The gentry of the Laudanian region, its Polish language today and in the past
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The subject of the research is the Lithuanian region on the Lauda/Liaude river, that was inhabited before the Second World War mostly by the members of the yeomanry with Polish national identity. The densest yeomanry communities were situated in the area between Pacunele/Pociuneliai, Wodokty/Vadaktai and Krakinów/Krekenava. In spite of social disintegration processes, Lauda/Liaude still remains a sort of 'laboratory' for the researchers who are interested in ethnic-historical issues and who describe regional variants of the Polish language used by the yeomanry. The specific features of the region are documented by various sources, archival materials, historical theories concerning the origin of the Lauda/Liaude yeomanry, as well as by the onomastic data. The research on language of the social group is connected with the wider topic of the yeomanry cultural heritage which is preserved in the mentality and everyday life of the Northeastern Borderland yeomanry descendants. The description of the yeomanry culture in its contemporary functioning is the key to achieve the understanding of the social distinction of the Lauda/Liaude region, stereotypes that prevail there, ways of behaviour and linguistic choices of its inhabitants.The field research, that was made in the Lauda/Liaude region in 1999, has become the basis for the description, in which we broadly used the method of the biographical interview that was applied earlier in sociology and ethnology. We collected oral testimonies from 21 informants in the form of records. We also used written sources such as memoirs, letters, folklore collections and informants' own works, i.e. the materials that we managed to find in the family archives of the Lauda/Liaude yeomanry descendants.
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