Masurian dialect

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Masurian Ethnolect (Masurian: Mazurská Gádka/Mazurská Gádkia; Polish: Mazurski; German: Masurisch) is a dialect group of the Polish language, spoken by Masurians in a part of East Prussia that belongs to today's Poland.

Mazurská Gádka
Native to Poland (Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship)
Region Masuria
Native speakers 5 000 - 15 000
Language family Indo-European


Since the 14th century, some settlers from Masovia started to settle in southern Prussia, which had been devastated by the crusades of the Teutonic Knights against the native Old Prussians. According to other sources, people from Masovia did not move to southern Prussia until the time of the Protestant Reformation, Prussia having become Lutheran in 1525. The Masurians were mostly of the Protestant faith, in contrast to the neighboring Roman Catholic people of the Duchy of Masovia, which was incorporated into the Polish kingdom in 1526. A new dialect developed in Prussia, isolated from the remaining Polish language area. The Masurian dialect group has many Low Saxon, German and Old Prussian words mixed in with Polish-language endings.[1]

Beginning in the 1870s, Imperial German officials restricted the usage of languages other than German in Prussia's eastern provinces.[2] While in 1880 Masurians were still treated as Poles by the German Empire, at the turn of century the German authorities undertook several measures to Germanise and separate them from the Polish nation by creating a separate identity.[3] After World War I the East Prussian plebiscite was held on July 11, 1920 according to the Treaty of Versailles, in which the Masurians had to decide whether they wanted to be part of the Second Polish Republic or remain in German East Prussia; about 98% voted for Germany.

By the early 20th century, most Masurians were at least bilingual and could speak Low Saxon and German; in some areas about half of them still spoke Masurian, at least at home. In 1900, according to the German census there were 142.049 Masurians speaking Masurian.[4] In 1925, only 40,869 people gave Masurian as their native language, many considering German their first language, considering Masurian merely as their domestic dialect, By the early 1920s there were also some Masurians who had their separate identity, claiming that Masurians are a nation. Most of them were members of Masurenbund. Their main goal was to grant Masurians some minority laws inside Germany, but there were also some separatists. In the early 1930s, support for the Nazi Party was high in Masuria, especially in elections in 1932 and 1933. Nazi political rallies were organized in the Masurian dialect during the campaigning.[2]

After 1933 the usage of the Masurian dialect was prohibited by the National Socialist authorities. By 1938 most Masurian place and personal names had been changed to "pure" German substitutes. From 1939 on it was forbidden to hold church services in Masurian.

The replacement of Masurian in favor of German was not completed by the time the Soviet Red Army conquered Masurian East Prussia in January 1945, in World War II. The territory was transferred to Poland according to the postwar Potsdam Conference. During the wartime fighting and post-war deportations in the subsequent decades, most Masurian-speakers left Masuria for western Germany, especially to post-war West Germany, where they were quickly assimilated into the German mainstream.

Situation in XXI century[edit]

According to some scientists like Andrzej Sakson, there are about 5.000 - 10.000 ethnic Masurians left in Poland. According to the Polish census from 2011 there are only 1.376 of them who identify themselves as Masurians. Most Masurians live in Germany now, but due to the German law the ethnicity and natonality are not determined in their census.

There is a lack of surveys on the knowledge of the ethnolect both in Poland and Germany, but there are mostly elders who can communicate in Masurian with some fluency. The sole group who speak Masurian on a daily basis are so called Russian Masurians, who are the descendants of colonists who arrived to Siberia at the end of the 19th century. They have lived in isolation from the other groups, thus they were neither Germanised, nor Polonised. Their speech acquired many Russian loanwords, though.[5][6]

Situation start to get better. Since 2015 Sorkwity Masurian Culture Festival started to promote Masurian dialect,[7] people start to create a folk music,[8] some schools organize competitions of Masurian speech,[9][10] and in the Internet people started to promote ethnolect using social media.[11] In 2016 was founded The Masurian Council promoting culture and Masurian ethnolect.[12] Meanwhile, some activists have also started a process of linguistical normalization to promote and save the ethnolect.[13]

Dialect or Language[edit]

There are several scientists considering masurian as a language [14] or calling masurian as a language,[15][16] others call masurian as a dialect or even subdialect.[17]

Linguistic features[edit]

  • Mazurzenie: the consonants corresponding to Standard Polish cz, sz, , ż are pronounced c, s, dz, z
  • Asynchronous pronunciation of soft labials b', p', f', w'bj/, pj/, fj/, wj/
  • Sometimes, intensive palatalization of k, g, ch to ć, , ś (a similar process to the Kashubian palatalization)
  • Labialization of the vowel o (sometimes also u) in Anlaut
  • Vowel y approaching i
  • Before ł vowels i and y pronounced like u, e.g. buł, zuł (był, żył)
  • Denasalization of the nasal vowels ą and ę as o and e
  • In some varieties ę becomes ã (nasal a nosowe), which is pronounced after denasalization an, analogical changes for groups eN, like. dzień - dzian

Dialects of Masurian[edit]

Masurian has five dialects:[18]

  • Ostróda dialect (Ostróda, Olsztynek) - Denasalization of the nasal vowels ą and ę as o and e - No Mazurzenie (the consonants corresponding to Standard Polish cz, sz, dż, ż are pronounced c, s, dz, z) - Common á - Labialization (ô, û - uo, uu) - Before ł vowels i and y pronounced like u, e.g. buł, zuł (był, żył).
  • West-masurian dialect (Działdowo, Nidzica, Szczytno) - Irregularly occurring á and labialization - Mni where Polish mi ( mniasto, kamnień) - As in Ostróda district apear and have dominant position psi, bzi, (w)zi, f(si) to pchi, bhI etc. - Denasalization of the nasal vowels ą and ę as o and e.
  • Center-masurian dialect (Giżycko, Mrągowo, Pisz, Biała Piska) - The most common intermediate á - The most common archaic ř (in polish sound as ) - Frecuent labialization - Apear and have dominant position pchi, bhI to psi, bzi etc. - Dominate pronunciation ni instead of mni - niasto, kanień etc. - Soft k, g, ch when is before a for example kia, gia, chia - Polish ą i ę like ón, on, én, en.
  • East-masurian dialect (Łek, Ôleck) - Polish ś, ć, ź pronounced like sz, cz, ż (for example spacz, bÿcz) - Á almost does not exist - Frequently a is something between a and e (ä – mätkiä) - Synchronous pronunciation of soft labials b', p', f', w' change to bj, pj, fj, wj - Ch change to ś (kosianÿ, siätä) - Less frequent é and ó.
  • North-masurian dialect (Węgorzewo, Gołdap) - in the early 20th century almost disappeared, in the area Węgorzewa known for up to a few percent of the population (in the nineteenth century, more than half), in district of Gołdap 1% (in the nineteenth century, approx. 20%). - Very archaic sound for r - A relatively frequent á.

Grammatical Cases[edit]


singular plural
Nominative ksiát ksiátÿ
Genitive ksiátu/ksiáta ksiátów
Dative ksiát|oju, ochiu, oziu ksiátám
Accusative ksiát, ksíáta ksiátÿ
Instrumental ksiátem ksiát|ani, amni, ami
Locative ksiácie ksiátach
Vocative ksiácie! ksiátÿ!

The verb "to be"[edit]

"To be" in present tense[21]
masurian general


Masurian Polish
Em je Ja jestem
Tÿ Tÿś je Ty jesteś
Ón/Óna Ón/Óna jes On/Ona jest
Mÿ Em só/Mÿ jest My jesteśmy
Wÿ Wyśta só/Wÿ jeśteśta Wy jesteście
Óni/Óne Óni/Óne só Oni/One są

Some Gramatical differences[edit]


Masurian Polish
Formal forms Wÿ/Pan/Pani robziče

Matkia mogli

Pan/Pani robi

Matka mogła

Past tense Niáł Mi
Present tense Mám, Dám

Má, Padá


Mam, Dam

Ma, Pada,


Present Pasive Participle Zrobziónÿ Zrobiony
Transgressive Robzióncÿ Robiąc
Reflexive Verb Zrobzióno bÿło Zrobiło się
Noun ("ja") Francÿjá, stacÿjá Francja, stacja
Noun ("ka") Matkia, Dékia Matka, Nakrycie
Accusative case (sing.) Gádkie, Zÿcherkie Gadkę, Agrafkę
Instrumental case (pl.) Ludžani / Ludžoma

Łapani / Łapóma



Genitive (sing.) Zÿčá, Pisaniá Życia, Pisania
Genitive (pl.) Ludžám




Dative (sing.) Psoziu




Adjective (in genitive, pl.) Dobréch




Adjective (in instrumental, pl.) Dobrém Dobrym
Adjective (in genitive,

feminine sing.)





Adjective (in genitive,

masculine sing.)





Adjective (superlative form) ziénksÿ Największy
Adjective ("ni") Zÿtnÿ




z + s

z + z

z sobó

z zgniłéch

ze sobą

ze zgniłych

w + w w Francÿji we Francji

Writing system[edit]


Masurian alphabet Examples
a, A pask, Nikołajki
á, Á wáju
ä, Ä wschodnie mätkiä
b, B bór
c, C cółno
č, Č spač, spacź
d, D dóra
e, E psies
é, É mléko
f, F fejfka
g, G geš, gesź
h, H héwo
i, I mÿgi, migi
j, J jo
k, K klémpa
l, L listkář, listkárż
ł, Ł głupsi
m, M moznošč, moznosźcź
n, N nelka
ń, Ń přÿńdó, prżińdó
o, O muchor
ó, Ó dómb
ô, Ô ôčec, uocźec
p, P prask
r, R rek
ř, Ř wéngoř, wéngorż
s, S saniec
š, Š šwam, sźwam
ś (si), Ś psiwo, Gołdapś
t, T tlo
u, U muši, musźi
û, Û ûlica, uulica
w, W wáju
ÿ, Ÿ nÿstÿ, nysti
z, Z zégáwka
ž, Ž kižlák, kiż'lák
ź, Ź bzije, gołómbź
Džałdowo, Dżiałdowo

Masurian phonetics[edit]

ř - Raised alveolar non-sonorant trill

ó - Close-mid back rounded vowel

á - Open back unrounded vowel

é (after i) - Close-mid front unrouended vowel

ä - Near-open front unrouended vowel

w - Voiced bilabial fricative

f - Voiceless bilabial fricative

š - Voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant

ž - Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant

č - Voiceless palato-alveolar affricate

- Voiced palato-alveolar affricate

ÿ - Near-cloe near-fron unrounded vowel

Small dictionary[edit]


Masurian Ethnolect German Polish
abštÿsikant Junggeselle walarek, zalotnik
aštÿchnÿ hastig porywczy
bach Kind dziecko
best flieder bez
bónowač herumschwirren bzykać
bónÿ Bohnen fasola
brédek Brötchen bułka
buber Saubohne bób
bulwÿ Kartoffeln ziemniaki
bursa Geldbörse portmonetka
cajtunek Zeitung gazeta
cegój warum? dlaczego?
čiskač werfen rzucić
chrachór Taucher nurek
cÿtrona Zitrone cytryna
dek Dach dach
drómel Trommel bęben
drón Drohn truteń
drózdÿ Stare szpaki
durowač bestehen trwać
dÿšlo Deichsel dyszel
érdbera Walderdbeere poziomka
fana Fahne flaga
farÿna Zucker cukier
feler Fehler błąd
fifák schlitzohr nieszczery
flanca Sämling sadzonka
frÿštÿk Frühstück śniadanie
gbur Bauer, Landwirt rolnik, gospodarz
geš Gans gęś
giérÿ Beine nogi
gréfnÿ flink sprytny
gřniota Gewitter burza z piorunami
háka Hacke motyka
háuptniasto Hauptstadt stolica
hučik Hut kapelusz
huncfot Weiberheld kobieciarz
jébel Hobel strug
jegoda Heidelbeere jagoda
káfej Kaffee kawa
káncÿnał Gesangbuch śpiewnik kościelny
kasta Kasten skrzynia
keksÿ Kekse ciasteczka
klapštula Butterbrot kanapka
kléta Gerücht plotka
kléwer Klee koniczyna
knéfel Knopf guzik
klónkra Holzlöffel drewniana łyżka
kokošiniec Hühnerstall kurnik
košór Feuerhaken pogrzebacz
kówera Umschlag koperta
krakia Krähe wrona
krÿstómbrÿ Stachelbeeren agrest
kukáwkia Kuckuck kukułka
kupač kaufen kupować
kurpsie Latschen chodaki
łapém offen otwarte
Mazurÿ Masuren (Volk) Mazurzy
méntel Schmetterling motyl
muchor Fliegenpilz muchomor
nicht niemand nikt
niések Sack worek, torba
ôbléta Kleidung odzież
oddazinÿ Hochzeit ślub
piláki Entenküken kaczuszki
pitróla Petroleum nafta
plik Glatze łysina
plómpa Pumpe pompa
plumÿ Pflaumen śliwki
práwÿ Röhrling borowik
prÿnc Prinz książę
psiwo, bir Bier piwo
pupa Puppe lalka
redošč freude radość
régal Wandregal półka
rektór Lehrer nauczyciel
scérnÿ echter prawdziwy
scubeł Hecht szczupak
stérač verlieren zgubić
stimač fotografieren fotografować
stréfle Strümpfe pończochy
šurek Knabe chłopczyk
šwam Badeschwamm gąbka
táskia Tasse filiżanka
téja Tee herbata
tÿna Tonne beczka
topek Töpfchen nocnik
tropki Tropfen kropelki
waba Wabe włoszczyzna
wálnÿ gross duży
wašlap Geschirrtuch ścierka
wej lo! sieh mal! spójrz tylko!
wéla Welle fala
wérÿ Bett łóżko
zaft Saft sok
za šiła ziemlich viel zbyt wiele
zaûsnik Ohrring kolczyk
zdrednie Gefährlich niebiezpiecznie
zégáwka, zégáwkia Brennesseln pokrzywa
zietř Wind wiatr
zrének Morgen poranek
zÿcher ze jo selbstverständlich oczywiście

Example - Lord's Prayer[edit]


Masurian Polish Czech English
Ôjce nas, chtórnÿš je w niebzie

Niech še šwénči Twoje mniano,

Niech přÿńdže Twoje królestwo

ji béndže Twoja wola

Jek w niebzie tozéz ji na žémni.

Chléba naségo powsedniégo daj náma džišaj.

Ji ôtpušč náma nase zinÿ,

Jek ji mÿ ôtpuscawa nasém zinowajcám.

Ji nie wódž náju na pokusenie

Lo zbaw’ náju ôt złégo


Ojcze nasz, któryś jest w niebie,
święć się imię Twoje,
przyjdź królestwo Twoje,
bądź wola Twoja
jako w niebie tak i na ziemi.
Chleba naszego powszedniego daj nam dzisiaj.
I odpuść nam nasze winy,
jako i my odpuszczamy naszym winowajcom.
I nie wódź nas na pokuszenie,
ale zbaw nas ode złego.
Otče náš, jenž jsi na nebesích,
posvěť se jméno Tvé
Přijď království Tvé.
Buď vůle Tvá,
jako v nebi, tak i na zemi.
Chléb náš vezdejší dej nám dnes
A odpusť nám naše viny,
jako i my odpouštíme naším viníkům
a neuveď nás v pokušení,
ale zbav nás od zlého.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our dailybread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


List of city names[29][30]
Masurian Polish
Bziáłá Biała
Džałdów Działdowo
Gołdapś Gołdap
Jáńsbork Pisz
Lec Giżycko
Łék Ełk
Nibork Nidzica
Nikołajki Mikołajki
Ôleck Olecko
Ôlštÿnek Olsztynek
Ôřés Orzysz
Ôstród Ostróda
Pasÿń/Pasÿmek Pasym
Rastémbork Kętrzyn
Rÿn Ryn
Scÿtno Szczytno
Wéngobork Węgorzewo
Zielbark Wielbark
Zondzbork Mrągowo

Example of poem[edit]


siodám ná koło

kiej féin pogodá

dumám tédÿ

nád zÿciem Mazurá

ajw násu ziamiá

ôddÿcha w dáli

ány rÿchtÿk pozwalá

mniá do dumániá

nád mójá réjzá

přéd siébie chućko jidé

ná drogách zÿciá

chtóré ûmÿká

chtórégo nie zabácé

po śmiérci, chtóra z latámi

přéniká …

wsÿtko je féin

ajw ji téraz

jék budzié po tym co přÿjdzié

nié ziém…?

jédno jé péwné zé ajw jé féin

ná mójéj réjzié ..

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Braun, Hermann (1888/1925). Alte und neue Bilder aus Masuren: Eine Geschichte der Stadt und des Kreises Angerburg.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b Clark, Christopher (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600–1947. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard. p. 776. ISBN 0-674-02385-4. 
  3. ^ Becoming German: Lessons from the Past for the Present Brian McCook in Leitkultur and Nationalstolz-Tabu -German Phenomena? Bonn, April 2002 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation pages 33-42
  4. ^ Rademacher, Michael. "Geschichte der fremdsprachigen Minderheiten in Deutschland 1871 - 1945". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  5. ^ "Mazurzy na Syberii | Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Mazurskie wioski na Syberii". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  7. ^ " - Multimedialny Portal o Mazurach - Kultura mazurska zagościła w Sorkwitach". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  8. ^ "JUBILEUSZ 5-LECIA ZESPOŁU LUDOWEGO "MAZURSKA KOSACZEWINA" - Profil użytkownika Agnieszka Roszig - Kętrzyn". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  9. ^ "VIII Konkurs Mowy Mazurskiej "MAZURZYMY PO KĘTRZYŃSKU"Informacja Turystyczna Kętrzyn « Informacja Turystyczna Kętrzyn". Informacja Turystyczna Kętrzyn. 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  10. ^ "Po kętrzyńsku mazurzy coraz więcej osóbNasze Miasto Kętrzyn « Nasze Miasto Kętrzyn". Nasze Miasto Kętrzyn (in Polish). 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  11. ^ "Studenci uczą mazurskiej gwary w internecie | Aktualności o polskiej nauce, badaniach, wydarzeniach, polskich uczelniach i instytutach badawczych". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  12. ^ "Mazurska gadka". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  13. ^ a b "Ortografia i wymowa | Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  14. ^ "Sprachen des europaeischen Ostens - Lexikon - Okuka M - 2002 –". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  15. ^ Kertzer, David I.; Arel, Dominique (2002-01-01). Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Censuses. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521004275. 
  16. ^ Wang, Q. Edward; Fillafer, Franz L. (2007-01-01). The Many Faces of Clio: Cross-cultural Approaches to Historiography, Essays in Honor of Georg G. Iggers. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845452704. 
  17. ^ Karaś, Halina. "Gwary polskie - Nowsze dialekty mieszane". Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  18. ^ "Gwary mazurskie | Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče". Retrieved 2016-08-25. 
  19. ^ "Mazurskie słówko na dziś - Timeline | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  20. ^ "Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče | Strona poświęcona mazurskiej mowie, tradycji i historii". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  21. ^ "Mazurskie słówko na dziś - Timeline | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  22. ^ "Mazurskie słówko na dziś - Timeline | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  23. ^ "Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče | Strona poświęcona mazurskiej mowie, tradycji i historii". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  24. ^ "Mazurská gádka Public Group | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  25. ^ "MTE". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  26. ^ "Słowniczek gwary mazurskiej". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  27. ^ Лексикограф, Leksykograf-- Lexicographer-- (2016-08-04). "Linguae in statu nascendi (Silesiaca et al.): Ojcze nasz po mazursku i układ klawiatury do tego". Linguae in statu nascendi (Silesiaca et al.). Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  28. ^ "Ortografia i wymowa | Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče". Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  29. ^ "Mapa Mazur | Mazurská.eu – mazurskie niejsce w jinterneče". Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  30. ^ "Mazurskie słówko na dziś | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  31. ^ Polska, Grupa Wirtualna. "Réjza - Mazurska Strofka- Szkiełkiem ji psiórem -" (in Polish). Retrieved 2016-08-23.