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Sociolinguistic aspects of the functioning of English in post-1989 Poland

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Krzysztof Przygonski

The fall of communism fully opened Poland to the processes and phenomena operating in ever globalizing world. In line with global trends, English in post-socialist Poland has been steadily growing in importance. By employing a holistic integrative approach utilizing relevant theoretical, descriptive, and empirical insights, the author builds up a comprehensive picture of the sociolinguistic functioning of English in post-1989 Poland. In order to supplement his integration and analysis of the state-of-the-art knowledge, the author devises an original investigation probing into the perceived power of English. The result is the first such comprehensive and insightful analysis of English in a post-socialist country.

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Table 1:Books and pamphlets translated into Polish by language of originals – the number of titles and copies (the latter in thousands) ...................................... 88 Table 2: Books and pamphlets by language of publication – titles and number of copies (the latter in thousands) ............................................................................ 93 Table 3: Newspapers and magazines published by language of origin – titles and copies (the latter in thousands) ......................................................................... 97 Table 4: The value of UK book exports to Poland in pound sterling since 1988 .... 99 Table 5: Full-length (new-releases and reruns) films in the cinemas by country of origin – titles and audiences ................................................................. 103 Table 6: The number of full-length dubbed films and other adaptations of full- and short-length films ............................................................................................ 106 Table 7: The frequency of foreign names of shops (adapted from Rzetelska- Feleszko 2000: 144) .............................................................................................. 124 Table 8:The number of loanwords, semantic, and syntactic borrowings in different corpora (adapted on the basis of Otwinowska-Kasztelanic 2000: 145 146) ................................................................................................................ 136 Table 9: The participation of Polish students in payable out-of-school activi- ties (adapted from Wciórka 2009a: 11) ................................................................. 150 Table 10: Estimated numbers of all first-year (full-time and part-time) students of English, German, French, and Russian attending both private and public colleges ................................................................................................ 168 Table 11: The commonness of compulsory foreign language teaching in Poland after 1989 .................................................................................................. 194 Table 12: The population of students taking the Matura exam in foreign languages (as both mandatory and additional subjects) and the mean results from the exam ........................................................................................................ 197 Table 13: Poles’ liking for Americans and Englishmen from 1993 till 2010 (adapted from Wądo...

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