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Polish language
Polish CountrysideThe Common Slavic language community was broken when Slavic tribes began to migrate west from their motherlands in modern Belorussia and North Ukraine. Those Slavs who occupied in the 3rd century BC these regions represented different tribes, speaking different dialects of Common Slavic. Only in the 9th century AD those tribes were united under the reign of a legendary leader named Piast. And in the next century the Polish Principality started its historical development - the Polish prince Mieszko is mentioned in European sources. The literary Polish language was finally established in the 16th century, and since then great number of literature sources exist. And though Polish suffered great Latin, French, German influence through its history, it is still pure Slavic.

Polish is now more or less unified language, though some dialects still exist, of which the most important are Little Polish (Malopolski), Great Polish (Velikopolski), Mazovian and Silesian. Nowadays Polish also includes the Kashubian dialect, which used to be a single language but is now practically assimilated.

Contemporary Polish has 7 vowel sounds and 35 consonant sounds, depicted by a modified Latin alphabet. Sounds that are not represented by the alphabet are indicated by digraphs such as sz and cz (resembling English sh and ch) and by diacritics (resembling zh and a soft sh), derived from Czech. Unique to Polish are first nasal sounds (a and e), that were not preserved in other Slavic tongues, and second,  a special [l-] sound (resembling English w). In the course of its evolution, Polish lost the distinction between long and short vowels, and word accent became fixed on the next-to-last syllable.

Of the original singular, dual, and plural, the dual has disappeared (as in most Slavic languages). The singular has three genders, masculine, feminine, and neuter; the plural developed a new category, personal masculine gender (for human males), which is distinguished from a common plural gender for all other categories. Polish is highly inflected and retains the Common Slavic case system: six cases for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, plus a seventh case, the vocative (for direct address) for nouns and pronouns. Verbs are inflected according to gender as well as person and number, but the tense forms have been simplified through elimination of three old tenses (the aorist, imperfect, and past perfect). The so-called Slavic perfect is the only past tense form used in common speech. Word order remains highly flexible.

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