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Polish (język polski [jɛ̃zɨk ˈpɔlskʲi] (listen), polszczyzna, or simply polski) is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Polish is written with the standard Polish alphabet, which has 9 additions to the letters of the basic Latin script (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż). Polish is closely related to Czech and Slovak. The language currently has the largest number of speakers of the West Slavic group and is also the second most widely spoken Slavic language.
Historically, Polish was known to be lingua franca, important both diplomatically and academically in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, Polish is spoken by over 38.5 million people as their first language in Poland. It is also spoken as a second language in northern Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, western parts of Belarus and Ukraine, and central-western Lithuania. Because of the emigration from Poland during different time periods, most notably after World War II, millions of Polish speakers can be found in countries such as Israel, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand.
- Wikipedia, 2019