I am asking about lower class rural population, I know that German was spoken in cities. There already exists maps which shows some details on the matter:

We can see a very clear language barrier between Breslau and Oppole, unfortunately the first map is not precise enough to show where exactly the limit was. The second map show districts, but does not show the language barrier between different villages within a district, so we cannot see exactly which villages are on each side of the former language barrier.

  • 1
    In 1900, who was recording and mapping this level of linguistic detail in Silesia? There are limits, even to bureaucracies.
    – jlawler
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 15:40
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    @jlawler. But there is no limit to the curiosity and industry of German linguists.
    – fdb
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 18:40
  • I'd poke around in the evidence brought forward by various parties at the Versailles negotiations after WWI. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


You can find some information about the language boundary in the project "Digitaler Wenkeratlas" at http://regionalsprache.de/ (not easy to navigate even with knowledge of German; the main Wenker map is under http://regionalsprache.de/SprachGis/Map.aspx?shortUrl=Y1vbU283 but you cannot click through to the questionaires).

Note that Wenker was primarily interested in dialectology, and German dialects specifically, but he also recoded other languages (in the area in question Polish and Czech dialects).

Note also that there was probably no such thing as a language barrier: Mixed language villages, bilingual individuals and migration from Polish speaking areas to the industrial centres of upper Silesia complicate the picture.

EDIT: The Wenker atlas does not recognize the Slavonic Silesian language (named Wasserpolnisch in colloquial Silesian German), this is subsumed under Polish as a dialect.

  • And how do I use this tool to answer my question, then?
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 13:36
  • @Bregalad Look up the place names, look up the original Wenker questionaires: Are there only German ones, only Polish ones, both German and Polish ones? Be creative, do research! The data are there and they are public. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 13:38
  • Oh I finally found the place where you can search them. (you know I am only A2 in german so this is though for me). The place I'm interested in have them in both German and Polish. That old handwriting is extremely though to read, though :)
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 13:47
  • @Bregalad You can find a key to the old German handwriting here: suetterlinschrift.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 9:23

My understanding is that the German-Polish border after the first world war followed the linguistic boundary fairly closely.

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    No it was not. Urban german speaking areas in the east went to poland, and rural polish speaking areas more in the west stayed in the germany. People that voted in the plesbicite were not just voting for linguistic but also political reasons. Finally, the result of the vote was only approximately taken in account when actually giving part of Silesia to Poland.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:31
  • See my edited question please.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:43

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