Some background on the Kashubian culture
Kaszëbi (Polish: Kaszubi, English: Kashubs) are indigenous Slavic people, currently mostly inhabiting the Province of Pomerania. In the Middle Ages, the territory inhabited by the Kashubs covered the whole of Pomerania – from the Vistula to the Oder.
It is not known exactly what the origin of the name Kaszuby [Kashubia] is – probably the word meant wetlands. Kashubs were called Pomorzanie [Pomeranians] by the neighbors of Poland living in the south, which stood for people living in the areas aż po morze [literally: up to the sea].
These days, the Kashubian community includes about 500,000 people. Kashubs live in the following districts: Puck, Wejherowo, Kartuzy and Kościerzyna – in these areas they constitute the majority, as well as Lębork, Słupsk, Bytóaw, Chojnice, and cities: Gdynia, Sopot and Gdańsk – where they are in the minority. The historical capital of Kashubia is Gdańsk.
Kashubs speak the Kashubian language which belongs to the West Slavic language group. It is most closely related to the Polish language and the extinct speeches of the Polabian Slavs who – in the Middle Ages – lived west of the Oder. In Kashubian one can find many common features for Slavic languages and a lot of Germanisms that have permeated from German (including plattdeutsch), Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Frisian or even the Baltic languages.
The Kashubian language disappears under the pressure of stronger cultures: Germanization (formerly) and Polonization (now). Currently, it is used by around 200,000 people, mainly people over 50 years of age.
Most Kashubs use local varieties of the Kashubian language, often significantly different in phonetics, accent and vocabulary. Literary Kashubian has only been taught since the mid-1990s. Radzëzna Kaszëbsczégò Jãzëka (Polish: Rada Języka Kaszubskiego, English: Kashubian Language Council) deals with the standardization of the supra-local Kashubian language.