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Polish Diaspora - many of these 20 million actually speak Polish?


legend 3 | 664
16 Oct 2011  #1
There are roughly 15 to 20 million people of Polish ancestry living outside Poland, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world.[1] Reasons for this displacement vary from border shifts, to forced resettlement, to political or economic emigration. Major populations of Polish ancestry can be found in Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland and many other European countries, the United States, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas. Many Poles can also be found in most Asian, African and Australasian countries. There have also been some Poles in Antarctica, though these journeys have been expeditionary in nature.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_diaspora

My question is: How much/many of these 20 million actually speak Polish?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
16 Oct 2011  #2
u are going to find yourself in the 'Polish passport-never been to Poland' argument.

impossible to know the answer to your question.

i'd say old folk: many.
young folk: not so many. (unless actually born in Poland)
Crow 137 | 7,644
16 Oct 2011  #3
from our Serbian experiences i can tell you few things. First of all, it is very important that Polish diaspora isn't selfish. This means that Polish diaspora have all obligations to support Slavic Poland and not some americanized, germanized, canadized or australized Poland. Then, investments. Polish diaspora needs to invest in Poland and prepare conditions for its own retreat into new stabilized and stronger Poland, when so called west collapse due to its own greed.
OP legend 3 | 664
16 Oct 2011  #4
I can say that many Poles in Canada can speak Polish.
There is 900,000-1,000,000 Poles here.

In Canada, there is a significant Polish Canadian population: there are 242,885 speakers of Polish according to the 2006 census, with a particular concentration in Toronto (91,810 speakers)

So 27 percent of Poles can speak Polish here.
I don't know if they count is as the first or second language though.

Additionally,

In the United States, Polish Americans number more than 11 million (see: Polish language in the United States) but most of them cannot speak Polish fluently. According to the United States 2000 Census, 667,414 Americans of age 5 years and over reported Polish as the language spoken at home, which is about 1.4% of people who speak languages other than English or 0.25% of the U.S. population. The largest concentrations of Polish speakers reported in the census (over 50%) were found in three states: Illinois (185,749), New York (111,740) and New Jersey (74,663).[7]

delphiandomine 83 | 17,679
16 Oct 2011  #5
My question is: How much/many of these 20 million actually speak Polish?

Depends - for instance, in Europe, there's two distinct "waves" - the first wave, post WW2 won't have passed the language on, but the second wave is much more recent (2004-now) and, of course, they'll all speak Polish.

Also worth pointing out that in Europe, people tend to assimilate quicker - you'll often find that the 2nd generation is already considered to be part of the host nation.

AND then there's the whole issue of whether they're actually Polish - having a Polish great-grandmother will not qualify you in the majority of peoples' eyes.
OP legend 3 | 664
16 Oct 2011  #6
I am unsure of the exact number of Poles in Britain (~1,000,000 maybe?).
Many of these I assume left from Poland not to long ago. Surely Percentage wise Britain has more Polish speakers than US?
MediaWatch 10 | 945
16 Oct 2011  #7
If one were to include people living around the world who have just 1/8 or 1/4 Polish ancestry, the Polish diaspora would be about 30 million people or more in the world.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,679
16 Oct 2011  #8
I am unsure of the exact number of Poles in Britain (~1,000,000 maybe?).

Could be as high as 2 million, no-one knows the exact number. Likely to be over a million, though.

Many of these I assume left from Poland not to long ago. Surely Percentage wise Britain has more Polish speakers than US?

Yup, definitely.

If one were to include people living around the world who have just 1/8 or 1/4 Polish ancestry, the Polish diaspora would be about 30 million people or more in the world.

But then you'd have to start counting whether or not they are actually Polish, or whether they were "polluted" with Czech/German/Ukrainian/Lemko/etc blood along the way.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #9
No only petty fools and racists feel that they "have" to perform this "counting". A person with Polish and any other ancestry is still Polish and people who are Czech or Lemko etc. without any Polish ancestry do not just assume Polish ancestry on a whim. This attempt to call into question the Polishness of the Polish diaspora is the resort of jealous fools that are upset that Polonia is so vast and so beloved.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Oct 2011  #10
Could be as high as 2 million, no-one knows the exact number. Likely to be over a million, though.

Estimates are usually over a million. According to census data the population prior to the rush after EU entry was 200,000.
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Oct 2011  #11
there's two distinct "waves" - the first wave, post WW2 won't have passed the language on, but the second wave is much more recent (2004-now) and, of course, they'll all speak Polish.

Its not really that clear cut though. Ive met old Polish men who married English girls in the 40s and who now hardly remember any Polish themselves. But,on the other hand I did surprise the heck out of one of my old high school teachers by chatting in (limited ;) ) Polish with him a couple of years ago, he was second generation, his dad came during the war and passed the lingo down,as did my teacher to his kids.....

Many of these I assume left from Poland not to long ago. Surely Percentage wise Britain has more Polish speakers than US?

purely % wise thats probably the case, but,has been for a while. Its an old joke that my towns Yellow Pages had huge M, O and Z sections ( The Mc'scotties,the O paddies and all the Z...ski's :) )

Dessi, thats the way things work in your country with its long held obsession with making damn sure people knew their place ,people are not simply allowed to be American,they have to be "something-American" where as here,until only a few years ago,once you came here and decided to live here you were British,no matter how funny your accent or unpronounceable your last name :) No one is forced to forget where Granddad may have come from just because people dont feel the need to call themselves "something -British" :)
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #12
Dessi, thats the way things work in your country with its long held obsession with making damn sure people knew their place ,people are not simply allowed to be American,they have to be "something-American"

True for the majority of Americans but not for those descended from the original British colonists. They are the ones who will call themselves plain "American" and they are also, in part, the one's who made all the subsequent waves of immigrants into hyphenated Americans, because they reserved the title of true Americans for themselves and they excluded non-WASPs from the circles of power in the USA until relatively recently. An example of their prejudice that pertains to this thread's topic can be seen in a term of derision that they used for male Slavic immigrants, of which the greatest number were Polish, and this term is "Bohunk" often preceded by the adjective "oily". There cannot be a more tidy Germanized group in all of Slavija than the Bohemians, but here in America they, and other Slavic males, were seen by the WASPs as chaotic and dangerously sexually potent.
OP legend 3 | 664
16 Oct 2011  #13
A person with Polish and any other ancestry is still Polish and people who are Czech or Lemko etc. without any Polish ancestry do not just assume Polish ancestry on a whim.

Everyone has the right to point out they are Polish if say their grandpa was Polish (whether or not they speak Polish).
But when it comes to reality different people have different exceptions of who is a Pole. I don't think its just fools and racists.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #14
different people have different exceptions of who is a Pole.

Of course this is true. The term "Pole" is not identical with the term "Polonian", but it is exclusively fools and racists who will claim that people are not Polish because they may also be some other Eastern European ethnicity as well as Polish.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,679
16 Oct 2011  #15
A person with Polish and any other ancestry is still Polish and people who are Czech or Lemko etc. without any Polish ancestry do not just assume Polish ancestry on a whim.

Hahahaha. Des, you show precious little understanding of European history if you think that just because someone's deranged great-grandmother said she was "Polish", it doesn't make them so. The amount of mixing done in previous centuries throughout Europe was immense - it's impossible to say for certain where someone actually came from.

Polonia is so vast and so beloved.

Beloved by who? The majority of Poles are ashamed of the behaviour of the Polonia.

dangerously sexually potent.

Your imagination is rather amusing.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #16
Des, you show precious little understanding of European history if you think that just because someone's deranged great-grandmother said she was "Polish", it doesn't make them so.

Dopeyandomine, you are an idiot for thinking immigrants to the USA, or elsewhere, would lie about being Polish when they were really some other ethnicity. You are the deranged person here not anyone's great-grandmother.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,679
16 Oct 2011  #17
You do realise that "ethnicity" as a concept is pretty new in Europe as a whole? People tend to relate more to their country than their specific ethnic group here. But then again - you've never been here - what would you know?

Incidentally, given the large amount of mixed Polish-Ukrainian marriages, how can you be certain that someone is of "Polish" heritage?
time means 5 | 1,310
16 Oct 2011  #18
you've never been here

He thinks EPCOT world showcase and small world at Disney counts.
hythorn 3 | 580
16 Oct 2011  #19
Dopeyandomine, you are an idiot for thinking immigrants to the USA, or elsewhere, would lie about being Polish when they were really some other ethnicity. You are the deranged person here not anyone's great-grandmother.

good point. there is no sense in lying about your background
an awful lot of Americans seem to claim being Irish but I think that is often in the case of being complete mutts
delphiandomine 83 | 17,679
16 Oct 2011  #20
They may not have been lying, they may simply have been totally unaware. From all the research I've done, the line between "Polish" and "other" in Eastern Poland was incredibly blurred - Ukrainians and Belorussians would have identified as being Polish, partially because they were Polish citizens (albeit reluctantly).

Look at the names - many "Polish" people had clearly non-Polish names.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #21
an awful lot of Americans seem to claim being Irish

This is probably true, but it results from the fact that many Americans have been here for so many generations that they no longer know their ancestors' European origins and since being Irish has been, for the last several decades at least, celebrated here in America, many of these folks when asked will claim Irish ancestry. Demographers say that despite the large amount of Irish immigration to the USA there is no way that a full 10% of the USA is really of exclusively Irish origin.
hythorn 3 | 580
16 Oct 2011  #22
nice people in general, the Americans

very friendly
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
16 Oct 2011  #23
People tend to relate more to their country

In most parts it COUNTY (region)rather than country......:)
hythorn 3 | 580
16 Oct 2011  #24
would you care to expound upon that statement?
I am intrigued...titillated even...
gumishu 11 | 5,015
16 Oct 2011  #25
Look at the names - many "Polish" people had clearly non-Polish names.

which names?
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Oct 2011  #26
Ukrainians and Belarusians would have identified as being Polish, partially because they were Polish citizens (albeit reluctantly).

Even if this did happen in some cases it is mostly irrelevant because it ignores the fact that the bulk of Polish immigration to the USA occurred in the latter part of the 19th century and in the first two decades of the 20th before any Ukrainians or Belarussians had Polish citizenship in the Second Republic. The people that claimed they were Polish did so because they were Polish. They spoke Polish and they were Roman Catholics. Ukrainians and Belarussians were Orthodox and if they spoke Polish it was not their first language. Petending these people would claim to be Polish because they were "confused" is ridiculous.
hythorn 3 | 580
16 Oct 2011  #27
Ukrainians and Belarussians were Orthodox and if they spoke Polish it was not their first language

perhaps they thought they might receive better treatment in the States if they 'marketed' themselves as being Polish

in the same way a lot of Americans will really play up their Irish heritage when visiting the old country

just a thought...
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Oct 2011  #28
perhaps they thought they might receive better treatment in the States if they 'marketed' themselves as being Polish

Or even that people knew something about Poland and the Polish but knew nothing about Lemk, Boyk, Kaszub, Galician, Slazak etc.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
16 Oct 2011  #29
Petending these people would claim to be Polish because they were "confused" is ridiculous.

Of course It is. I don't think even Delphi is stupid enough to really believe it.
MediaWatch 10 | 945
16 Oct 2011  #30
But then you'd have to start counting whether or not they are actually Polish, or whether they were "polluted" with Czech/German/Ukrainian/Lemko/etc blood along the way.

No you wouldn't have to do that. Only somebody who has a racist mindset like yourself would feel the need to do that.

Its interesting that somebody like yourself, who is NOT of Polish ancestry, regards nationalities like Czech, German, Ukraine, Lemko, etc as "polluting" material.


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