Re: Are Polish and Ukrainian mutually intelligible?
Slavic languages all have some degree of mutual intelligibility.
It depends more on exposure than anything else really. You can see this with how Ukrainians understand Russian much better than Russians understand Ukrainian.
Almost 100% of Ukrainians can speak and understand Russian as it is taught in schools and used everywhere. However, Russians struggle to understand much of Ukrainian because they have almost zero exposure to it.
Poles and Ukrainians are not really exposed to Ukrainian and Polish (respectively) too much.
Ukrainian is an Eastern Slavic language like Belarusian (which hardly anybody speaks natively) and Russian. However, Ukraine and Belarus both share borders with Poland and their national languages are thus obviously closer to Polish (a Western Slavic language) than Russian is (the languages follow a continuum and used to slowly blend into each other).
Additionally, Ukraine and Belarus have both had periods of Polish rule, where Polish was spoken by the elite and many words and features of Polish entered Ukrainian and Belarusian. This makes Ukrainian sound even closer to Polish.
Still, the standard variant of Ukrainian is based on the Kiev dialect (I think?). This is not really mutually intelligible with Polish. The closer you get to Lviv, the more Polish features are present...but still not fully mutually intelligible.
I have seen Poles and Ukrainians communicate in their own languages with some difficulty. It seems like if there was more exposure, they would have a better chance of understanding each other.
Polish's best mutually intelligibility is with the other Slavic languages based in Poland, followed by Slovak, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Czech.
Ukrainian's most mutually intelligible language is Belarusian. It's probably hard to say whether Ukrainian is more intelligible with Russian or Polish because - as mentioned - close to 100% of Ukrainians understand Russian.
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