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Changes in spelling. Polish teacher Maciej Makselon: the language must be flexible, otherwise it will die

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It is completely natural that language changes all the time. If it doesn't change, it will simply die in some way, said Maciej Makselon, a Polish teacher and academic teacher, on TVN24. He commented on the changes in spelling that the Polish Language Council decided to introduce. He noted that he had one comment. He said about her that “it's a bit like punching someone in the face, but with respect.”

The Polish Language Council decided to introduce a number of changes to the spelling rules. They assume, among other things, that the names of city and village inhabitants will be written with capital letters, as will words such as “aleja” or “boulevard”. The changes adopted by the RJP will enter into force on January 1, 2026.

READ MORE: RJP announces major spelling changes. “You will have to learn many things again”

Polish teacher: very good changes

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Maciej Makselon, Polish teacher, literary editor, academic teacher at the Jagiellonian University, said on TVN24 that he would “applaud” these changes.

He said there are situations that “have been difficult to justify until now.” – This means that the capital letter has been applicable to residents from the regions upwards until now. And why exactly? What gives way to a city resident to a region resident is to honor the latter with a capital letter and not the former. For example, I would be a Silesian by birth, with a capital letter, but a Knurów resident with a lowercase letter, he noted.

He added that “some kind of standardization has been made, so it will also be easier to remember this rule.”

– In general, most of the rules that have been changed, or maybe not actually changed, but adapted to the practice that appeared in the language anyway, in my opinion, these are very good changes – he said.

Polish teacher Maciej Makselon: I would applaud these changesTVN24

“A bit like punching someone in the face, but with respect”

He indicated that he had one comment. – I don't fully understand the thought that has gone into writing so-called unofficial ethnic names, which are simply contemptuous or offensive, in capital or lower case letters. I mean, I'm not convinced that it will change anything if we can now write Żabojada, Kitajca or Macaroniarza with a capital letter. Will this make them have a less pejorative connotation? I have the impression, although I would like to emphasize that this is only my subjective perception, that writing frog-eater or pasta-maker with a capital letter is a bit like punching someone in the face, but with respect, he said.

He noted that “it's not like anything has been imposed on us here, that from now on we have to write macaroniarz or frogeater with a capital letter.” – This option was simply allowed – he added.

Changes in spelling. Polish teacher: the language must be flexible

When asked whether he had the impression that the new proposals were somehow lowering the “linguistic bar”, the TVN24 guest said that “the evolution of the language has always been perceived by purist circles as the erosion of the language itself – he explained.

– We think that the language should be the same as we learned it at school. And for it to be the way we learned it at school, it had to change many times before. If we were to stick to any such ideal patterns, we would probably have to stick to the language from Sigismund's times – there is a belief that it was the golden age of the Polish language. But this language would not fit today's realities at all, he explained.

Polish teacher Maciej Makselon: it seems to us that the language should be the way we know it

Polish teacher Maciej Makselon: it seems to us that the language should be the way we know itTVN24

– We use a whole lot of forms that were once considered incorrect, but today are correct, and the language has not been destroyed in this way. He didn't devalue himself. He just changed a little. And it is completely natural that language changes all the time. If he doesn't change, he will simply die in some way. The language must be flexible and adapt to the requirements of the constantly changing reality, he emphasized.

Polish teacher Maciej Makselon about the changes in spelling decided by the Polish Language Council

Polish teacher Maciej Makselon about the changes in spelling decided by the Polish Language CouncilTVN24

“The biggest language reform in 88 years

Makselon noted that “what happened a few days ago is the largest language reform in 88 years.” – Actually, when it comes into force, i.e. in two years, it will be the biggest reform in 90 years. Because the last major reform we had was in 1936, he clarified.

He also noted that after all, these are 11 changes over a period of several dozen years. – This shows us that, first of all, we are not dealing with any revolution. Rather with cosmetics, and cosmetics that do not mean that we will have to learn the language again, but rather meet our needs, simplify, unify certain rules or simply allow for greater freedom where there were exceptions or the existing rules were sufficient. it is unclear that society did not implement them anyway, he said.

Author:js, acre/cab

Main photo source: Morakod1977/Shutterstock



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