Its written standard is the Polish alphabet, which has 9 additions to the letters of the basic Latin script (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż).
First-language speakers of Polish have no trouble understanding each other, and non-native speakers may have difficulty distinguishing regional variations.
Polish is normally described as consisting of four or five main dialects: Kashubian, spoken in Pomerania west of Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea, is often considered a fifth dialect.
In Ukraine it is most common in western Lviv and Volyn Oblasts, while in West Belarus it is used by the significant Polish minority, especially in the Brest and Grodno regions and in areas along the Lithuanian border.
There are significant numbers of Polish speakers among Polish emigrants and their descendants in many other countries.
Ultimately, Polish is thought to descend from the unattested Proto-Slavic language.