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


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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An analysis of the World Englishes paradigm (understood in the broad sense of the term) and a tentative observation (and knowledge) of the sociolinguistic functioning of English in Poland allowed the author to come to a conclusion that the most significant aspects necessary to delineate a (macro-)sociolinguistic picture of English in post-transformational Poland are: (1) Englishization and Americanization of the Polish language and culture, (2) the stratificational functioning of English, (3) language planning and policy, (4) sociolinguistic aspects of English language teaching, (5) attitudinal aspects concerning English, its status, diffusion, and impact, (6) the power of English. It was also recognized that accounting for the functioning of English in Poland cannot be analyzed without reference to more global forces impacting on the actual local profile of English. Just as every part of the description of the sociolinguistics of English in Poland greatly owes its final shape, contents, focus, and approach to the first state-of-the- art chapter, hardly any conclusion would have been arrived at without relating the descriptive facts from Chapters 2, 3 and 4 to the more general principles, models, interpretations and theories. The holistic integrative approach adopted in this project resulted in, thus, not only a comprehensive choice of topics relevant to the sociolinguistic aspects of the functioning of English in Poland but also an integration of major current approaches and models to account for the existing phenomena and processes. For reasons of clarity the Conclusion is divided into subsections referring to various descriptive, applied, empirical and...

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