Differences in dialects and accents are relatively uncommon in the Polish language, especially when compared to countries like Germany or Italy. Instead you can find many modifications based on the age and education level of people – that is so called slang, baby!
The use of informal expressions in slang makes a language change quickly. That is the reason why after several months of travelling or living outside our home country we realise that we do not understand some of the expressions used by our friends anymore!
When it comes to the aspect of internationalism, Polish slang seems to be a very interesting example. Let us have a look at Ponglish – a mixture of Polish and English created as a result of the migration of Poles to English-speaking countries in last few years. As with all languages, you can also find that vulgar words are very popular and commonly used.
A particularly note worthy point is the fact that Polish slang refers to many archaic and old-fashioned words making them “back in fashion” again. Young Poles plays around with them, mix expressions and add new meanings – it is like having a vintage style language with a new twist.
For example the word „zaciosać”, which comes from the old-fashioned word “ciosać” and means “to hew”. In slang, it is used as “to go” (!). When it comes to the most popular word for saying hello, it would probably be „siema”. Shortening expressions as is common with languages in Brazil also occurs in Polish slang, „siema” it is an abbreviation from the sentence „Jak się masz?” – “How are you?”
The most developed, as well as the most stylish language seems to be the one used by students. We can easily understand that language heard on the streets interconnects with the high culture of those people – the youth are passionate about art in general and alternative ways of expressing themselves. Polish slang, both written and oral, truly reflects the attitude of how young people perceive the world. It could be described as a mix of Western trends (we even use the word trendy in Polish), appreciation of Eastern culture, especially these with the Cyrillic alphabet, nostalgia for the fascinating history and language of their great grandparents (like the archaic word ziomek”, which is used in slang nowadays) along with a hint of Gombrowicz’s irony.
So, if you are planning to come to Poland one day, be aware of the fact that while the language people speak there is not the easiest, it is very charming. It is worth getting to know this country more deeply as you will then have a chance to discover the unusual, east-west merge in the heart of Europe. Go for it!