoce ë swòjich prawach. Mają òni dostóne rozëm ë sëmienié ë nôlégô jima pòstãpòwac wobec drëdzich w dëchù bracënotë.

(All people are born free and equal in their dignity and rights. They are given reason and conscience and they shall create their relationships to one another according to the spirit of brotherhood.)[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011. Raport z wyników - Central Statistical Office of Poland
  2. ^ European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kashubian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael, Language and Nationalism in Europe, Oxford University Press, 2000, p.199, ISBN 0-19-823671-9
  5. ^ Anna Gliszczyńska. Germanizmy leksykalne południowej kaszubszczyzny (Na materiale książki Bolesława Jażdżewskiego Wspomnienia kaszubskiego "gbura"). „LingVaria”. 1 (3), s. 79–89, 2007. Kraków: Uniwersytet Jagielloński. ISSN 1896-2122.
  6. ^ "The Institute for European Studies, Ethnological institute of UW" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  7. ^ Ł.G. (2012-07-26). "GUS podaje: ponad 100 tys. osób mówi po kaszubsku". Kaszubi.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  8. ^ o. prof. UAM dr hab. Adam Sikora OFM - Franciszkanie
  9. ^ Peter Hauptmann, Günther Schulz, Kirche im Osten: Studien zur osteuropäischen Kirchengeschichte und Kirchenkunde, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000, pp.44ff, ISBN 3-525-56393-0 [2]
  10. ^ http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/DetailsServlet?id=WDU20050170141
  11. ^ Omniglot


  • Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville. G. (2002). The Slavonic Languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28078-8
  • Gyula Décsy, Die linguistische Struktur Europas, Vergangenheit — Gegenwart — Zukunft, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1973
  • Friedhelm Hinze, Wörterbuch und Lautlehre der deutschen Lehnwörter im Pomoranischen (Kaschubischen), Berlin 1965
  • Język kaszubski. Poradnik encyklopedyczny. ed. J. Treder, Rev. 2. corrected and expanded UG, Oficyna Czec, Gdańsk, 2006
  • J. Borzyszkowski, J. Mordawski, J. Treder: Historia, geografia, język i piśmiennictwo Kaszubów; J. Bòrzëszkòwsczi, J. Mòrdawsczi, J. Tréder: Historia, geògrafia, jãzëk i pismienizna Kaszëbów, Wëdowizna M. Rôżok przë wespółrobòce z Institutã Kaszëbsczim, Gduńsk 1999, p. 128
  • Aleksander Labuda, Słowôrz kaszëbsko-polsczi. Słownik polsko-kaszubski, Gdańsk 1982
  • Friedrich Lorentz, Geschichte der Pomoranischen (Kaschubischen) Sprache, Berlin and Leipzig, 1925
  • Nestor, N. & Hickey, T. (2009). Out of the Communist frying pan and into the EU fire? Exploring the case of Kashubian [3].
  • Nomachi Motoki, On the recipient passive in the Kashubian Language: Annex to Milka Ivić's syntactic inventory for Slavonic dialectology [4]
  • Stefan Ramułt, Słownik języka pomorskiego, czyli kaszubskiego, Kraków, 1893 i.e. "Dictionary of the Pomeranian (Seacoast) or Kashubian language" (Kraków, 1893)
  • Stefan Ramułt, Słownik języka pomorskiego czyli kaszubskiego. Scalił i znormalizował Jerzy Treder, Gdańsk, 2003
  • C. F. i F. N. Voegelin, Classification and Index of the World's Languages. Elsevier, New York 1977

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