The Polish alphabet is the script of the Polish language, the basis for the Polish system of orthography. It is based on the Latin alphabet but includes certain letters with diacritics: the kreska or acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź); the overdot or kropka (ż); the tail or ogonek (ą, ę); and the stroke (ł).
The letters q, v, and x, which are used only in foreign words, are usually not considered part of the Polish alphabet. However, prior to the standardization of the Polish language, the letter “x” was sometimes used in place of “ks”.
There are 32 letters in the Polish alphabet: 9 vowels and 23 consonants. Polish also makes frequent use of digraphs ch, cz, dz, dź, dż, rz, sz, and even one trigraph: dzi. Combinations of certain consonants with the letter i before a vowel can also be considered digraphs: ci as a positional variant of ć, si as a positional variant of ś, zi as a positional variant of ź, and ni as a positional variant of ń.
Polish first appeared in writing in 1136 in the “Gniezno papal bull” (Bulla gnieźnieńska), which included 410 Polish names. The first written Polish sentence was day ut ia pobrusa a ti poziwai (I’ll grind [the corn] in the quern and you’ll rest), which appeared in Ksiega henrykowska in 1270. In Modern Polish spelling that sentence is daj ać ja pobruszę, a ty poczywaj.
Literary Polish is based on the dialects of Gniezno, Cracow, and Warsaw, though there is some dispute about this.