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Kashubian in Poland

Language designations:

  • In the language itself: Kaszëbi
  • ISO 639-3 standard: csb

Language vitality according to:

Linguistic aspects:

  • Classification: Indo-European → West-Slavic. See kash1274 at Glottolog for more information.

Language standardization

Agreement on a unified spelling system for literary Kashubian was reached in 1996 1)

Language Area

Kashubian is a West Slavic language spoken in Northern Poland in the province of Pomerania (województwo pomorskie). Below are shown Kashubian speaker percentages in the province Województwo Pomorskie 2)


  • The 2011 census states that 108.000 people used Kashubian at home 3)

Legislation protecting the language

History of language education:

Historically and paleo-ethnologically, the Kashubs are said to be direct descendants of the Pomeranians, a Slavic people that inhabited the Baltic coast between the Vistula and the Oder rivers, perhaps even as far westward as the Elbe, in the early Middle Ages, and who long constituted a serious threat to the Lekhits – the ancestors of what later would be the Polish nation. The modern history of Kashub began in the mid-19th century, with ideas brought by the Spring of Nations and the pan-Slavic movement 4).

Modified: 23-08-2016, 16:19

European legislation:

  • Kashubian is covered under Part III of the Charter
  • Download the latest Council of Europe report (2019) about the application of the Regional Charter for Minority Languages in Poland.

National legislation:

Poland's Act on National and Ethnic Minorities and the Regional Language (2005) states that:

  • Kashubian is the only regional language of Poland;
  • the national government should provide Kashubian education and promotion with some financial support.
  • Kashubian may be used to some extent in official communication in those municipalities, where Kashubian is a so-called auxiliary language. For more details, see the act itself.

Quote from a Kashubian speaker:

“Because this language is important to us, we are thrilled that it is so far Poland's only regional language; it gives us many benefits but it also makes us more proud of it. Because a dialect is not the same. A regional language is something more important, something we can be proud of and it can spur us into further action”.5)

Education in practice

Linguistic distance to the standardized form

“I started to learn Kashubian at school and then I decided to take the Kashubian final exam. I said to my mum: 'You have to speak Kashubian with me now'. And we started to speak Kashubian. But once my mum said to me that I spoke a different Kashubian and that it would be better for me not to hear her uneducated language. And she refused to speak Kashubian with me”.6)

Learning resources and educational institutions

Mercator's Regional Dossier

Read more about Kashubian language education in Mercator's Regional Dossier (2014).

By courtesy of Jacek Jan Pawlowski
Wicherkiewicz, Alfred, and Tomasz Majewicz, National Minority Languages in Media and Education in Poland : A Preliminary Report, 1990
5) , 6)
Excerpt from Nicole Dolowy-Wybinska, ‘Young Kashubs and Language Policy: Between Officialisation and Community’, in Policy and Planning for Endangered Languages, by Mari C. Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
languages/kashub_in_poland.1583308208.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/03/04 08:50 by ydwine

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