History of The Dialectology Workshop at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

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.

doc. Adam Tomaszewski

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).