Talk:Voivodeships of Poland

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Google Scholar hits[edit]

Google Scholar includes not only books but also articles:

województwo warmińsko-mazurskie:

"Warmia-Masuria Province" 5 hits [1]

"Warmian-Masurian Province" 7 hits [2]

"Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province" about 54 hits [3]

"Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship" 0 hits [4]

"Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship" 9 hits [5]

"Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship" about 46 hits [6]

województwo wielkopolskie:

"Wielkopolska Province" about 243 hits [7]

"Wielkopolskie Province" about 59 hits [8]

"Great Poland Province" about 17 hits [9]

"Greater Poland Province" about 13 hits [10]

"Wielkopolska Voivodeship" about 58 hits [11]

"Wielkopolskie Voivodeship" about 46 hits [12]

"Great Poland Voivodeship" 1 hit [13]

"Greater Poland Voivodeship" 10 hits [14]

This shows the huge mess in the translation of Polish administrative units into English. It's high time for Wikipedia to recommend the most sensible translation for each. Sylwia Ufnalska (talk) 21:42, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

The naming convention using nouns has the advantage of consistent translation of names of various institutions or geographic units, etc. in a given area (e.g. Wielkopolska National Park). Sylwia Ufnalska (talk) 21:51, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

This convention is exemplified by the above-mentioned Belczyk's list of Polish province names [15]:

dolnośląskie - the Lower Silesia Province
kujawsko-pomorskie - the Kujawy-Pomerania Province
lubelskie - the Lublin Province
lubuskie - the Lubuskie Province
łódzkie - the Łódź Province
małopolskie - the Małopolska Province
mazowieckie - the Mazovia Province
opolskie - the Opole Province
podkarpackie - the Podkarpacie Province
podlaskie - the Podlasie Province
pomorskie - the Pomerania Province
śląskie - the Silesia Province
świętokrzyskie - the Świętokrzyskie Province
warmińsko-mazurskie - the Warmia-Masuria Province
wielkopolskie - the Wielkopolska Province
zachodniopomorskie - the West Pomerania Province

This list is an appendix to Belczyk's very good article about translation of Polish geographic names, written in 2002. Note that nearly all the names use nouns. The only exceptions are "Świętokrzyskie" and "Lubuskie", because the names of these provinces derive from "Świętokrzyskie Mountains" and "Ziemia Lubuska" (nobody associates the provinces with "Święty Krzyż" and "Lubusz" i.e. the town of Lebus located in Germany). Sylwia Ufnalska (talk) 22:19, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

I like the idea proposed above, of Wikipedia trying its own hand at English renderings for the names of Polish provinces. But I have a few observations and suggestions:
1. Drop the "the" — it's "Lower Silesia Province," not "the Lower Silesia Province."
2. Belczyk's versions include Polish names (e.g., Lubuskie, Małopolska, Podkarpacie, Podlasie, Świętokrzyskie, Wielkopolska); English names (Silesia, Lower Silesia, Pomerania, West Pomerania); mixed Polish-English (Kujawy-Pomerania); Latin (Mazovia); and mixed Polish-Latin (Warmia-Masuria).
3. I do not object to a few familiar English names such as "Silesia" and "Pomerania" or to a mixed Polish-English name. But rather than Latin names (Mazovia, Masuria) I would use the Polish originals (Mazowsze, Mazury).
4. A reason to use the few English names noted above, apart from their familiarity, is that they are more readily pronounceable to English-speakers than the Polish originals. For the same reason, might we consider "Holy Cross" for "Świętokrzyskie" (which means "Holy Cross")?
Nihil novi (talk) 05:44, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
And Łódź means "boat", Pomorze means "by the sea", Śląskie means "from the wet place" or something. But we don't translate place names in this way. The only point I can see of translating these names is if the translated versions are likely to be more familiar to English-speaking readers than the original versions. Which I think is certainly the case with some of them (Lower Silesian, Silesian, Pomeranian, etc.) and certainly not the case with something like "Holy Cross". I think I would agree with the compiler of the above list on most of the examples (at least in terms of whether to translate or not) - for example, I don't think readers are more likely to recognize Greater Poland (as we currently have) than Wielkopolska. I agree that there should be no "the", but I also think the adjectival forms ought to be used where they exist (Silesian, Pomeranian), as this is an accurate translation of the Polish names (and Pomorze and Śląsk are definitely not the same as Pomorskie and Śląskie - not even close in fact).--Kotniski (talk) 06:32, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
All the Polish province names, without exception, are adjectives. It's simply a feature of the Polish language, nothing more. As Volunteer Marek says, rendering these Polish adjectival forms literally into English is like calling the American State of Wyoming "Wyomingian State", or New York State's Suffolk County—"Suffolkian County". One does not translate idiomatic usages uncritically between languages. Nihil novi (talk) 08:31, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
It's not like that at all - obviously the names of Wyoming and Suffolk are not adjectives, so there would be no reason to make them into adjectives. But the Polish names are adjectives, so if we want to translate those names accurately, we translate them using adjectives (where such exist - obviously for such words as Łódź and Wielkopolska there are no English adjectival forms other than just the noun used attributively).--Kotniski (talk) 06:42, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
The mere existence of an adjectival form in a foreign language does not mean one must use a corresponding adjective in English. There is an adjective, "Californian," but Americans call that entity "California State", "the State of California", or simply "California", but not "Californian State." What's the earthly point of using an adjectival form, in English, for a province of any country, when in English the noun is the usage? Nihil novi (talk) 08:49, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that there is no conclusive usage in English for these entities, so we're having to decide for ourselves what the most encyclopedic names would be. The difference with California is that California is the state, while Silesia is most definitely not the province.--Kotniski (talk) 13:02, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, there is no consistency to be found, and no authoritative sources we can turn to. In fact, the most authoritative guide for Polish naming conventions is WP itself. As you said, the decision is ours to make. I'm glad you mentioned Silesia, because that is a primary concern of mine. When the voivodeships were formed in 1999, tehy were (arbitrarily) given the names of historical and cultural regions, which unfortunately can create confusion between the two. Silesia is a case in point. Another is Mazowieckie, which excludes significant parts of Mazovian core territory like Łowicz, and includes areas that never have been considered as part of Mazovia. Podlaskie likewise includes the Suwalszczyzna.Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 13:15, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
The same may be said of Wielkopolska—and much, much more so of Małopolska. It can, indeed, be said of all Poland, whose boundaries have shifted mightily over the country's thousand-year history: first moving mostly eastward, eventually to return to the country's approximate starting position. And yet we still call it, throughout all these peregrinations, "Polska"—"Poland".
I dare say the same may also be said of any other country or province of a country. For example, what is now the American state of Massachusetts was once the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which included, among other things, the Province of Maine (now the state of Maine) and the present Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Similarly, the British Province of Virginia subsequently became the Commonwealth of Virginia, which eventually gave rise to the present states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and parts of Ohio. And the Province of New York originally included all the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania. More such examples could be cited from the history of the United States and other countries.
We should not succumb to a false sense of Polish exceptionalism and needlessly use geographic names and terms that are neither Polish nor English. Nihil novi (talk) 05:15, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Not quite. Łowicz is not in Mazowieckie, but it is certainly still in Mazovia. A more quinetessentially Mazovian town you will not find. Częstochowa, on the other hand, is in Śląskie, but is certainly not in Silesia. When I hear "province" in a Polish context, I think of Mazovia and Silesia, not Mazowieckie and Śląskie. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 06:11, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

When I hear "Mazowsze" ("Mazovia") and "Śląsk" (Polish Silesia), I think of Polish regions (described in "Polish historical regions"), not provinces (województwa). There is a crucial difference between Mazowsze (the region) and województwo mazowieckie (Mazowsze Province). Nihil novi (talk) 07:55, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think that's what we're all saying. Hence we should make the same distinction in English, where English provides words for making that distinction: Silesia for Śląsk, Silesian (Province/Voivodeship) for Śląskie. This is certainly not a term that is "not English" - Silesian is very English.--Kotniski (talk) 08:20, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm open to considering "Silesia Province", by analogy with the English-language "California State". "Silesian Province" prompts the question, "Which, or exactly what kind of, 'Silesian province' do you have in mind?" Nihil novi (talk) 08:49, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Polish provinces in Anglophone sources[edit]

"Local government in Poland is organized on three levels. The largest units, at the regional level, are the województwa (provinces), which were consolidated and reduced in number from 49 to 16 in 1999. At the next level are some 300 powiaty (counties or districts), followed by about 2,500 gminy (towns and rural communes)."

Page 931 features a map of Poland with the province locations indicated, and below it an alphabetical listing of the 16 provinces by their Polish names, complete with diacritics, without any attempt to Anglicize.

"Following the reform of the administrative structure in 1973-1975, the number of provinces (województwa) was increased from 22 to 49, of which three are the metropolitan cities of Warsaw, Łódź, and Kraków.... [I]ncreasing the number of provinces meant the reduction of each in size. In this way Warsaw was able to dilute the political importance of the provincial party chiefs."

Page 302 alphabetically lists the former 49 Polish provinces, named for principal city, explicitly as "provinces".

Nihil novi (talk) 05:22, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

GOVERNMENT... Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular–wojewodztwo): Dolnoslaskie (Lower Silesia), Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Kuyavia-Pomerania), Lodzkie, Lubelskie (Lublin), Lubuskie (Lubusz), Malopolskie (Lesser Poland), Mazowieckie (Masovia), Opolskie, Podkarpackie (Subcarpathia), Podlaskie, Pomorskie (Pomerania), Slaskie (Silesia), Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie (Warmia-Masuria), Wielkopolskie (Greater Poland), Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania).

The same information appears in the online CIA World Factbook ("Government" --> "Administrative divisions")
Please note: Above, where "English translations" of province names are given, they are in the noun ("Silesia"), not the adjective ("Silesian"), form.

Nihil novi (talk) 01:43, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Basic question[edit]

When foreigners coming to Poland hear for the first time "Greater Poland Voivideship", what do they usually associate it with? I guess that they think "something greater and Polish, but I have no idea what it is". When they hear "Wielkopolska Province", they simply think "a large administrative unit named Wielkopolska". Some Wikimedians say that we're not responsible for what happens outside Wikipedia. But we want Wikipedia to be a source of reliable and understandable information, used by everybody. Don't we? Sylwia Ufnalska (talk) 22:49, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Very well said.
Which is why Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Encyclopedia Americana, The Columbia Encyclopedia, and The CIA World Factbook ("Government" --> "Administrative divisions") render "województwo" as "province".
I agree about keeping "Wielkopolska" in the original Polish rather than rendering it as "Greater Poland", if only to prevent confusion with "Greaters" such as Greater London, Greater Khorasan, or the Greater German Reich. Nihil novi (talk) 04:29, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Brussels presentation of Polish regions[edit]

Polish regions have presented their recent projects. Both "region" and "voivodeship" were used. An official list, but compare "Wielkopolska Voivodship" and Xx236 (talk) 09:50, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for this!
The official list of "województwo" representations in Brussels demonstrates the inconsistency in Poland's English-language rendering of "województwo". We have "X Region", "X Voivodship [no e]", "Regional Office of X Voivodship [no e]", and "X Voivodship [no e] Regional Office".
I personally would reserve "Region" for historic Wielkopolska and Małopolska.
I see no advantage to "Voivodship" (with or without an "e"), for the excellent reason given by Sylwia Ufnalska, and agree with her advocacy of the most widely used term for such principal national subdivisions, "province".
Nihil novi (talk) 05:20, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Im my opinion only 'Voivodeship' is a proper way of translating Polish 'województwo'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Have you ever considered asking actual translators?[edit]

- I've heard so much about this Lubusz Province of yours! So, where's this Lubusz town that the whole province gets its name from?
- In Germany.
- Oh.

- I've heard so much about this Podlaskie Province of yours! So, where's this Podlaskie town that the whole province gets its name from, as apparently provinces named after regions are translated, while those named after cities are not?
- I'm sorry, our inferioty complex makes us translate shit no one else cares about in fear of sounding too exotic.
- Oh.


The voivodships are names after historical regions or cities, but do not correspond strictly to those. The Małopolskie Voivodship may cover most of historical Lesser Poland, but the city of Częstochowa remains outside of it. The Opolskie Voivodship was actually based on the quite distinct Opolian Silesia, and not just the fact that this one moderately-sized city is there, so hey, let's give it a whole new entity. And last but not least, the Lubuskie is in fact named after the region of Ziemia Lubuska, otherwise (and erstwhile) known as Terra Lubus. Yes, it's Latin. Why then stick to some confusing, literal renditions such as "Greater" or "Lesser Poland" (that not even Poles consider greater or lesser in any way), if we're not going to observe that rule in the one case that actually requires historical accuracy?

This is why they're adjectives by the way. And as such, they should uniformly keep their original spelling, just like all newly-coined designations do.