The sources are very controversial. Is there any agreement if I can use полячка, or is it полька?

  • If you call a Polish woman “полячка”, it can cause a trauma, a physical body trauma for you. :D
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 15:43
  • See also Полька и полячка
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:09
  • It is sometimes used even in the Interent, e.g. here in the last sentence: vesti.ru/article/1962034
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 18:06
  • A bit more info on the topic.
    – Zeus
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 5:29
  • Yellow Sky ... no matter what traumas the полячки put on us, we will always have retaliated them, and with a very big addition :) youtu.be/eanwjsP5aRU :) Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


It's obsolete and currently considered the incorrect form with "полька" being the only valid form. In the third edition of Dahl's dictionary, the editor, famous linguist Иван Александрович Бодуэн де Куртенэ stated that:

Полячка ж., презрит.[ельное], вм[есто] полька.

What is not immediately obvious from his name, Бодуэн де Куртенэ was also of Polish roots and was a strong proponent of Polish (at least) cultural autonomy. I'm mentioning this only to assume that he did know how exactly Polish community felt about that word. By the way, @YellowSky’s comment is absolutely correct, it indeed sounds very offensive to a Polish speaker.

So, stick with "полька", that would be my advise. In that aspect situation is somewhat close to what's happening with word "негр" right now. For millions of native speakers (me included) it was a neutral term pretty much like "шатен" or, don't know "блондин" with honestly zero racist connotation. Because Russian does not exist in vacuum, because it's evolving and there's still such thing as international cultural context, by many people it gradually came to be perceived as something inappropriate. It's quite a flammable topic, but I'm only describing here current state of things and ongoing tendencies.

However I also need to stress out that the situation is not like with, say, "жид", which transformed from relatively neutral term to an undoubtedly derogatory term.

"Полячка" is still used by many interchangeably with "полька" and many of its users even have no idea that one version is more preferable than the other. I guess because it sounds like, say, "москвичка".

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    "Baudouin de Courtenay was also of Polish roots and was a strong proponent of Polish (at least) cultural autonomy. I'm mentioning this only to assume that he did know" - that's why his opinion should in no way be taken into account here. :) In itself the word "полячка is nothing more offensive or ironic than "москвичка", "сибирячка", "калмычка", and in several dozen other similar geographic-ethnic words. It is completely normal and is used by the masses without any connotations. In general. Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:46
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    And note - that, on the contrary, the word "полька" can rather have similar actual comical connotations - thanks to the associations with the famous dance:> Actually. :) In our reality. Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:47
  • @Пилум his opinion should be taken at least as an evidence of that Polish community found this term offensive. Пушкин later on in his life came to the same conclusion and urge Vyazemskiy not to used "полячка".
    – shabunc
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:48
  • And what does have to do the opinion of Polish nationalists (or even political sympathies of Pushkin) with the Russian language, and with the modern Russian language ? In my opinion, It has nothing to do with it. No one can explain to me why a "полячка" is more insulting to a "cибирячка" - from the point of view of language. :) I don't see anything offensive in this - just as millions of other people don't see it. I know in Polish this sounds smth like as a "smoking woman" or smth like this - and what ? :> It's the Polish language and it's the Russian language. Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:58
  • @Пилум at that point in time Polish community was not a stranger to Russian language and was in its right to have an opinion about words in Russian concerning them. Also - it's not like some police will come for you - use whatever you want to use, nobody can (or wants) to stop you.
    – shabunc
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 12:01

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