(together with Czech-Slovak, Upper and Lower Sorbian, and other Lekhitic languages) belongs to the West SlaviC
branch of SlaviC
languages. It has several dialects that correspond in the main to the old tribal divisions; the most significant of these (in terms of numbers of speakers) are Great Polish (spoken in the northwest), Little Polish (spoken in the southeast), Mazovian, and Silesian. Mazovian shares some features with Kashubian, whose remaining speakers (fewer than 200,000) live west of Gdansk near the BalticSea
. Elsewhere, Polish has been influenced by contact with foreign languages. In Silesia the inimitable regional patois contains a mixture of Polish and German elements. Since 1945, as the result of mass education and mass migrations, standard Polish has become far more homogeneous, although regional dialects persist. In the western and northern territories, resettled in large measure by PoleS
from the Soviet Union, the older generation came to speak a language characteristic of the former eastern provinces. Small numbers of people also speak Belarusian, Ukrainian, and German as well as several varieties of Romany.