Bartłomiej Chromik University of Warsaw, Artes Liberales, moc.liamg|kimorhc.jeimoltrab#moc.liamg|kimorhc.jeimoltrab


We usually associate endangered languages with distant, „exotic” areas. My presentation concerned Wymysiöeryś. It is a languange spoken by only 50 people in a town of Wilamowice, which is located in southern Poland between Bielsko-Biała and Oświęcim (one could say it is in the heart of Europe). Most of linguists claim that Wymysiöeryś is an enclave of a Silesian dialect of German language, which remains a lot of archaic, medieval features. People of Wilamowice do not agree with that theory. They perceive themselves rather as descendants of Frisians, Flemings or Anglo-Saxons.

Although the population of Wilamowice has never been exceeded the number of c.a. 3000, since 19th century a literature in Wymysiöeryś was written. The most notable author is Florian Biesik. He worked as a railroad officer in Trieste. There he got acquainted with the writings of Dante Alighieri. He fascinated Biesik as an author and the “father” of Italian literary language. Inspired by the “Divine comedy” he wrote his poem “Óf jer Wełt” (“In the other world”).

On the eve of the Second World War, most of inhabitants of the town used Wymysiöeryś in daily conversations. Unfortunately after the war, the language was fought by the new communist rulers of Poland. For several years it was forbidden to use the language. Even when the ban was left people were still afraid to use their mother tongue. As the consequence the number of users of Wymysiöeryś dramatically felt.

There is however hope that the language will not fall into oblivion. Among the youngest generation of inhabitants of the town there are people (Tymoteusz Król, Justyna Majerska) who make efforts to revitalize their language. They are supported by a group scientist. Their work has already brought good results.

Further reading

Barciak, Antoni
2001 Wilamowice. Przyroda, historia, język, kultura oraz społeczeństwo miasta i gminy.

Gara, Józef
2004 Zbiór wierszy o wilamowskich obrzędach i obyczajach oraz słownik języka wilamowickiego.

Kleczkowski, Adam
1920 Dialekt Wilamowic w zachodniej Galicji. Fonetyka i fleksja.
1921 Dialekt Wilamowic w zachodniej Galicji. Składnia.

Król, Tymoteusz
2012 Sława fum Wilhelm, Wilamowice.

Latosiński, Józef
1909 Monografia Miasteczka Wilamowic. Na podstawie źródeł autentycznych. Kraków (reprint: Wilamowice 1990).

Młynek, Ludwik
1907 Narzecze wilamowickie. Tarnów.

Mojmir, Herman
1930-1936 Wörterbuch der deutschen Mundart von Wilamowice.

Wicherkiewicz, Tomasz
2003 The Making of a Language. The case of the Idiom of Wilamowice, Southern Poland.

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