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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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Introduction

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1 Fine-grained examinations of sociolinguistic phenomena should be pursued with reference to the wider contexts in which they occur. In the era of globalization, numerous phenomena have global reach and investigating the sociolinguistics of English, an unsurpassable lingua franca of the present day world, without reference to the broader context of its functioning is like turning a blind eye to an invaluable insight allowing one to gain a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to its actual role and status in a specific locale. Accordingly, sociolinguistic aspects of the functioning of English in a given country, even though locally shaped, should be seen as determined by external, more global forces as well. In this light, the present dissertation strives to form solid theoretical and descriptive foundations for the following discussion of the sociolinguistics of English in Poland. This broad state-of-the-art outline gains even greater relevance since it seems to be the first attempt at adopting a holistic integrative approach to elaborate on this subject matter (in Poland). Just as importantly, to do justice to the exploration of the theme one should also take heed of the general, national (synchronic and diachronic) context in which the functioning of English is to be examined. These two perspectives, national and global, seem to be in the case of English of almost equal (profound) importance when pursuing sociolinguistic research concerning its actual role in a given location. Clearly, they allow one to discern, problematize, theorize and comprehensively account for a wide range of the...

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