The Omnia online dictionary defines [non-]Polish words [and expressions] in Polish, and thus is not of much use to those who do not know that language—except that it also includes etymologies, so if you have even a basic acquaintance with Slavic it serves as a fine companion to etymological dictionaries for other Slavic languages (like mine for Russian and Czech). And it seems to cast its net quite widely, judging from the fact that it has an entry for scouse, “bryt. ang. slang, dialekt mieszkaƒców Liverpoolu (miasto w Lancashire na zach. wybrze´´u Êrodk. Anglii).” The main problem is the special Polish characters, which (as you can see) do not reproduce well, and which I have no idea how to input into the search box, so that I can’t look up (for instance) the word slowo ‘word’ (which has a barred l, pronounced /w/) [and which is probably not there anyway, being Polish]. If anyone knows how to do this, the info will be much appreciated.


  1. Michael Farris says

    When I followed the link I found myself at Słownik wyrazów obcych i zwrotów obcojęzycznych
    (Dictionary of foreign expressions and foreign language expressions) and if I put in a Polish word (for example błąd : mistake) I got a bunch of non-Polish words, some polonized to various degrees, like gafa that are semantically related. In another search, they even polonized ‘spleen’ as ‘splin’, which I’ve never seen (used to be a popular word in Poland, but I’d always seen it spelled spleen) is łikend next?
    As for typing in Polish letters, I’m computer illiterate but suspect you’d need a Polish keyboard, I used the usual Polish Windows method (right-alt plus letter) for ł and ą (nb. r-alt z = ż and r-alt x = ź) the omnia page appears to be in unicode, isn’t yours?

  2. Well, this is embarrassing to admit, but I saw a citation from there, paid a visit to the site, saw the etymologies, and just threw an entry up without even bothering to figure out it was a dictionary of foreign terms. Thank you for the vital added information, and I will let this be a lesson to me: investigate before posting!

  3. Why do I love this blog? Let me count the ways…people interested in Polish yet don’t speak it and want to compare it to Slavic languages they know, others contemplating how to write a Polish l with a line through it on a computer. Gin dobrey and pardon my spelling!!

  4. On Windows XP you can use the Character Map (Start|All Programs|Accessories|System Tools|Character Map) to compose Unicode strings which can then be copied and pasted into web forms. For example, “Ł”. This is U+0141: Latin Capital Letter L With Stroke. Sometimes finding the character you are interested in can take some hunting but it’s a quick and dirty way to compose a string.

  5. Linux is a long way from i18n heaven still, but with recent Emacsen it is easy to type various flavours of Forren – with input method “iso-latin-2” ? is “l/” ? is “u.”, etc.
    There is certainly a Windows port of Emacs, and even more certainly a Mac version now that Macs are Unices too, although I don’t know how native it has gone widgetwisely.

  6. And of course Opera then thoroughly scraggs them to make me look foolish…
    That was ł and ů, so there Opera!

  7. On Windows 2000 and XP you only need to install the keyboard driver. You don’t need an actual Polish keyboard but it will be tricky to find some of the letters if you are not already a Polish keyboard touch-typist.
    1) Go to Control “Panel/Regional Options/General”
    2) Click on “Central Europe” under “Language settings for the system”
    (this enables central european keyboard drivers on the next dialog, adds awareness of central european codepages/encodings, and may install some fonts)
    3) Click on “Apply”
    (you will need your installation CD if you haven’t done this before)
    4) Click on the “Input Locales” tab
    5) Under “Installed input locales” click on “Add”
    6) If step 3 worked, Polish will be in this list
    7) Select Polish, Click OK on “Add Input Locale”
    8) Clock OK on the Regional Options dialog
    If you only had one keyboard installed before you will notice a new icon in your “System Tray” – that’s the part of the task bar at the far right. The icon has a two-letter language code on a blue background. You can click on this icon to change keyboard layouts. On the keyboard, Left Shift + Left Alt will cycle through the keyboards you have installed.
    As a shortcut when you have this icon, you can right-click on it and select “Options” to go straight to the Regional Options/Input Locales dialog you just used.
    When you are using the Polish keyboard layout, some characters will not be in the positions to match the labels on the keys. If you are familiar with the Polish keyboard layout you’re finished.
    If you are not familiar with the Polish keyboard layout, click on the Start/Programs/Accessories/Accessibility/On-Screen Keyboard.
    Each window on your system can be set to a different keyboard layout. The On-Screen keyboard will show the correct layout for the currently selected window.
    Alternatively, type “alanwood latin extended” with no quotes in your browser’s URL bar and you can cut and paste the letters as you need them.

  8. It’s a bit roundabout but if you find some text on the dictionary page containing characters like ł and ą that you need, you can copy and paste them into the search box — I just did this from Michael Farris’s comment and it seems to work — I sometimes use this method to get accented characters when I cannot recommend their mnemonics.

  9. błąd : mistake
    (Does the tail on the a make it a ya?)

  10. Michael Farris says

    No, it rounds the vowel and adds a nasal element. So that błąd is pronounced (roughly) bwohnt.

  11. Copy-and-paste was the first thing I tried, but it got me nowhere.
    The nasal vowels, e-with-a-tail and a-with-a-tail, are pronounced /en/ and /on/ before stops; I believe that at the end of a word the former is plain /e/ and the latter nasal /a/, but I Do Not Know Polish.

  12. Illustration: the word “money” in Polish. I wouldn’t even attempt to spell it, but I LOVE the sound of it (and feel, too…)
    Pehaps, Michael Farris can assist with spelling?

  13. Michael Farris says

    money = pieniądze
    always plural
    pieniądze nm/acc/voc
    pieniędzy gen
    pieniędzmi instr
    pieniądzom dat.
    o pieniądzach loc.
    (there’s some variation as to ą and ę in some forms, I googled them and these are the forms that most people write on the internet at least)
    final ą is (depending on the speaker):
    -ou~ (o followed by a nasalized u glide)
    -ou (the same but without the nasalization
    -o (same as oral o, sort of substandard)
    -om (also substandard)
    final ę is (depending partly on register and partly on speaker):
    -eu~ (e followed by nasalized u glide, emphatic not that common except for the reflexive pronoun się when stressed)
    -e~ (e with some nasalization not common, but not rare in more formal registers)
    -e (same as oral e, most common)
    -em (very substandard)

  14. See what I mean? What could be sexier?
    And – thanks, Michael, that was done in proper Polish gallant fashion (anything to oblige a pani)…

  15. I agree with Tatyana — that’s a great word, much better than the pedestrian “money.”

  16. You can check a way of letting your users to use polish letters here: http://www.dict.pl/plen
    One more thing for GNU/Linux users: To change your keybord to polish use this command:
    setxkbmap pl
    This works for X11. For console I don’t remember now … but has something to with loadkeys and setfont.

    I had written my own script and attached it to keyboard shortcut on WindowMaker to switch from my keyboard to polish very easily (AltGR+Space), this is the code:

    setxkbmap -print | grep ‘pc/pl’ && setxkbmap “$LANG” || setxkbmap pl

    Copy and past it to a text file and chmod 755. You can change variable LANG to whatever your language is to turn back, For example: LANG=ru will switch between Russian and Polish as you execute the script (or hit your associated shortcut).
    I am studying a way of editing keymaps and creating mixed keyboards configuration files for unix, it should not be that hard. Whether someone has any clue, please contact me!
    I hope it was of help. Papa!

  17. Thanks!

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