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The oldest known Polish/Czech/Silesian sentence, highlighted in yellow
Book of Henryków memorial in Brukalice

The Book of Henryków ( , ) is a Latin chronicle of the Cistercian abbey in Henrykówmarker ( ) in Lower Silesia. Originally created as a registry of belongings looted by the Mongol raids of 1241, with time it was extended to include the history of the monastery. It is notable as the earliest document to include a sentence written entirely in what can be interpreted as an early Polish or Czech or Silesian language. Currently the book is on exhibition in the Diocesan Museum in Wrocławmarker.

The first part of the 100-page-long book is devoted to the early history of the abbey, from its foundation by Henry the Bearded in 1227 until 1259. The second part includes the later history until 1310. In the record for 1270 a semi-anonymous peasant from the nearby village named Brukalicemarker is reported to say to his wife "Day, ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai", which could be roughly translated as "Let me, I shall grind, and you take a rest".

The circumstances under which this sentence was written closely reflected the cultural and literary conditions in Poland in the first centuries of its national existence. It appeared in a Latin chronicle, written by a German abbot. The man who reportedly uttered the sentence almost one hundred years earlier was Bogwal, a Czech (Bogwalus Boemus), a local settler and subject of Bolesław the Tall, as he felt compassion for his wife, who "very often stood grinding by the quern-stone".

The Czech, Polish or Silesian sentence

The sentence "Day, ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai" contains elements characteristic of (alphabetically) Czech, Polish, and Silesian languages: "day" (modern Polish ending "-aj", in modern Czech and Silesian "-ej"), "ut" (modern Czech "ať", Silesian "dyć", Polish "niech"), "pobrusa" (Silesian ending "-a", Polish "-ę", Czech "-ím"). In Silesian till today functions the word brusić ("to sharpen", Polish "ostrzyć").

See also


  1. Allen Kent, Harold Lancour, Jay E. Daily, "Encyclopedia of library and information science", CRC Press, 1978, pg. 3, [1]
  2. Barbara i Adam Podgórscy: Słownik gwar śląskich. Katowice: Wydawnictwo KOS, 2008, page 12. ISBN 978-83-60528-54-9.

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