Polish language in Ukraine

Polish language in Ukraine. The influence of the Ukrainian language on the development of standard Polish came from Poles who settled in Ukraine from the 14th century on and from Polonized Ukrainians. This process, which began with the medieval linguistic contacts of Galicia with Little Poland and of Volhynia and Podlachia with Mazovia, intensified after the 1569 Union of Lublin, when the influence of the Polish nobility and burghers in Ukraine began to rise. The Polonized Ukrainian nobles and magnates introduced into their speech phonetical, lexical, and grammatical Ukrainianisms. Consequently, literary Polish differs from all Polish dialects in phonology (eg, the disappearance of the phoneme å < ā in the 17th century) or from most of them (eg, the absence of mazurzenie, and attempts until the 1930s to eliminate the ‘vulgar’ pronunciation of ł as ų and certain stresses). During the period of greatest Ukrainian (and Belarusian) linguistic influences (16th–19th centuries), Ukrainian grammatical features that were limited to particular times and authors or that have endured (the nominal endings -ów and -am, the pluperfect, the object in the accusative case after a negative predicate, the patronymic suffixes -owicz and -ewicz, and truncated verbal forms, eg, depczę ‘I trample’), as well as lexical borrowings and semantic equivalents, were absorbed into the Polish language.

The language of the Poles living in Ukraine in the 19th and 20th centuries (excluding the Ukrainian dialects of the so-called latynnyky) can be divided into three distinct sociolinguistic layers. (1) The educated Polish nobility, clergy, intelligentsia, and civil servants developed a characteristic pronunciation. The vowel ą became denasalized (eg, chódzo instead of chodzą ‘they walk’). Differentiation of the consonants h:x occurred, and l' was used instead of l. Typical pronunciations were svuj instead of sfuj for swój ‘one’s own’, nog’e for nogę ‘leg’ accusative singular, xl'ip for chleb ‘bread’, ml'iko for mleko ‘milk’, and, in Right-Bank Ukraine, kreų instead of kref for krew ‘blood’, ržyka for rzeka ‘river’, and mogłem for mugem/mukem ‘I could’. Many lexical Ukrainianisms and common Ukrainian-Polish lexemes were used. (2) The lower urban strata developed a similar pronunciation, as well as many slang words. Particularly in Lviv, the typical pronunciation of unstressed o, e was u, y/i, and of stressed o–ŭo (light diphthongization), as in adjacent Ukrainian dialects. (3) Polish peasants who settled in Galicia and Podilia also developed their own speech. Only the dialects spoken around Komarne (15th–16th centuries) and Zaliztsi (17th century) in Galicia have been systematically studied. As a result of centuries-old bilingualism the dialects absorbed Ukrainian features in their phonetics (eg, the absence of mazurzenie—the Mazovian dialectal substitution of dentals for postdentals [č, ž, š > c, z, s], the hardening of soft labials, prothetic sounds before initial vowels, the change ō > y [eg, vyn instead of on ‘he’]), morphology (eg, types of endings in nominal declension, -mo/-mu ending of 1st person plural verbs [eg, muśimo instead of musimy (cf Ukrainian musymo) ‘we must’]), and syntax (eg, the absence of special endings indicating male persons in the nominative case of plural adjectives and in verbs). The Polish peasant dialects of Podlachia and the Kholm region developed out of the Polonization of originally Ukrainian villages (see Podlachian dialects).

Many Polish writers who were born or lived in Ukraine phonetically assimilated Ukrainian words and phrases in their writings (eg, Mikołaj Rej, Szymon Szymonowicz, Stanisław Orzechowski, Józef Bartłomiej Zimorowicz, S. Trembecki, H. Rzewuski, Juliusz Słowacki, Józef Bohdan Zaleski, Antoni Malczewski, Seweryn Goszczyński, Józef Korzeniowski, Michał Grabowski, Michał Czajkowski, Z. Miłkowski, Józef Kraszewski, Aleksander Fredro, W. Łoziński, Jan Lam, K. Ujejski, Jan Parandowski, and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz). Others (eg, Wacław Potocki, Henryk Sienkiewicz) used Ukrainianisms for local color in their works on Ukrainian-Polish themes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Kremer, A. ‘Słowniczek prowincjonalizmów podolskich, ułożony w Kamieńcu Podolskim w r. 1863,’ Rocznik Towarzystwa Naukowego Uniwersytetu Krakowskiego, 18 (1870)
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Oleksa Horbach

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]




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