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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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Figure 1:Translations of books and pamphlets into Polish by language of originals – the number of new titles ........................................................................ 89 Figure 2:Translations of books and pamphlets into Polish by language of originals – the number of copies in thousands ........................................................ 91 Figure 3: Books and pamphlets by language of publication – titles ........................ 95 Figure 4:Books and pamphlets by language of publication – the number of copies ....................................................................................................................... 96 Figure 5: The number of newspapers and magazines by language of publica- tion – the number of titles ........................................................................................ 98 Figure 6:The number of newspapers and magazines by language of publica- tion –the number of copies in thousands ................................................................. 98 Figure 7:The value of UK book exports to Poland in pound sterling since 1988 ....................................................................................................................... 100 Figure 8: The number of new film releases in the cinemas in Poland by country of origin .................................................................................................... 104 Figure 9:The number of viewers in the cinema by country of films’ origin ........ 104 Figure 10:Estimated numbers of all students (attending both private and public colleges) of English, German, French, and Russian .................................. 169 Figure 11:Poles’ self-reported ability to communicate in foreign languages (the period 1997 – 2009) (adapted from Wciórka 2009b: 12) ............................... 188 Figure 12: Foreign (compulsory) language teaching in Polish public schools (all counted together) since 1992/1993 (on the basis of Zarębska 2006; Zarębska 2009) ...................................................................................................... 192

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