The Case of Polish Children in Sweden
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...
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