The Polish language is present in two basic communication communities: the dense community in Poland and the diasporic community abroad. The present situation of the Polish language in the world depends directly on the transformations which occurred in its contemporary history, that is the period 1939-1945-1990-2000. In comparison to global languages, the mobility of Polish is limited. Yet it can be hoped that the Polish language will properly fit into the civilisation situation in the integrated world and it can be assumed that the development of Polish will be progressive. The current situation of Polish abroad, which significantly differs from the one described ten-odd years ago, justifies the postulate of a new study, which would include demographic, geographic, linguistic, cultural and economic determinants.
Researchers of the Polish communities abroad condition the development of the Polish language outside of Poland on such extralinguistic factors as: 1) the political status of the Polonocentric community, 2) the origin of this community in relation to the processes of autochthonisation and migration (emigration), 3) intentions towards the culture of the country of residence, 4) social status and social mobility, 5) legal norms related to the communicative community, 6) the degree of community cohesion, 7) generational differences, 8) history of formation and development. Taking into consideration the above-mentioned assumptions, it can be stated that the Polish minority in the former North-Eastern Borderlands (in Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus) has autochthonic traits and is distinguished by the degree of spatial concentration and preservation of the autonomous character of its culture. The preservation of the identity and language is mainly influenced by such institutions as school, church and various sociocultural institutions, which integrate Poles as a national minority. Among the enumerated objective factors school is the most important institution because it allows the preservation of the written code. Written language becomes a tool for cultural development and allows further preservation of active multilingualism.
The paper examines the situation of the Polish language in Ukraine, the history of the development of this language from its appearance on the modern Ukrainian territory to the period of the so-called “revival” of the Polish education in independent Ukraine. The change in the population size of the people with the Polish origin from 1979 to the last census dated 2001 has been considered. The paper lists the reasons that largely influenced the reduction in the number of Polish Ukrainians in the USSR and in the post-Soviet Ukraine. The number of Poles in certain regions has been studied as well as the territories that are dominated by a number of Poles who live there have been identified. The process of teaching the Polish language at all educational levels has been studied; the role of Polish public organisations that are quite actively involved in activities aimed at teaching all interested persons, regardless of their age and origin, the Polish language, the history of Poland, and traditions of the nearest neighbour has been clarified. The role of the various funds from Poland in support of teaching the language outside the Republic of Poland has been specified. The place of the Polish language among other languages of national minorities has been defined, the role of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine in the development of the Polish education in the country has been mentioned, and prospects of teaching the Polish language in Ukraine have been indicated.
The paper presents the situation of the Polish language in Italy and in north-eastern regions of France, particularly in Alsace. It refers to important historical facts of the interwar period, the sources and motives of emigration movements that affect the current status. The quoted statistical data prove the physical presence of citizens of Poland in Italy and France, and the sociolinguistic description of emigration circles allows comparisons between both these countries. Apart from specific data about places of residence of Polish emigrants, enclaves, cultural and educational activities pursued by Polish communities, the paper enumerates characteristic features of the Polish language used by Poles born in Italy and France. Focusing on the phenomenon of two types of interference: predicted and real, the author invokes a range of examples illustrating mechanisms such as neutralisation, linguistic and cultural integration, bilingualism. What is emphasised is the activity of Polish communities abroad in both countries, despite common disintegrating factors and impact of multilingual communities, and their efforts in maintaining the Polish identity and propagating the Polish language.
This text discusses the status of the Polish language in selected English-speaking countries. The situation of Polish as the primary language and the second language against the linguistic policy pursued by the countries of settlement. The Polish language is presented in comparison to other ethnic minority languages in a given area. Education of Polish communities abroad, its structure, assumptions and forms of education are described in brief. The author also presents statistical data about the population of Poles in the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Great Britain.