Kashubian language | Will Polish and Czech understand? | Slavic Languages Comparison
November 15, 2019
Cześć! Norbert here and in this Slavic languages comparison we’re going to see how similar are Kashubian, Polish and Czech language. Kasubian language is an ethnic-minority language in Poland spoken mainly in the region of Pomerania, in case you didn’t know that. The participants of the conversation are: Vit – a Czech teacher from Prague, Mateusz a Kashubian speaker and youtuber from Poland, and I’ll be representing the Polish language here. Mateusz will be describing different cities to us in Kasubian and we’ll have to guess which one he’s talking about. Have you ever wondered what Kashubian, Polish and Czech have in common? Let’s find out! M: The first city I’d like to tell you about It is a city that is surrounded by water because it’s close to the sea. N: I think the first city is close to the sea. I think so. What do you think, Vít? V: I’ve heard there‘s plenty of water. ‘Vieli vody’ – is that possible? M: Yes. I think that you both understood that there is a lot of water there. And that it’s close to the sea. But you still don’t know what city it is? N: Not yet. V: Not yet. M: Ok. The second hint now. It’s a very old city that for about thousand years was the capital city of an independent republic. V: I understood everything. A really old city, which was the capital of an independent republic I don‘t now when. N: A city, which, many years ago, was the capital of a republic. M: I’d even say ‘for about a thousand years.’ That is – it was the capital for a thousand years. V: Ok, more than a thousand years, over a thousand years. N: For a thousand years. M: You still don’t know what city it is? N: Not yet. M: The third hint now. The city is know for its delicious risotto and boats called gondolas. V: Yes. It is known for risotto and gondolas. M: Yes. N: Yes, I understand that they make risotto there and gondolas swim there. M: Do you know what city it is now? V: Yes. N: Yes. M: So maybe you could tell us? N: Vít you go first. V: It‘s called Benátky in Czech. N: Oh! That’s interesting. We call it Wenecja in Polish. M: Well, in Kashubian it’s Wenecjô, very similar to the Polish one, and, I also think, to the original name. Because in Italian it’s Venéssia, Venezia, Venetia. M: I wonder where the Czech name comes from? How was it in Czech? V: Benátky N: Nope. I don’t have any associations with that. Vít, do you know the history of this name? I‘m not completely sure, but we also have a town called Benátky in Czechia, Benátky nad Jizerou. Czechs tend to change the names of cities. And „czechize“ them, it‘s like „czechization.“ That means that Saint Petersburg is called Petrohrad, München or Munich is Mnichov, Genoa is Janov. N: Jonov? That’s interesting. V: Czechs change the names of cities quite a lot. N: And do you change the names of cities a lot in Kashubian too? M: Yes, it’s the case of many cities, but quite often the names sound similar to the original ones. Let’s think… Berlin is Berlëno, a bit different. And same applies to our cities: “Gduńsk” (Gdansk), “Gdiniô” (Gdynia), “Sopòtë” (Sopot) and so on, but the foreign ones… M: Well, Venice is Wenecjô, Rzim – Rome, Mediolón – Milan, so it’s not too far from the original. V: Yes. It‘s not always that different, because for example London is Londýn and Roma is Řím. So it‘s quite close. N: But this Janovo really surprised me! N: Jonovo as Genua. V: Janov. M: All right, let’s try with the second city. N: Ok. Let move on. M: It’s a quite young city that has had town privileges for 160 years. V: So I think it‘s a young city, not too old, that it‘s been around only since the sixties. N: As I understood it, it’s existed fro 190 years. Or something like that? M: No. “Sto ë dzewiãc szscdzesąt” – 169 years. N: 160 N: 1960 M: No. In Kashubian the numbers get reversed when we talk about decimal numbers. And here we’ve got: ‘nine sixty,’ as if you said it in Polish: ‘sixty nine,’ and then we have ‘one hundred sixty nine’ if I wanted to polonaise it – pòlasził as we say it in Kashubian. But the correct form in Kashubian is ‘sto ë dzewiãc szescdzesąt’ (hundred and nine sixty.) V: Yes. 169 years. N: 169 years. M: Yes, ok. That was the first hint and I think it wasn’t enough for you to guess the city so let’s move on. M: It’s a city where there is a lot of water, because it’s close to the ocean. V: That there‘s a lot of … I don‘t know what, wind or fog, because it‘s near the ocean? N: I understood that it’s close to the ocean but I didn’t hear anything about the wind. M: The hint is also about the fact the there is a lot of water in this city. N: It blows a lot. N: Oh! Water! V: There‘s a lot of water. M: Yes, like in Venice. M: Ok. The third hint. In this city Bruce Lee and Clint Estwood were born, and close to that city there is a world-famous prison – Alcatraz. M: In addition to that, the city is known for one of the biggest suspention bridges in the World – Golden Gate. M: So you know now what city it is? V: Yes. San Francisco? N: San Francisco. M: Yes, in Kashubian it’s San Francisco like in the original. M: But, did you understand the last part of the hint about who was born there and what attractions are there? V: Yes, that Bruce Lee and Clint Eastwood were born there and that Golden Gate Bridge is there… M: And the prison, the big one. N: And there is a prison nearby. Ok, a prison, Alcatraz. M: In Kashubian prison is ‘sôdza.’ V: We say „vězení“ (prison). N: What this Kashubian word is associated with? M: With sitting in a closed room. N: Sitting. V: Okay, because you sit. N: You sit in prison. I get it. N: ‘Sitting’ – it’s interesting. I’m going sitting. N: Or for sitting. Interesting. V: That‘s interesting, because there‘s this colloquial expression, when we say that somebody „went to sit“ or „is sitting,“ it means the person is in jail.
M: Yes. In Kashubian I associate it with the court because when you have a trial in court, you go to prison after that. These words are similar to one another too – sąd and sôdza. M: Ok. We figured out where these could come from but I wonder how you say it in Czech. How Czechs say that something has been happening for some time, is it like in English ‘one hundred and sixty nine years?’ How is it in Czech? In Czech? In Czech we say „sto šedesát devět“. And usually the two-figure numbers, with tens and ones, we say them as thirty-two, fifty-six, seventy-three. But because there‘s a strong German influence, we can also say nine-and-sixty. M: It’s a bit similar to the Kashubian way of saying it. V: Yes. So we use that, too, but I don‘t think it‘s standard. But it exists. N: We don’t anything like that in Polish. M: I can confirm because of course I know Polish also. M: Ok, the third city, let’s take the third city on. M: It’s also an old city that was established before Christ in the center of Europe. V: Again, it is a very old city, that was in the middle of Europe … V: So it used to be the center of Europe. N: So it’s a city that used to be the center of Europe? In the cultural sense, maybe? M: Not really, because I said that it’s also an old city that was established before Christ. In Kashubian we don’t have the expression ‘before Christ,’ or as in Polish ‘before our era.’ M: We don’t have that in Kashubian. And how is it in Czech? In Kashubian we say ‘our times’ and ‘before our times.’ Okay. So we say „našeho letopočtu“ and „před naším letopočtem“ (B.C or A.D.) Before the year zero. N: In Polish we say that something is of our era or before our era. N: So this city was the center of Europe before Christ. There was a city there. M: Yes. It was established before Christ and it exists in the center of Europe. V: I understand. M: Ok. The second one. It’s supposed to be one of the most visited tourist sights in the World, because it has a lot of tourist attractions. V: I‘m guessing now, but I think it‘s one of the most visited cities in the world, that it is visited by a lot of tourists. N: Yes, one of the most visited cities in the World. There are many tourist attractions. M: Yes, you got it so now the third part. M: This city is located by the Seine river and its motto is: ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’ – ‘Rzucô nim wała, le nie tonie.’ V: Well… I heard the city had some kind of a Latin motto. Fluctuat et mergitur? I should know what that means… M: In Kashubian it’s ‘Rzucô nim wała, le nie tonie.’ V: I don‘t really understand… N: I don’t know. “What is to hang, it will not drown?” M: No. V: Mergere is to submerge, to drown… M: No. It almost doesn’t sink. There are two parts, the first: ‘rzucô nim wała’ there words: rzucô, nim, wała. N: Maybe ‘a river?’ Or ‘to say something?’ V: That it‘s full of life? M: No. In Polish there is the word ‘wała/wały’ also, and it means the same. Although in modern times I’d say it differently, but this word exists in old church songs. And in those song the word ‘wała/wały’ means ‘fale’ (waves) in Polish. M: And in the motto we have: ‘rzucô nim wała’, one wave. M: And ‘rzucô’ is ‘to throw’ in Polish. N: The waves throw him. That is… M: It’s one wave. ‘Rzucô nim wała, le nie tonie.’ ‘Le’ quite similar to the Polish ‘ale’ (but). ‘But it doesn’t sink.’ ‘Le’ quite similar to the Polish ‘ale’ (but). ‘But it doesn’t sink.’ V: A wave rushes through it, but it doesn‘t drown… V: And it says „nec mergitu? M: Yes, ‘nec mergitur.’ V: A! Ok. N: Do you know Latin? V: Yes, yes. N: Ok then. M: Ok, so let’s get back to the first part. I said: the city that is located by the Seine river. M: I know it’s ‘Sekwana’ in Polish, but I’ve checked that in Czech this river has a different name. I’ve looked it up in Wikipedia out of curiosity. But I can’t remember, what id this river’s name in Czech? V: The river that runs through the city? Seine. M: I guess it’s quite similar to the name that the locals use to call this river, cause it’s ‘Sienna’ or something like that in their language. M: And what’s also interesting is that the Polish and Kashubian names of the river come from Latin – Sequana – written with ‘q’, ‘q-u-a-n-a-‘. The name comes from the Celtic language and that’s why it’s called Sekwana in Polish, same as in the original. V: I understand. N: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. V: Interesting. M: Ok. So you know what city it is? N: Of course. Vít go first. V: Czechs say „Paříž“ (Paris). N. In Polish we say Paryż. M: In Kashubian it’s bit like in Czech and in the original: Pariz. N: Interesting. M: And the next one, the last one I believe. It’s a bit more complex hint, because it consists on multiple smaller ones. Let’s see how it goes. M: It’s a quite young city, that has had its towns privileges for 186 years, yet still it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the World. V: So it‘s a young city again, It has been there for 186 years. And it‘s one of the most rapidly developing cities in the world. N: I also understand that it’s a young city. N: I had a bit of a problem with the number. But it 186 – I took it from Vít. N: And one of the most rapidly developing cities in the world. M: Yes. I like this one, because it sounds like in Czech there is a similar word: nôrëchliszi, “nôrëchli? V: Yes. M: It Kashubian we say ‘nôdchùdzy’ or ‘nôrëchli.’ One can say: ‘Zrobi to chùtkò’ (You must do it really fast) or ‘nôrëchli,’ ‘jak nôprãdzy’ (as fast as you can) and you can also say: ‘rëchli,’that is ‘przódë’ (before I do somethink i’ll do somethink else) and the you use ‘rëchli.’ V: Yes. I’ll do it sooner. M: So in Kashubian language it’s quite similar to the Czech language. V: Ok. M: Cool. The second hint. It’s a city that it close to the sea, but it’s known for the fact that one is not allowed to strip down to one’s swimsuit. V: It is a city by the sea, but you famously can‘t change to your underwear on all beaches. N: I understand it like this: this city is close to the sea and it’s known for the fact that not on all beaches one can, I don’t know here, wear a swimsuit? M: I said more like: ‘zeblôkac do kąpnëch òbleczëniów.’ One is not allowed to undress. N: One cannot undress. V: You can‘t change. M: One is not allowed to undress. V: One is not allowed to undress. N: In Polish: you’re not allowed to undress. V: Yes. You can‘t take your clothes off. Yhmmm… M: The third hint now. It’s supposed to be one of the most visited tourist sights in the World. It’s known for its appreaciable buildings built on artificial islands. One of those buildings is so called ‘Żôdzel-hotel.’ V: So I think it‘s a city where they construct buildings or houses on columns. M: No. N: That’s interesting. M: On the artificial islands. V: Aaa, on artificial islands. N: Aaa, on artificial islands. And I know the word ‘ostrów’ because I talked to a Macedonian person recently and this word came up in a conversation. So I know that ‘ostrów’ means island. V: We say „ostrov“ (island). M: Well, in Kashubian it’s ‘òstrów’ and it derives from the ‘ostrov.’ N: It’s closer to Czech. V: And there is a special hotel on one of them. M: In Kashubian it’s called Żôdzel-hotel and it has a very similar name in Polish and in English too. V: The only word that it reminds me of is ‘židle’ but it’s not that. ‘Židle’ is the thing you sit on. M: It’s not that. V: Not this one. M: The word in Polish is similar to the Kashubian ‘żôdżel’. V: Oh I see, it has something to do with that word … „rzegolarz.“ M: Yes, this one is closer. ‘Żôdżel’ is a rug that is placed on a boat. V: A sail, yes, a sail. A „sail-hotel,“ yeah. N: A rug to a bull. M: No, not to a bull. N: But you said something about a bull, didn’t you? Or did I mishear? M: No, there was nothing about it. We talked about a sailor, sailors… N: I got it – a sail. The rug (piece of material) on boats. V: Yes, or a yacht, a sailing boat, the one with a sail. M: We don’t call it a rug but ‘żôdżel’ (sail), and the sail is on the sailboat. ‘Żaglówka’ is the same as in Polish. V: I get it. V: We say „plachta je na plachetnici.“ Yeah. N: Interesting. M: And these are all the hints. Do you know what city it is? N: I believe so. V: Katowice? [wrong-buzzing sound] V: No, probably Dubai. M: Yes, it’s Dubaj. N: I thought Dubaj too. Yes. N: That’s cool. We managed to communicate then. M: I think that in this kind of three-language meetings where we have a Polish, a Kashub and a Czech person, it’s even easier to communicate. I don’t know about you, Norbert, but it seems that you understood me more after listening to what Vit said in Czech. N: That’s right, I was in a privileged position here, because I had two different vertions, in two different languages. V: Yes. N: I wonder if Kashubian is closer to Polish? How do you feel, Mateusz? M: Well. It’s hard to tell because I simply know Polish. I speak this language every day because it surrounds me. But I don’t know Czech and I thought that I would have a problem with understanding what Vit would be talking about in Czech. I would have any problem with Polish but it could be harder with Czech. But it seemed to be quite natural and after 20-30 secunds I was able to understand Vit. Maybe not every single word but the general context was understandable. V: Yeah, yeah, it is similar for me, but I have to say, if I didn‘t talk to Norbert from time to time and I didn‘t listen to his Polish, it would be hard for me to understand Mateusz But because I‘ve already got used to hearing Polish and I somewhat understand it, which makes it easier to understand Mateusz, too. M: But, was it easier to understand me, the Kashubian language, because you know some Polish or because of the Czech language? V: Not really, not really. V: I think if I had never heard Polish, If I didn‘t listen to Norbert‘s Polish, I would understand very little Kashubian. N: Interesting. V: But that‘s just my speculation, that‘s subjective. M: I know many people from Poland who come for holidays, to relax by the sea in the summer, and quite often they say that Kashubian sounds like Czech to them. The sound of Kashubian is close to the sound of Czech. Maybe because we have soft ‘sz’ (sh), ‘cz’ (ch) like in Czech, and not like hard ‘sz’ (sh). ‘cz'(ch) in Polish. V: Aaa, that‘s possible, yes, haha. N: So we’ll see. Maybe there are Czechs watching, who don’t have much experience with the Polish language. N: So if you’re watching us, write in the comets if it was easy for you to understand the Kashubian language. And the Poles, please do the same! Write in the comments if you were able to understand the Kashubian language. M: I’ll be happy to know that too. M: Meanwhile, see you later! What do you think about our experiments? Would you like to see more Kashubian on my channel? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re new to the channel consider subscribing. More language related content is coming soon! By the way, I’m a Polish teacher and if you enjoy learning languages through conversation and interesting content check out my Polish programs on the ecolingust website. See you in the next video! Bye! See you in the next video! Bye!