The Council for the Polish Language at the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) 2002 Annual Report
In 2002 the Council (Council for the Polish Language, RJP) worked in several different areas. Firstly, during the plenary sessions, RJP discussed its responsibilities stipulated in the Language Act. The Council focused on the work done by the Presidium and the Commissions. The Council’s members and experts answered queries concerning the use of language. The Council worked on the report prepared for the Polish Parliament: “Sprawozdanie o stanie ochrony języka polskiego” [Report on the State of Protection of the Polish Language]. Finally, the Council members participated in international conferences, where they had the opportunity to promote the institution and its work.
I. The biggest task in 2002 was the preparation of the “Sprawozdanie o stanie ochrony języka polskiego” [Report on the State of the Protection of the Polish Language]” for the Polish Parliament, which is one of the Council’s responsibilities stipulated in the Language Act. The 200-page typescript containing an analysis of specific issues was prepared by a group of fourteen people. It was attached as an appendix to an overall 15-page analysis prepared by the Council.
II. The May and November plenary sessions, preceded by meetings of the Presidium, provoked heated debates and several important resolutions were passed. In May, the final versions of the definitions for “trade name” and “proper name” were approved. This was essential since the Council had been receiving numerous queries concerning that particular issue; the terms were left undefined in the Language Act. During the November session, the Council assumed honorary patronage over the program “Zabawy językiem polskim” [Polish Language Games] (Polish National Television, TVP) and over linguistics publications of TRIO. A committee was formed to deal with the issue of forms of women’s surnames in official documents (this was relevant due to the approaching accession of Poland to the EU).
III. During the year, the Chairperson of the Council decided to recommend five dictionaries (published by Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN and Wilga). The decision was based on the positive opinions given by the Council’s members and external experts.
IV. During the two sessions, the Council passed six resolutions on spelling concerning, for example, the spelling of multi-element names of historical monuments, subheadings in magazine titles, titles of one-off newspaper supplements, and the subordinate elements in constructions such as “Dumas ojciec” [Dumas, père].
V. The Council agreed that changes must be made to how the Polish language is taught at all the levels of education. It suggested making efforts to improve the curricula of Polish language courses.
VI. The Chairperson of the Council was invited to join the team at the Central Examination Board working on the required standards for the Matura Exam in Polish, “Nowa matura” for 2005. The results of the team’s work were presented to the Minister of National Education and Sport.
VII. Each year the bulk of the Council’s work is devoted to writing expert evaluations and reviews on matters concerning the use of the Polish language in public communication. In 2002, evaluations were made for the Ministry of National Education and Sport, Ministry of Culture, PAN’s Presidium, the Tax Office and private individuals. The members of the Presidium, and in particular the Chairperson and the Secretary provided over 170 evaluations and guidelines concerning the use of language in areas such as: trade names of goods, semantics, grammatical and stylistic issues and unusual names. The correspondence was conducted both by traditional mail and via the Internet.
VIII. In April 2002, the Chairperson delivered a presentation on the current Polish language policies and the work of the Council at a session held by the Czech Linguistic Association. His speech met with great interest.
IX. In 2002, the Council’s Commissions were very active.
1. In February 2002, the Didactic Commission took the position that the curricula of academic courses in Polish language should be adapted to reflect the changes in the school curricula. During subsequent sessions, the commission discussed the changes made to the basic school curricula. It also debated the propositions to introduce changes into its 2001 seminal publication that deals with the teaching of Polish in schools, “Nauka o języku polskim w reformowanej szkole” [Polish Language in Schools after the Education Reform] (eds. J. Puzynina and A. Mikołajczuk).
2. During its two sessions, the Religious Language Commission focused on religious terminology, this lead to an animated debate. It was decided, therefore, that in 2003 a Conference should be organized to discuss these issues.
3. The members of the Medical Language and IT Terminology Commissions worked with their respective leaders on expert evaluations.
X. The Council published two issues of “Komunikaty Rady Języka Polskiego przy Prezydium PAN” [Announcements of The Council for the Polish Language at the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences] (nos. 10 and 11), twenty-two pages each in A3 format. It consisted of expert evaluations and opinions concerning the use of Polish, resolutions passed and positions assumed by the Council, as well as academic reviews.
XI. In 2002, the Council continued to keep its website updated with its reviews and announcements.
XII. The year 2002 also saw the death of two Council members: Andrzej Wróblewski-Ibis died in March, and Professor Bogusław Kreja died in December. During the plenary session in May 2002, the Council invited Professor Tadeusz Zgółka to join its ranks.
It should be emphasized that in 2002 the Council for the Polish Language was working with limited financial resources provided by the Presidium of PAN. The support obtained barely covered the costs of evaluations and organizing plenary and Commissions’ sessions. This is why the latter were reduced to two per year. The Council has no full-time employees. A small salary is paid to the Technical Secretary. The Chairperson and the Secretary of the Council receive symbolic fees for replying to letters. Most of the matters at hand were dealt with via private e-mails. The Council obtained its first and only computer in December 2002 and only after numerous pleas to the PAN’s team managing the work of its Councils and Commissions. The work was carried out mostly thanks to the dedication of the Council’s members, as well as due to the sense of responsibility and commitment to the state and well-being of the Polish language, shared by members and experts alike.
I. Structure and Organization
1. Plenary Sessions
a) 12th Plenary Session of the RJP (21 May 2002) – key issues:
§ Preparation of the 5th ”Forum Kultury Słowa” [Forum for the Good Usage of Polish]; K. Mosiołek-Kłosińska, PhD, presented the progress of preparations for the 5th Forum, to be held in Lublin.
§ New member of the Council (following the death of A. Wróblewski); the Council invited Professor T. Zgółka to join its ranks.
§ Final version of the definitions for “trade name” and “proper name”; as the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection had no objection to the definitions suggested by Professor W. Pisarek, the Council accepted these definitions.
§ Spelling Resolutions of the RJP; the Council passed four resolutions on spelling.
§ Change in the formula of publications recommended by the RJP; the members changed this from: “This volume has been evaluated by the Council for the Polish Language by the Polish Academy of Sciences” to “This volume has been positively reviewed by the Council for the Polish Language by the Polish Academy of Sciences”.
§ Expansion of the list of first names used in Poland; the Council’s members were asked to submit their suggestions of names to be appended to the official name database.
b) 13th Plenary Session of the RJP (November 19, 2002) – key issues:
§ Progress on the development of the “Sprawozdanie o stanie ochrony języka polskiego” [Report on the State of the Protection of the Polish Language] for the Polish Parliament; the members of the Council learned about the progress of works on the report, which, according to the Polish Language Act, is to be presented to the Polish Sejm and Senate.
§ Announcement of the Council’s involvement in the drafting of the “Ustawa [...] o zmianie ustawy o języku polskim oraz ustawy o zawodzie lekarza”[the Amendment to the Polish Language Act and the Medical Profession Act] Professor Pisarek’s amendment to the Language Act was presented to the Council.
§ Presentation of the Presidium’s position on the “language issues present in the Polish Law Analysis Team’s report concerning the law’s conformity to articles 28-30 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community”; the Council members were presented with the Presidium’s position on the “language issues […]” formulated by Professor W. Pisarek.
§ Presentation of recommended publications; the members were presented with a list of dictionaries positively reviewed by Council-appointed specialists and recommended by the Council.
§ The Council’s Patronage; the Council accepted TVP’s [Polish National Television] invitation to have honorary patronage over the TV program, “Zabawy językiem polskim” [Polish Language Games], as well as the proposal made by TRIO, a publishing house, to assume patronage over all its linguistic publications.
§ Creation of a Surnames Team; due to the numerous requests concerning changes of their last names made by women living abroad (changing those ending with –cka, -ska, and -dzka into –cki, -ski, and –dzki respectively; the lack of any official norms regarding the suffixed forms of women’s last names), the Council, together with employees of the Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA), decided to create a team to work on a draft amendment changing the regulations concerning the recording of Polish names. The team includes Professors Bajerowa, Puzynina, and Pisarek.
§ Preparations for the 5th “Forum Kultury Słowa”; the Chairperson presented the stage of preparations for the conference.
§ The Council’s Spelling Resolutions; the Council passed two resolutions on spelling.
2. Presidium Sessions
a) 21 May 2002 – key issues:
§ discussion concerning the procedure for issuing the Council’s recommendation for publications about the grammar and style of Polish;
§ discussion concerning the preparations for the 5th “Forum Kultury Słowa”;
§ decision to invite Professor T. Zgółka to join the Council, following the death of Professor A. Wróblewski;
§ discussion concerning the Council’s authority in evaluating Polish equivalents of foreign academic degrees.
b) 19 November 2002 – key issues:
§ discussion concerning election procedures (due to the ending of the current term of office of PAN’s Presidium);
§ final decision to accept patronage over the publications of TRIO on grammar and style, and honorary patronage over the TV Program, “Polskie Gry Językowe”;
§ update on the progress of the “Sprawozdanie o stanie ochrony języka polskiego” [Report on the State of Protection of the Polish Language ];
§ update on the preparations for the 5th “Forum Kultury Słowa”;
§ discussion concerning the Council’s authority in deciding on the forms of Polish surnames.
3. The Structure of the Council
a) the Didactic Commission (Chaired by Professor J. Puzynina);
b) the Religious Language Commission (Chaired by The Rev. Professor W. Przyczyna);
c) the IT Language Commission (Chaired by Professor A.J. Blikle), created in 2001;
d) the Medical Language Commission (Chaired by Professor J. Doroszewski);
e) the Legal Language Commission (Chaired by Professor M. Zieliński).
II. Academic activities
1. Conference and the Promotion of the Polish Language
In 2002, the Council did not organize any conferences.
III. Expert evaluations, opinions and consultations
1. Expert evaluations
§ “The Course of Action in Preparation of Parliamentary Acts and the Council’s participation in these efforts” – evaluation by Professor M. Zieliński (for PAN’s Presidium and A.S. Kisiel);
§ evaluation concerning the “language issues present in the Polish Law Analysis Team’s report concerning the law’s conformity to articles 28-30 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community” by Professor W. Pisarek (for the Ministry of Culture);
§ evaluation concerning the amendments to the Language Act and the Medical Profession Act prepared by Professor W. Pisarek (for the Ministry of National Education and Sport);
§ linguistic interpretation of article 11/50 of the “Dziennik Ustaw Rzeczypospolitej” [Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland] (Dz.U. 11/50) by Professor M. Zieliński (for W. Kazimierczak);
§ evaluation concerning the equivalence between Polish and foreign academic degrees and titles by Professor A. Markowski (for Z. Frąckiewicz);
§ evaluation concerning the equivalence between Polish and foreign academic degrees and titles by Professor M. Jurkowski (for Z. Frąckiewicz);
§ evaluation concerning the knowledge necessary to design a computer program by Professor A.J. Blikle (for Tax Office 1 in Bielsko-Biala);
§ evaluation concerning medical terms beginning with the prefixes: “osteo-“ and “osseo-“ by Professor J. Doroszewski (for Dr. A. Zarowski).
§ “Sprawozdanie o stanie ochrony języka polskiego” [Report on the State of Protection of Polish Language] for the Polish Parliament in compliance with the Language Act):
o legislative activities of the Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland in view of the state of the Polish language, by Professor W. Pisarek;
o the fate of the MSWiA’s resolution concerning signs and information addressed to the general public, by Professor M. Zieliński;
o steps taken by government institutions to ensure proper use of language among its officials, by M. Zawisławska, PhD;
o Polish language in legal and official documents, by U. Pelczarska, A. Stańska, and I. Maciszewska;
o steps taken by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to control the use of language in legal and official documents, by E. Ostrowska, PhD;
o public media’s campaign for the proper use of Polish, by T. Bereda, M. Dolacka, and M. Tułowiecka;
o vulgar language in the media and literature between 2000 and 2001, by D. Kopczyńska;
o language counseling in Poland, by A. Hącia;
o Polish language teaching after the reform of education, by A. Mikołajczuk, PhD;
o current needs in the field of teaching Polish as a foreign language, by Professor W. Miodunka;
o current status of the MENiS’s resolution concerning the language aptitude of foreigners living in Poland, by Professor W. Miodunka;
o conclusion by Professor A. Markowski.
2. Opinions and Consultations
§ 172 (including 65 by Professor A. Markowski; 104 by K. Mosiołek-Kłosińska, PhD; 2 by Professor A.J. Blikle, and 1 by Professor W. Pisarek).
In 2002, the Council did not publish any books.
§ “Komunikaty Rady Języka Polskiego przy Prezydium PAN” [Announcements of The Council for the Polish Language at the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences] – nos. 10 and 11 (400 copies each).
Translated by Marta Usiekniewicz