Polish is the official language of the Republic of Poland, and the first language of the vast majority of its 39 million people. In addition, over 14 million people living abroad speak Polish, mostly in the United States and Canada.
Polish belongs to the West Slavic group of the Slavic subfamily of Indo-European languages. Slavic languages are divided into three groups: West Slavic (e.g., Polish, Czech, Slovak), East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian) and South Slavic (Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian, Bulgarian). Polish speakers can communicate fairly easily with Slovaks or speakers of Serbo-Croatian.
Polish is written in the Latin alphabet slightly modified to reflect sounds unique to Polish language. The Polish alphabet contains 32 letters originally used in Polish language plus 3 letters used in foreign words (q, x and v). Nine letters are so-called diacritics: they are used to express sounds not found in other languages. Many sounds are expressed by letter pairs e.g. sz, cz, ch, dż, dź. The stress pattern in Polish usually falls on the penultimate (preceding the last) syllable.
The earliest documents written in Polish date back to the 14th century. Prior to that time, both literary and official documents were written in Latin. In spelling, one major difficulty for both foreigners and natives alike is the words with ż vs. rz, u vs. ó, and h vs. ch, since the sounds these letters or combinations of letters represent have identical or almost identical pronunciation.
Grammar of Polish language is fairly complicated. Just to give you a flavour: nouns (as well as adjectives, and most of the pronouns) decline in seven inflectional cases nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative and vocative. They can be feminine, masculine or neuter, singular and plural. Further, there are different inflectional endings for the masculine personal and feminine non-personal adjectives.
Polish verbs decline in three tenses, but they possess a feature called "aspect." The aspect can be perfective or imperfective, showing perpetual action and action that is completed. A variety of prefixes that help create perfective verbs convey shades of meaning that frequently require several words in an English translation. Polish grammar and punctuation abound in rules and twice as many exceptions to them.