By Kate Torgovnick

A look at TEDxRawaRiver, an event in Poland where the first TED Talk in Silesian was given.

A look at TEDxRawaRiver, an event in Poland where the first TEDx Talk in Silesian was given.

By Krystian Aparta, as told to Kate Torgovnick

Silesian is a Slavic language spoken by about 500,000 people in a region of Poland known as Silesia. Because the region had been home to a large German population until World War II, and because in neighbors the Czech Republic, it consists largely of German and Czech vocabulary. But while it’s often considered a dialect of Czech or Polish, it isn’t so easy for Czech- or Polish- speaking people to follow it. Silesian is its own language — and one in danger of dying out. And yet this month, Silesian became the 103rd language available on This may very well help Silesian survive.

I grew up in a Silesian family. Until I was three, I lived in a different part of Poland — so my first memories of the language are of trying to pick it up. It wasn’t always easy, as there was often an overlap between what a word meant in Polish and what a word meant in Silesian. I remember my grandmother saying “latosh,” which sounded to me like the

Original Article Found Here: Silesian, the 103rd language on, and the story behind it


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