Prospects for the Polish Language in the European Union: the Irish Case
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Since Poland entered the European Union and some of the EU countries opened their markets to citizens of the new EU members, many Poles and other Eastern Europeans decided to emigrate, mainly in search of work. The paper reports on some facts and figures concerning the Polish community in Ireland after May 1, 2004, and it presents new initiatives promoting the Polish language and culture in the Irish society. Moreover, it discusses the status of Polish in and outside Europe on the basis of a survey carried out in twelve Polish Saturday Schools in England, Australia and the United States. Overall, the highest percentage of respondents (35%) did not consider the accession to the EU as important to teachers and learners of Polish abroad in the future. In contrast, 75% of the heads of the schools regarded the accession to be important, while most teachers (31%) were undecided. The largest group of surveyed parents (35%) gave a negative answer on that matter. Conclusions concern a number of factors which determine the position of the contemporary Polish language abroad.
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