About us

The Dialectology Workshop at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in a nutshell

Basic information

The Dialectology Workshop (DW) is an academic unit established to document the language spoken by inhabitants of rural and urban areas and to process the materials. Due to Poznań’s geographic location, the DW operates primarily in Wielkopolska and its border areas. The region’s history (divided during the Partitions into Prussia and Russia) makes it a linguistically interesting area (German or Russian linguistic and cultural influences, peripheral archaisms, the urban subdialect spoken in the city of Poznań). Field studies are carried out by the DW employees and in cooperation with the local communities (schools, local community centres, NGOs). As a result, a series of Wielkopolska Regional Dictionaries has been published.

Moreover, the DW stores materials collected by the first research teams. The so-called card-index compiled by A. Tomaszewski comes from the Interwar period. Regular recording of subdialects started shortly after the end of WWII (1946); the oldest recorded informant was born in 1875.

The DW team consists of:
– BŁAŻEJ OSOWSKI, Ph.D. (manager),
The retired academics include:
Moreover, the DW has two doctoral students:

Projects and conferences

At present, the DW is involved in project 0060/NPRH7/H11/86/2018 Regional thematic dictionaries of the language spoken in Wielkopolska, Gniezno and Konin counties. The goal of the project is to collect lexical material from central Wielkopolska (Gniezno county) and eastern Wielkopolska (Konin county), followed by compiling dictionaries due to the unsatisfactory state of development of Wielkopolska vocabulary. The obtained materials pertain to traditional activities performed by farmers and their wives. Due to the changing linguistic situation in rural areas, not only a subdialect is spoken there and, consequently, the research covers also the general, casual, regional and specialist Polish language. The goal is to present the linguistic situation in its entirety, without distortions resulting from narrowing down the view only to differential vocabulary.

What is more, since 2014, every two years the DW has organised a conference The language in a region – a region in the language on (contemporary and historical) dialectology, language teaching, the history of language, lexicology and lexicography, onomastics, language policy, sociolinguistics and other relations between language and a region. The speeches are published in reviewed volumes as part of The language in a region – a region in the language series.


The team of the Dialectology Workshop are editors of „Gwary Dziś” journal dedicated to Slavic dialectology, and „Slavia Occidentalis” journal where works on western Slavic languages are published together with materials on the contacts between Slavic and non-Slavic languages. The journals have made a name for themselves in the Slavic languages circles; researchers from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine have published their works. All Slavic and congress languages are accepted.

In cooperation with the Unit of Anthropological Linguistics, the Dialectology Workshop has published a series The language in a region – a region in the language. Three volumes have been published to date.


Poznań dialectology was originated by Adam Tomaszewski (1895-1945). He was involved in field research with a Wielkopolska dictionary in mind (materials from approximately 500 locations) – the work was never compiled (due to the outbreak of WWII) and a large part of the materials perished in the process while A. Tomaszewski died in transport to a concentration camp on 30 April 1945. His subdialect-related materials written on flash cards have survived and have been incorporated into the card index in the Dialectology Workshop of the Poznań University.

After WWII, when the university in Poznań was re-established, Ludwik Zabrocki launched an initiative of a phonographic archive of subdialects and in 1946, without much ado, he started to organise a Phonographic Archive. Its tasks included strictly archiving jobs as well as obtaining new subdialectal materials in order to trace the changes taking place in the rural language (L. Zabrocki assumed that research should be repeated every 25 years); for this reason a decision was made that field research was imperative. The destinations of the first trips were western Krajna, Opole Silesia, Warmia, Masuria, Kashubia and the surrounds. Over time, the Archive operated more and more dynamically and since 1951, as an independent unit: the Phonographic Institute of the Poznań University with Leon Kaczmarek, Ph.D., as its manager.

After less than 18 months (May 1952), the Institute was transformed into the Phonographic Unit at the Department of the Polish Language with a section in charge of archiving subdialects from which, in 1960, the Subdialect Archiving Workshop was separated as part of the Department of General Linguistics of the Poznań University. It was headed by Zenon Sobierajski until its closing in 1969. However, following Professor Sobierajski’s efforts, in 1974 the Unit of Polish Dialectology was opened and on 1 April 2009, transformed into the Dialectology Workshop. Its subsequent managers included Z. Sobierajski (until his retirement on 31 August 1987), Henryk Nowak (until his retirement on 31 August 2002), Jerzy Sierociuk (until his retirement on 31 December 2020) and Błażej Osowski (since 1 January 2021).