History and Legends

Kashubian: Languge – one and only

Belonging to the group of West Slavic languages, the only language in Poland registered as an official regional language, with 76 dialects, some of which are mutually incomprehensible. This is the Kashubian language.

It retained Polish archaic words, long forgotten in the Polish language, as well as borrowings from German. This deceptive accent can mislead even a daredevil;  commonly-known Polish words have a totally different meaning in Kashubian. It should be borne in mind that when a Kashubian sends you to a shop for jam, you should look for it in the cellar, because in Kashubian “shop” means “cellar”.  There are many such misleading words, and it will frequently be difficult to understand someone’s intentions, but this is what the beauty of this regional language is about. The change in letters, the palatalisation of Polish hard sounds, and the lack of soft consonants, make the language incomprehensible to listeners in fast speech.

 

 

The number of persons using this mysterious language is ever-decreasing. Young people are unwilling to learn it, and even if they can speak it, they are ashamed of using it, while the number of elderly people speaking more than one Kashubian dialect is constantly decreasing. To maintain the language tradition, Kashubian language lessons are organised in some schools, while in the Parchowo and Sierakowice Commune Kashubian can be used as the official language equal to Polish. Despite the fact that the Kashubian language has already been entered into the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, it is worthwhile going to Kaszëbë to listen to regional legends and stories about this magical and mysterious language.