Silesian language

Infobox Language
nativename="Ślůnsko godka"
states=Silesian Voivodeship and Opole Voivodeship in Poland, Moravian-Silesian Region and Olomouc Region (only Jeseník District) in Czech Republic, Germany and USA
region=Upper Silesia / Silesia
fam4=West Slavic

Silesian or Upper Silesian (Silesian: "Ślůnsko godka", _cs. Slezsky jazyk, _pl. Język śląski) is a Slavic language or dialect spoken in the region of Silesia. The ISO 639-3 language code is "szl" [en icon] .


Silesian speakers currently live in the region of Upper Silesia, which is split between southwestern Poland and the northeastern Czech Republic. At present Silesian is commonly spoken in the area between historical border of Silesia on the east, and a line from Syców to Prudnik on the west, as well as in the Rawicz area. Until 1945 Silesian was also spoken in enclaves in Lower Silesia, as Lower Silesian language was spoken by the ethnic German majority populace of that region at the time.

According to the last official census in Poland (2002), about 60,000 people declared Silesian as their native tongue, and over 173,000 people declared Silesian nationality [pl icon [ ""] - Main Statistical Office of Polish government: report of Polish census of 2002] . There are also about 100,000 Silesian (Cieszyn Silesian) speakers living in the Czech Republic; Cieszyn Silesian is also commonly spoken in the Polish part of Cieszyn Silesia. Speakers of Cieszyn Silesian dialect usually identify themselves on the nationality level as Poles [en icon "Borders of Language and Identity in Teschen Silesia" - Kevin Hannan, 1996. New York: Peter Lang, page 162] . According to the last official census in Czech Republic, 10,878 people in declared Silesian nationalityFact|date=July 2008.

The recognition of Silesian

In 2003, the National Publishing Company of Silesia ("Narodowa Oficyna Śląska") commenced its operations [pl icon [ Page of National printing house of Silesia] ("Narodowa Oficyna Śląska")] . This publisher was started by the "Alliance of People of the Silesian Nation" ("Związek Ludności Narodowości Śląskiej") and it prints books about Silesia and books in Silesian language.

In July 2007, the Slavic Silesian language was recognized by an ISO Joint Advisory Committee [en icon [ Official page of Joint Advisory Committee (ISO 639/JAC)] ] , Library of Congress [pl icon [ "Język śląski jest językiem obcym"] - Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat, 2007] [en icon [,US_Library_of_Congress_recognizes_the_Silesian_language,id,287218.htm "US Library of Congress recognizes the Silesian language"] - "", 2007] [en icon [ "Silesian – a language, not a dialect"] - "" (en. "")] , International Information Centre for Terminology and SIL International. Language was attributed ISO code: "SZL" [en icon [] - ISO documentation of Silesian language] [en icon [] - list of languages with codes ISO (letter "S")] [en icon [] - list of languages with codes ISO] [en icon [] ] .

On 6 September 2007, 23 politicians of the Polish parliament notified about a project of a new law to give the Silesian language the official status of a regional language [pl icon] .

The first official "National Dictation contest of the Silesian language" ("Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego") took place in August 2007 [szl icon/pl icon [] - official page of "National Dictation contest of the Silesian language"] .

On 30 January 2008 and in June 2008, two organizations promoting Silesian language were started: Pro Loquela Silesiana and "Tôwarzistwo Piastowaniô Ślónskij Môwy "Danga" [pl icon [,2484 "Śląski wśród języków świata"] - Dziennik Zachodni, 2008] .

On 26 May 2008, was officially started [pl icon [,88732,5248211,Slaska_Wikipedia_juz_dziala.html "Śląska Wikipedia już działa"] - Gazeta Wyborcza-Gospodarka, 2008] .

On 30 June 2008 in the edifice of the Silesian Parliament in Katowice, a conference took place on the status of Silesian language. This conference was a forum for politicians, linguists, representatives of interested organizations, and persons who deal with the Silesian language. The conference was titled "Silesian - a dialect or however already a language?" ("Śląsko godka - jeszcze gwara czy jednak już język"?") [pl icon [ "Katowice: konferencja dotycząca statusu śląskiej mowy"] - article in pl.Wikinews] .


Steuers Silesian alphabet

The attempts at codification of Silesian are numerous. One of the first alphabets created specifically for Silesian was Steuer's Silesian alphabet, used by Felix Steuer to write his poems in Silesian. The alphabet consists of 30 graphemes and eight digraphs.

Letters: A, B, C, Ć, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ł, M, N, Ń, O, P, R, S, Ś, T, U, Ů, W, Y, Z, Ź, Ż

Digraphs: Au, Ch, Cz, Dz, , , Rz, Sz

Tadzikowy muster

This alphabet came into being in '1990s. Was created by Ted Jeczalik (Tadzik Jeczalik, Tadeusz Jaczalik) [ [ Dyktando 2008 - Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego] ] from USA (one of jurors of "National Dictation contest of the Silesian language" / "Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego"). This alphabet is based on standard Latin alphabet/English alphabet (compatible with ISO) and consists of 26 graphemes and 15 digraphs. Instead of special signs, the apostrophe after letter is used.

Phonetic Silesian alphabet

In 2006 a new Silesian alphabet was proposed. It is widely used on the internet, including by the Silesian Wikipedia. It consists of 32 graphemes and four digraphs.

Letters: A, B, C, Ć, Č, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, Ń, O, P, R, Ř, S, Ś, Š, T, U, Ů, W, Y, Z, Ź, Ž

Digraphs: Ch, Dz, Dź, .

Polish alphabet for Silesian

Silesian is also written in an adaptation of the Polish alphabet. [ [ Dyktando 2008 - Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego] ] It contains 30 graphemes and 7 digraphs.

Letters: A, B, C, Ć, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ł, M, N, Ń, O, Ó, P, R, S, Ś, T, U, W, Y, Z, Ź, Ż

Digraphs: Ch, Cz, Dz, Dź, Dż, Rz, Sz

It is used for a long time, because the Silesians in Poland are taught in Polish schools and they know only the Polish way of writing. In the Polish alphabet modification is written approximately half of web pages and books. [ [ Dyktando 2008 - Ogólnopolskie Dyktando Języka Śląskiego] ]

Writing in this alphabet is rather problematic, since there are many ways to write one sound, e.g. ź ( [Help:IPA| [ʑ] ) from the "phonetic alphabet" used inter alia on the Silesian Wikipedia can be written as ź or zi, but "zi" in the phonetic script stands for [Help:IPA| [zi] . There's also the risk of losing the characteristic Silesian pronunciation - there is not one method of writing ů ( [Help:IPA| [o] ) - the word "Ślůnsk" can be written as Ślonsk, Ślónsk, Ślunsk and even Śląsk (despite there are no phonemic nasal vowels in Silesian).

The same thing is with the diphtong "uo" ( [Help:IPA| [wɔ] ). According to the Polish orthography it must be transcribed as ło, which is incorrect, because it destroys the rule that "ł" comes from a velarized l. The alphabet is criticised by supporters of radical writings.


The Lord's Prayer in Silesian, Polish and Czech.

Dialects of Silesian language

The Silesian language has many local dialects:
*Cieszyn Silesian dialect
*Niemodlin Silesian dialect
*Gliwice Silesian dialect
*Jabłonków Silesian dialect
*Kluczbork Silesian dialect
*Prudnik Silesian dialect
*Opole Silesian dialect
*Lach Silesian dialect

Dialect vs language

Opinions are divided between Polish linguists whether Silesian is a distinct language or simply another dialect of Polish. The issue can be contentious as some Silesians consider themselves to be a nationality within Poland. Linguists from Poland, for example; Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay (19th-20th century) [en icon/pl icon "God's Playground" - Norman Davies, ISBN 83-240-0020-8] Jolanta Tambor [pl icon [,35019,3603383.html "Językoznawcy o mowie śląskiej"] - Gazeta Wyborcza-Katowice, 2006] , Tomasz Wicherkiewicz [pl icon [,35063,4347216.html "Język śląski uznany w Stanach Zjednoczonych"] - Gazeta Wyborcza-Katowice, 2007] and Tomasz Kamusella [pl icon "Schlonzska mowa - Język, Górny Śląsk i nacjonalizm" - Tomasz Kamusella, ISBN 83-919589-2-2] [en icon [ "The Szlonzoks and their Language: Between Germany, Poland and Szlonzokian Nationalism"] - Tomasz Kamusella, European University Institute - Department of History and Civilization and Opole University, 2003] support its status as a language.

International linguists such as Reinhold Olesch [de icon "Zur schlesischen Sprachlandschaft: Ihr alter slawischer Anteil" - Reinhold Olesch, 1987, page 32-45] [pl icon Joanna Rostropowicz: Śląski był jego językiem ojczystym [Reinhold Olesch, 1910-1990] w: Śląsk bogaty różnorodnością - kultur, narodów i wyznań. Historia lokalna na przykładzie wybranych powiatów, miast i gmin (red. Krzysztof Kluczniok, Tomasz Zając), Urząd Gm. i M. Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Dom Współpracy Pol.-Niem., Czerwionka-Leszczyny 2004, ISBN 83-920458-5-8] and Gerd Hentschel from Germany, Ewald Osers (1949) [en icon "Silesian Idiom and Language" - Ewald Osers, New York 1949] [en icon "Slavonic Encyclopedia", page 1149-1151] and Norman Davies [en icon "" - Norman Davies, page 1233, ISBN 0-19-820171-0] from United Kingdom, Czech Óndra Łysohorsky also support the status of Silesian as a Slavic language.


The Silesian language has recently seen an increased use in culture, for example:
* TV and radio stations (for example: TV Silesia, Sfera TV, Slonsky Radio [szl icon [ ""] ] , Radio Piekary [pl icon [ ""] ] );
* music groups (for example: Hasiok, Dohtor Miód, FEET);
* theatre [pl icon [ ""] ] (for example: "Polterabend" in Silesian Theatre [pl icon [ "" (Silesian Theatre)] ] );
* film (for example: "Święta Wojna" ("Holy War"), "Grzeszny żywot Franciszka Buły" ("Sinful Life of Franciszek Buła"));
* books (for example: Silesian Bible).


Book of Henryków (1270) is earliest document to include a sentence written in the Silesian language, though it be also recognised for Polish language and Czech language [szl icon [ ""] ]

See also

*Lower Silesian language


External links

* [ "Pů našymu"]
* [ "Slonsko Lauba"]
* [ "Slunskoeka"]

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