Are you considering traveling to Poland but you are afraid that you will not be able to communicate? What languages do Polish people speak?
Language in Poland
Probably most of you know that the only official language in Poland is Polish. There are 97% of people who speak Polish as a first language. The remaining 3% are national minorities such as German, Ukrainian, Russian, Lithuanian, and Romanian or… Vietnamese!
But it does not mean that Poles cannot speak other languages!
In total, there are 21 languages spoken by different citizens who reside in Poland. Which one is the most popular?
It is the most popular foreign language in Poland. About 30% of people can speak English and this number is continuously increasing. Why? Since 2004 when Poland joined the European Union, there were many people who went to England, Ireland, Scotland or other countries where they communicate in English. In addition, Poland is nowadays one of the fastest developing countries in Europe where international companies decide to open their branch and requires English speaking staff. It boosts general English language ability. English is also a first international language taught in schools.
TIP! Mostly, you can communicate in English with people who are 35 years old or younger. It is because of the political system transformation in 1989 as before people learned German and Russian. Hence, always try to find a comparably young person if you expect to be understood.
English is the best known in the cities like Krakow, Warsaw, and Poznan.
In nationwide measurement 3% of the population speak Spanish, however, it is the second the most popular foreign language in Poland within the young generation. Due to the fact that Spanish is very fashionable nowadays, not only in Poland but also in the world, more and more schools and universities conduct Spanish language programs and it is predictable that Spanish speakers will overtake German or Russian. Hence, the vast majority of Spanish speakers in Poland are young people.
German and Russian
About 5% of the population can communicate in German and another 5% in Russian. One of the reasons is the geographical location of Poland as both of these countries are neighbours, and the second one- Russian was core subject at school before 1989 (many people learnt it in 1990’s as well), whereas German was quite popular to be learnt as a second language at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is also worth to mention that there is a big group of Poles who resides or whose family members live in Germany.
German and Russian is the best known in the cities like Wroclaw, Warsaw, and Trojmiasto (Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot)
French and Italian
About 1-2% of the population of Poland knows either French or Italian on a communicative level. It is a very rare used language in Poland and usually by people who worked in one of these countries.