Show Less
Restricted access

Language Maintenance – Language Attrition

The Case of Polish Children in Sweden


Roman Laskowski

The monograph, based on broad studies into the Polish diaspora in Sweden, provides a picture of the social factors influencing the maintenance of the heritage language and culture by the second generation of emigrants. The author’s main objective, however, is to discover the systemic mechanisms underlying language acquisition by children in a bilingual setting and to investigate the influence of the interference from the dominant language on the acquisition of Polish. A particular attention is devoted to the category of case, which is absent from Swedish. Although it, generally, represents a description of a particular linguistic material, in fact the book addresses problems of the theory of language acquisition. The results and conclusions enable a better understanding of the universal semiotic and psychological principles that motivate the structure of the grammatical system of a natural language.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 2 Social problems of the Polish diaspora in Sweden


Before analysing the situation of children in the Polish diaspora and of the Polish language in Sweden, let us first make a brief reference to the results of studies on factors associated with the retention/decline of minority languages (which, obviously, applies to the language of a diaspora or immigrant group in the country of settlement, including the language of the Polish immigrants in Sweden). The literature (De Houwer 1999, De Houwer 2009b: chapter 4, Baker 2011:49-80)18 indicates factors influencing the fate of a minority language (from now on, I will only be concerned with a diaspora language19): status of the minority-language speakers20 (their social and cultural background, Bourdieu 1979), cultural distance between the minority-language speakers and the majority (religion can play a particularly significant role here), demographics, as well as institutional support for the culture and language of the minority. It has also been observed that the fluency in their parents’ language by the second generation of immigrants varies depending on such sociological factors as: dispersion vs. concentration of immigrants in their country of settlement; cultural background of the immigrant minority (parents’ level of education, among others); assessment and self-assessment of the minority’s language and culture (Lambert, Havelka & Crosby 1958, Lambert 1975); the symbolic status of the language as an inseparable component of culture and the most important power/culture-generating factor; and finally, whether language belongs to the core cultural values (Smolicz 1981) of the minority group.

Of particular importance is the socio-economic position of the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.