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The geographical distribution of the Polish language was greatly affected by the territorial changes of Poland immediately after World War II and Polish population transfers (1944–46).
Poles settled in the "Recovered Territories" in the west and north, which had previously been mostly German-speaking.
In history, Polish is known to be an important language, both diplomatically and academically in Central and Eastern Europe.
Today, Polish is spoken by over 38.5 million people as their first language in Poland.
The medieval recorder of this phrase, the Cistercian monk Peter of the Henryków monastery, noted that "Hoc est in polonico" ("This is in Polish").
Poland is the most linguistically homogeneous European country; nearly 97% of Poland's citizens declare Polish as their first language.
First-language speakers of Polish have no trouble understanding each other, and non-native speakers may have difficulty distinguishing regional variations.
Polish is normally described as consisting of four or five main dialects: Kashubian, spoken in Pomerania west of Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea, is often considered a fifth dialect.
It is also the second most widely spoken Slavic language, after Russian and just ahead of Ukrainian.Its written standard is the Polish alphabet, which has 9 additions to the letters of the basic Latin script (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż).Polish is closely related to Kashubian, Silesian, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, Czech and Slovak.The "Recovered Territories" (in pink) are those parts of Germany and the Free City of Gdańsk that became part of Poland after World War II.
Gray color, territories lost to the Soviet Union followed by mass Polish population transfers (1944–46) The Polish language became far more homogeneous in the second half of the 20th century, in part due to the mass migration of several million Polish citizens from the eastern to the western part of the country after the Soviet annexation of the Kresy in 1939, and the annexation of former German territory after World War II.
In Ukraine it is most common in western Lviv and Volyn Oblasts, while in West Belarus it is used by the significant Polish minority, especially in the Brest and Grodno regions and in areas along the Lithuanian border.