Language happens to be taken for granted and unduly blamed. In Ireland, an extended language practice to bring corpora of Irish English might enhance autonomy. Poland, having corpora for Polish, would yet show serious weaknesses to have ground in Polish economy and culture.
The most prominent drawback in the Polish literary culture remains its prophetism. Julian Tuwim, Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski, and Czeslaw Milosz can be examples of authors mistreated by the mysticism as developed by Polish Romantics.
All the above poets wrote and published on not wanting to be prophets. The visionary nimbus would have disadvantages. You would need to use past tenses to speak about the future; your language skills, own language workshop, would become ascribed to some spiritual or angelic agency. Finally, you would not be expected to write out your sober wit.
The nimbus was invented in the times when Poland was not on the map of the world and standards were hardly romantic. Juliusz Slowacki or Adam Mickiewicz wrote to draw attention to the country. It did not work. Napoleon’s army rolled through the Polish territory on its way to Moscow and back, doing nothing for Poland’s future. Slowacki, claiming guidance from angels, died of a lung disease, fever and narcotics having diminished his intellective capacities.
Communists picked the nimbus as a measure to control writers and pay peculiar non-compliments to Catholics who, for example, never acknowledged mesmerism. Alexander Kwasniewski had the mesmeric Slowacki for a poet-prophet and inspiration. (I provide a sample of Slowacki’s style, Anhelli_Chapter 9).
At the same time, the communist tendency would be to simplify Polish. A language item that could be translated as ‘not forgotten’ (nie_zapomniany) would be proposed for something ‘unforgettable’ (niezapomniany). The Polish perfective ‘oni byli pracowali’, ‘they had worked/had been working’ would be reduced to ‘oni pracowali’, ‘they worked’.
The political tensions would have begun producing diversification in the language standard. Some policies would have been conscious and targeted, like picking a single phonological feature, the [L] quality associated with eastern Polish territories, and overgeneralizing the notion of regionalism on the syntax.
The Humer trial could not be considered a linguistic treatise. It may yet show some of the ‘linguistic partition’: the trial shows the victims and the perpetrators, as well as different kinds of Polish on opposing sides. I enclose a translation of part the material from the trial as publicly available. It is parental advisory.
I am not a supporter of the Home Army. I have always had the Warsaw Uprising for nonsense and I do not have reservations on the present borders of Poland. My matter is language as a battleground. In Poland, English would be blamed, too; it would be American, however.
‘We have paid a horrid price in blood’, Marek Siwiec would say in a pre-elections debate about Polish involvement with the USA. Mr. Siwiec biography has no record of military service: this would have to be someone else’s blood he would invoke to win votes. Needless to say, you could not pay your bills cashing out of his pocket, however you could be happy with a guy to have your blood for his property.
On the ground of language, Poland would have a ‘split personality’. The official language standard would name the country ‘Rzeczpospolita’, a Commonwealth in English. The ‘commonwealth’ label has been preserved since the Polish monarchy. Deeming themselves a republic and a democracy, the Polish also have attached a symbol of a crown to their national emblems.
Finally, language would be only for rich people in Poland. If you want to buy a comprehensive Polish dictionary, bring in 385 zloty and 50 groszy, and you have it shipped in 48 hours. However, if you are on the minimum payroll — the mythical 1317 zloty you ‘get’, yet only after the state-mandated deductions — you might need to consider living in a tent to enlarge your library.
Online access to the Universal Polish Dictionary is about 199 PLN a year. Online access to a 40 million words corpus of Polish is 366 PLN a year. At the same time, unemployment grows. Foreign language skills may help get a job. An Oxford English Dictionary is 367.20 PLN. Online access is 159 PLN.
More than 2 million Polish people have left Poland already. Many do not want and do not intend ever to be back, me included. Whether like others or not, I intend to leave Europe and change my citizenship, renouncing the present, Polish one.