Polish language lovers in Chicago
First edition of Polish Dictation 2010 in the US
The Polish Dictando in Chicago was held on October 17, 2010 and was the first event of its kind organized in the United States. The initiators of the event, which has enjoyed great popularity in Poland for more than twenty years, in the Chicago Polish community are two long-time teachers from Polish schools, members of the Polish Teachers Association in America, people who for many years have been involved in promoting Polish culture and language among Polish youth: Alicja Kuklinska from the Polish School named after her. Gen. K.Pulaski and Alicja Nawara. Where did the idea of transplanting the event to the US come from?
The All-Poland Dictation is the oldest and most prestigious event of its kind in Poland. Its history dates back to 1987, when it was held for the first time in Katowice. The originator and creator of the Dictation for All Poles was a long-time radio journalist, then senator and deputy speaker of the Polish Senate – Krystyna Bochenek. It was she who came to visit Chicago in 2009, where at a reception at the Polish Consulate she met Alicja Kuklinska and Alicja Nawara, who pitched the idea of commemorating National Education Day by organizing a Dictation for the Polish community. Mrs. Deputy Speaker agreed to take the event under her patronage. She also promised to fly to Chicago in October 2010 to personally oversee the Dictation…
The Chicago Dictando was dedicated to the memory of Krystyna Bochenek, who died in a plane crash in April. Before it began, a film was screened documenting one of the deputy speaker’s recent stays in Chicago- a visit to the Polish School named after her. Maria Skłodowska-Curie.
The dictation marked the celebration of National Education Day in Chicago, which was prepared under the auspices of the Polish Teachers Association in America and the Polish Consulate General in Chicago. Dr. Katarzyna Klosinska, a member of the Presidium of the Polish Language Council at the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a lecturer at Warsaw University, a respected language expert, author of many scientific publications and radio programs on the Polish language, flew to Chicago at the invitation of the Polish Teachers Association. Dr. Klosinska was also the author of the text of the Dictation, which was created especially for the occasion. On Saturday morning, October 16, our school had the honor of hosting Dr. Klosinska on its doorstep. She conducted an interesting class for grades 8-11 on the origin and meaning of sayings and certain phraseological compounds in the Polish language.
The dictation took place in the main hall of the Polish Museum in America, amidst historical memorabilia collected for decades and giant paintings showing Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s triumphs on American soil. More than seventy people participated in the dictation, registering electronically by October 14. Among those struggling with Polish spelling, which is not the easiest after all, were teachers and principals of Polish schools, people involved in promoting Polish culture among the Polish community, authors of school textbooks, lovers of the Polish language, as well as people who wanted to test their knowledge of their native tongue. The event was honored by the presence of Consuls Aleksandra Krystek and Robert Rusiecki, President of the Polish Teachers Association in America Ewa Koch, Vice President of the Polish National Alliance Teresa N. Abick. Abick, vice-president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America- Anna Sokolowska, chairwoman of the Polish Museum in America- Maria Cieśla, and Museum director Jan Loryś. After a grueling dictation, Dr. Katarzyna Klosinska gave an interesting lecture on the modern Polish language and the changes taking place in it. At the same time, a ten-member committee chaired by Halina Czajkowska grappled with the results of the work of more than seventy participants in the Dictand, from among whom finalists were selected in two groups: Polish teachers and those not involved in teaching Polish in Polish schools.
Among teachers, the best were : Anna Rosa (1st place), Bernarda Redlinska (2nd place), Jadwiga Pytlik (3rd place). In the group of non-teachers, the winners were Malgorzata Kot (1st place), Iwona Szczupak (2nd place), Sebastian Rosiak (3rd place).
It promises that the Chicago edition of the nationwide dictation will permanently enter the calendar of Polish events overseas. Enjoying great interest not only from teachers, but also from many other representatives of the Polish diaspora, the dictation allows one to test one’s own knowledge of spelling rules and makes one aware of the dynamics of changes taking place in modern Polish, as well as how native speakers react to them.