Bilingual Signs in the Těšín Region or the Těšín Countryside as an Experiment with Plurality
Dvojjazyčné nápisy na Těšínsku aneb těšínský venkov jako experiment s pluralitou
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The article focuses on conflicts in the Těšín countryside which have arisen in the last fifteen years in reaction to the introduction of bilingual, Czech-Polish signs. The topic is analyzed in the context of the politics of toponymy and debates about integration models in multi-cultural societies. The text offers a brief summary of selected research findings based on the analysis of linguistic landscape, media discourse, and opinion of local inhabitants, municipal representatives and members of Polish organizations obtained through interviews and questionnaires. The research showed that bilingual signs played an important role in CzechPolish relations in the Těšín region. Although the media supported the introduction of bilingual signs, most people declaring Czech nationality opposed them even after more than a decade of their presence. Most commonly, opponents emphasized the need for the Polish minority to assimilate into the Czech majority society. Attempts of Polish minority to introduce bilingual signs have failed in many municipalities while in others they have succeeded only partially. Only a handful of municipalities introduced bilingual signs beyond their legal requirements, opening thus doors to a genuine multicultural community.
191 - 201
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