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Polish
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Native Name
Polski

Official Language: Poland
Home Speakers: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Hungary

Background
It belongs to the Indo-European family, Slavonic group, West Slavonic subgroup and is spoken by nearly 38 million people in Poland and 44 million people throughout the world, as it is an important immigrant language. Polish is written in the Roman alphabet, with "q", "v", and "x" missing, and with "j" pronounced "y", "w" pronounced v, and "c" pronounced "ts". However, there are a bewildering number of diacritical marks, including acute accents, dots, hooks, and, in the case of the "l", a bar. Polish vocabulary naturally resembles that of the other Slavic languages. Such Polish words as "bez" (without), "most" (bridge), "cena" (price), and "zima" (winter) are identical in Russian, Czech, Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian. Interestingly, the Polish words for "north," "south," "east," and "west" are respectively "pólnoc" (which also means "midnight"), "poludnie" (noon), "wschód" (rising), and "zachód" (setting). Polish is the only Slavic language with nasal vowels.

Reprinted from www.unhchr.ch/udhr/