Entitled Quarks, Elephants and Pierogi: Poland in 100 Words, the book has been published by the Warsaw-based Adam Mickiewicz Institute (IAM) and is now being featured at the public Art Gallery in the multicultural southern Canadian city near Toronto.
The Polish state-run institute’s Adam Żuławski, one of the three authors, alongside Mikołaj Gliński and Matthew Davies, wrote in the preface that the publication aims to "show Poland in a nutshell, through Polish words."
IAM’s website, culture.pl, added the volume “is also about communication, about how the same words mean different things in different languages, about the wealth of synonyms and about untranslatable expressions.”
The showcase, which opened on Monday, presents Magda Burdzyńska’s illustrations for the book, depicting challenging Polish words such as gżegżółka (a folk name for the common cuckoo), apsik (a sneezing expression), brrr (the word Polish people say when they are cold) and żubr (Polish for the European bison).
Delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition in Mississauga, on Lake Ontario in southern Canada, is accompanied by a wider programme, including a workshop for children, who “will have a chance to test their imagination about words and letters,” according to Poland’s Consulate General in Toronto, which has helped organise the event.
At Monday’s opening, Poland's Consul General to Canada, Krzysztof Grzelczyk, said it was fitting that a book about Polish culture, letters and words should be celebrated in such a multiethnic city as Mississauga.
This message was also underlined by Sheref Sabawy and Natalia Kusendova, members of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario.
Mississauga is home to a large part of Canada’s Polish diaspora, and Polish is among the area's five main languages, in addition to English and French, Poland's PAP news agency reported.