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AMERICANS' DEGREE OF POLISHNESS (OR ANY OTHER ETHNICITY)


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
5 Feb 2009 /  #1
America is a land of immigrants, as JFK once said, and eh degree to which one identifies with and lives one's ethnic heritage is a highly personal matter, shaped by both external factors (eg assimilationist pressures) as well as personal sensitivity and preference.

As a result, the degree to which one identifies with one's Polish roots as opposed to mainstream American culture varies greatly. The balance can be 90-10, 50-50 and many different points in between. Numerous criteria may help gauge the degree of identification including:

-- Language known and used, how often?
-- Interest in and acquaintance with traditions and history
-- Actual practice of traditions and customs
-- Cultural entertainment: music, publications subscribed, books, CDs, etc. in the home
-- Art and decorative artefacts in the home and/or place of buiseness
-- food: awareness and actual preparation and consumption of ethnic food (how often?)
-- professional pursuits (some Polonians deal in ethnic goods/services and/or have a primarily ethnic clientele, write and/or research Polish topics, create Polish art, etc.)

-- names given to children, pets, place of business, etc.
Many more categories could be set up, but even on the basis of the above, WHERE WOULD YOU RANK YORUSELF ON THE 0-100 SCALE?
Softsong 5 | 495  
5 Feb 2009 /  #2
Probaby 30.

My Dad spoke German, my Mom spoke Polish, that hindered my learning either language, but my Mom and Grandmother spoke in Polish to each other. My Dad and his mother spoke in German to each other. I remember the Polish nursery rhyme my grandmother taught me, and know some basic Polish phrases from my Mom and have learned a few more.

I was not familiar with Polish characters and writing until recently, but can sound most things out and recognize a lot of words. My grandmother read in Polish, my mother could only speak Polish. The 12 noun endings are very confusing to me. I like my nouns to stay in one form. :-)

Foods, grew up eating Polish and East German foods.

Highly interested in the traditions and history of Poland, fairly knowledgeble.

Listened more to German music because my Dad was a musician in a German nightclub called the Lorelei.

Have some Polish art and decor. Folk art like wooden colored eggs, wooden boxes, etc.
Calicoe 2 | 133  
5 Feb 2009 /  #3
I was adopted away from my Polish/Eastern European heritage, but I know that for my biological family it was strong. They live in the Polish/Hungarian enclave of Indiania/East Chicago area, and they all have Polish/Hungarian names or spelling, eat the food, etc. But, I think the language died out with the grandparents unfortunately. I know that my biological maternal grandmother was from Poland, and had a thick Polish accent. My birth mom actually gave me a name with Eastern European spelling, but it was changed to American spelling once I was adopted. I am thinking of changing it back.
babka - | 4  
28 Feb 2009 /  #4
I was born in the USA. I am of Polish and French descent--exactly 50% each, just like Chopin :) I am 2 1/2 generations American on each side--my grandfathers were born in Poland and France, my grandmothers were born in the USA of immigrant parents. I have a few Polish and French recipes. I can speak neither language. But that doesn't stop me from identifying with the nationalities of my ancestors and my own nationality. I enjoy the best of 3 worlds.
Elssha - | 123  
28 Feb 2009 /  #5
50
Born in PL, moved to the states @ 8
Speak Polish, can read it (slowly... very slowly); think in English and have a tendency to slap a polish ending on an english word and assume polish friends will know what I'm talking about

I know of the different customs, cant tell you when some of them are, practices a few (we always stick to traditions of Wigilia, for instance)

I like Husarzy, but otherwise have no interest in history (though my inability to memorize dates may have something to do with it...)
me, myself & i  
28 Feb 2009 /  #6
i give myself 0%, most of my familiy was all in america by the early 1800's & they became farmers & only focused on farming
1.my aunt is one of those people that you can talk to on the phone or IM to get better at english, the french call her only at the end of the year because they have a certin amount of hours they have to take english or another language but the have all year to do it, it sounds like me doing a school project always done the night before :)

2.my grandma likes geneology
3.my family is more of a whats a tradition kinda family they dont really like to do things the normal way
4.some dude related to me wrote a book in france about how to traine horses but thats about as close polish culture as its probly gonna get

5.my grandma has a cement cat & pictures her step mom drew
6.if my family was given something other than fast food german or take out they would call it very exotic food, we eat stuffing with oyesters in it on thanksgiving but thats american, oh yeah we've got pie too & pie crust with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on it yumm!

7.nope
8.everyone in my imeadite family that is still alive eather has a family name or a catholic name
PennBoy 76 | 2,437  
11 Mar 2009 /  #7
There's not that many of us at it seams sometimes, its just that were lumped together in about 3 regions, New York-North Jersey, Chicago and vicinity, Michigan. There are 10 or 10.5 million Polish Americans, including those Polish born. Germans are the largest with 45 million, Irish, 38 to 40, Italian 16 or 17 mill.
Guest  
11 Mar 2009 /  #8
only 10 million polish! wow i thought there were more! there are only about 2 million czechs in america from czech & decendant
regionpolski 33 | 153  
11 Mar 2009 /  #9
I'm probably a forty.
I can speak a little Polish, but I can't hold a meaningful conversation yet.
I can understand some Polish, but I can't follow the news yet.
My wife is from Gdansk, as a result we get Polish TV. So I hear the language daily.
I try and speak Polish to my wife and her friends and family.
We buy the magazine Angora, which has great pictures.
We listen to Polish music on occassion, especially stuff like Czrwone Gitary.
We eat Polish food, and if you count potatoes, quite often.
Our dogs have Polish names (Ares y Borys)
My family has a fun Wigilia, which does not follow Polish tradition.
csienicki 1 | 7  
23 Mar 2009 /  #10
-100% Polish; second generation American.
-Parents spoke Polish in their households until entering grade school; I speak none.
-I grew up listening to the Polish/American hour every Sunday. My father plays the concertina so I am very familiar with Polish folksongs/dances. As a family, we were very active in the Polish community but drifted away as we grew up and went our separate ways.

-Holidays were Americanized but basic Polish celebrations prevailed.
-I have a variety of Polish artifacts, decorations, etc. but my collection is eclectic and not purely Polish.
-Love the food; miss my mother's cooking (Christmas was heaven)! Opportunity to find good ethnic food is limited but have found a local source for really great kielbasa.

-I am one of six children and we all had very traditional Catholic names found in Poland.
-Am now researching family history and reconnecting with my Polish roots.
-I have no Polish connections to business but my father did before retirement via Chicago trade.

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