Kashubian language explained

Fam4:West Slavic
Nation:In official use, as a regional language, in some communes of Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

Kashubian or Cassubian (Kashubian: kaszëbsczi jãzëk, pòmòrsczi jãzëk, kaszëbskò-słowińskô mòwa; Polish: język kaszubski) is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages.

Kashubian is assumed to have evolved from the language spoken by some tribes of Pomeranians called Kashubians, in the region of Pomerania, on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea between the Vistula and Oder rivers.

It is closely related to Slovincian, and both of them are dialects of Pomeranian. Though the Kashubian language can hardly be understood by Polish speakers, until recently many Polish linguists considered it a dialect of Polish, although this has been caused mostly by political decree.

Similarly to Polish, Kashubian includes numerous loanwords from Low German, such as kùńszt (art), and some from German. Other sources of loanwords include the Baltic languages, Russian and Polish.

The first printed documents in Kashubian date from the end of the 16th century. The modern orthography was first proposed in 1879.

In the 2002 census, 53,000 people in Poland declared that they mainly use Kashubian at home. All Kashubian speakers are also fluent in Polish. Research shows that many Kashubian-speaking parents use Polish rather than Kashubian at home, because they believe that if they spoke Kashubian, their children would find it more difficult to learn Polish. A number of schools in Poland teach in Kashubian as a lecture language, and it is used as an official alternative language for local administration purposes in parts of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Kashubian is also spoken by Kashubians living in Canada.

Since 2005 Kashubian enjoys legal protection in Poland as an official regional language. It is the only tounge in Poland with this status. It was granted to it by the act of Polish Parliament from January 6, 2005.

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