Chapter 4: Poles’ perception of the (sociolinguistic) functioning of English in Poland
4.1. Introduction So far the examination of the sociolinguistics of English in post-1989 Poland has focused on the description of various aspects of the actual functioning of the language (especially, Englishization, Americanization, stratificational functions, as well as its role in Polish language policy and the educational system). The present chapter is an attempt to complete the discussion by probing into Poles’ attitudes and beliefs pertaining to the aforesaid phenomena. Specifically, the first section of the chapter refers to the few investigations of particular relevance to this aim, provides an overview of the literature on the topic, and presents some personal reflections of the author. The second one reports on the empirical part of the dissertation, i.e. an investigation of the perception of the power of English in Poland (specifically, the perceived importance and role of the language in the eyes of upper secondary school students). Importantly, discussions, both scholarly and non-scholarly, pertaining to the is- sue of perception and, notably, attitudes are commonly characterized by a consider- able lack of terminological clarity, not to say confusion. Most likely, part of the blame rests with the widespread popularity of the issues of ‘perception’ both among laymen and academics from various backgrounds with some leanings to- wards the social dimension of their disciplines. The major problem of ‘attitudinal research’, thus, seems to lie not in methodological concerns or research tools but in conceptual lucidity (for details see Przygoński 2005: 18-19). Frequently, there seems to be much indistinctness as to the actual...
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