Lechitic languages

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Linguistic classification Indo-European
Glottolog lech1241[1]

The Lechitic (or Lekhitic) languages are a language group consisting of Polish and several other languages and dialects that originaly were spoken in the area these peoples lived. It was predominent in the areas of modern Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Balkans and most parts of modern Germany.[2] It is one of the branches of the larger West Slavic language family; the other branches of this family are the Czech–Slovak languages and the Sorbian languages. Sorban dialect is still spoken in parts of Eastern Germany.


The Book of Henryków, containing what is claimed to be the first written Polish sentence
Kashubian jamboree in Łeba in 2005 – banner showing the Kashubian name of Kartuzy County

The Lechitic languages are:


Characteristics of Lechitic languages include:[4]

  • Preservation of nasal vowels.
  • Development of proto-Slavic ě, e, ę into a, o, ǫ before hard consonants (or other similar differentiations of these vowels depending on dialect). This gives rise to alternations such as modern Polish lato ("summer", nominative) vs. lecie (locative), pięć ("five") vs. piąty ("fifth").
  • Vocalization of the syllabic consonants r, r', l', l. Compare modern Polish gardło ("throat") with Czech hrdlo.
  • Transposition of or, ol, er, el into ro etc. in many words between consonants. Compare Polish mleko "milk".
  • Retention of Proto-Slavic *dz as an affricate, rather than a plain fricative z.
  • Lack of the gɣ transition. Compare Polish góra, Czech hora ("mountain").
  • The so-called fourth palatalization of velars in Polish and Kashubian.


The term Lechitic is applied both to the languages of this group and to Slavic peoples speaking these languages (known as Lechites). The term is related to the name of the legendary Polish forefather Lech and the name Lechia by which Poland was formerly sometimes known. For more details, see Lechites.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lechitic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Lekhitic languages, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 2008
  3. ^ a b Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011. Raport z wyników Archived 2012-12-21 at the Wayback Machine. - Central Statistical Office of Poland Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "GUS2011" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ Zenon Klemensiewicz, Historia języka polskiego, 7th edition, Wydawnictwo naukowe PWN, Warsaw 1999. ISBN 83-01-12760-0

See also[edit]