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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.
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Chapter 5 Instrumental – a resistant case


The instrumental occupies a unique position among the weak cases in the idiolects studied.205 Although this case has the lowest frequency of occurrence in spoken Polish texts,206 it is realised more or less correctly in the speech of the Polish children in Sweden, much better than the dative or the locative. Only a few of the children studied, i.e. those with the poorest mastery of Polish, almost always replace the instrumental with a strong case, which is illustrated by the following utterances:

Wszyscy mówią, że śmierdzim jajkoNom [że śmierdzę jajkiemInstr ‘Everybody says I stink of an egg’]; Mówiłam z niąInstr i jednąAcc-Instr dziewczynęAcc i jej koleżankaNom [Rozmawiałam z niąInstr i jednąInstr dziewczynąInstr i jej koleżankąInstr ‘I talked with her and one other girl and a friend of hers’] (75.12);

Dostał strzelać tenNom-Acc drugiNom-Acc, ja strzelałem tenNom-Acc mójNom-Acc [Strzelał tymInstr drugimInstr, a ja strzelałem moimInstr ‘He shot with the other one and I shot with mine’]; Bawiliśmy śniegNom-Acc [Bawiliśmy się śniegiemInstr ‘We played with snow’] (78.05);

Ten piesek, co za tegoAcc panaAcc poszedł [który za tymInstr panemInstr poszedł ‘the dog that went after that man’]; Ten pan mówi z drugimInstr-Loc panieLoc [z drugimInstr-Loc panemInstr ‘This man talks with another man’] // z niąInstr ‘with her’]; z koleżankamiInstr ‘with my friends’]; wracamy autobusemInstr ‘we come back by bus’] (75.07);

Matis bawi...

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