Polish Alphabet


Modern Polish alphabet contains 32 letters. It is based on the  Latin 0041–007A alphabet. Diacritical marks are used to represent specific sounds. For example, (ę) indicates a nasal vowel, (ń) denotes softness of consonants, and (ż) signifies that a consonant is hard. Di- and trigraphs (CH, ŹDŹ, SZCZ) are also used, and when arranging words alphabetically, they function as individual letters. The characters Ą, Ę, Ń, and Y can be capitalized only if the entire word is in uppercase since they are not used at the beginning of words.

The Polish alphabet has been using Latin characters since the 12th century. In 1136, the Gniezno Bull, containing many Polish proper names, was published in Latin. However, the Latin script did not have enough characters to represent all the sounds of the Polish language. Therefore, diacritics and ligatures were used, but Polish authors did this without a systematic approach. The same sound could be represented by different symbols, and one letter could depict various sounds. A unified system of spelling, orthography, and punctuation began to emerge with the advent of printing in the 16th century.