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Can you BE Polish without SPEAKING Polish in the US?


RoughFlavors 1 | 100
19 Jan 2012 #91
I wasn't aware that they consider their language to be either Polish or a dialect of Polish

they don't, that's the point
polishmama 3 | 279
20 Jan 2012 #92
Man I'm Polish born and bred living in the States, still speak and read it fluently. As for people born here of course they are. Blood is thicker than some piece of paper.

THIS! THIS THIS THIS!

Seriously, I could teach my children not one lick of Polish and, guess what, their Polish passports (born in the US) say they are Polish. So does their pride. And the shape of their eyes. And how they stop and sing along to the Koledy I play at Christmas time.

I suggest the OP tell his wife that she better make it a point to stay alive forever so that she can teach her great grandchildren Polish. Because otherwise, they won't be by her definition. And when your own family denies your heritage on something so petty, your family will forget you when you pass away. Like you were nobody.

It's what your heart says. My children are Polish American. End of story. And it doesn't matter what anyone else says, it's what their hearts tell them.
Angel-eyes
20 Jan 2012 #93
They are American. Having a passport does not make them Polish.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
20 Jan 2012 #94
Which, again, I ask again (3rd time), what makes someone Polish?

Keep kicking it around but nobody wants to make some clear distinctions.
scottie1113 7 | 898
20 Jan 2012 #95
Having a passport does not make them Polish.

So true. I met a PF member tonight for the first time during his visit here. His parents are Polish and moved to the US and he has a Polish name but doesn't speak Polish. He told me that after a few days in Poland he stopped telling people he was Polish because he realized that he wasn't. And yes, he has a Polish passport through his heritage.

BTW, he's a really cool guy and we'll meet again during his stay here.
shewolf 5 | 1,077
20 Jan 2012 #96
It's weird you mention Apaches.

Why would your wife think someone is Native American based on the way he or she looked? It's like saying that you have to speak Polish in order to be Polish but you can be Native American if you just look a certain way. That kind of logic doesn't make sense.
OP jasondmzk
20 Jan 2012 #97
Why would your wife think someone is Native American based on the way he or she looked?

She was/is CONVINCED. I mean, the girl was short, had coal black eyes and hair, and her hair was in two short braids. ::Shrugs::
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
20 Jan 2012 #98
Which, again, I ask again (3rd time), what makes someone Polish?

If the question pertains to adults then here you go:
Born of at least 1 Polish parent and, provided they can communicate, can do so in Polish. If the ability to communicate isn't there then we're looking at exceptions, not norms and one must really be fishing for an angle to use such examples beyond them being anything but being very uncommon.

I hope that clears things up for you.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
20 Jan 2012 #99
Finally, one brave soul.

Mind you, you don't have to convince me. I don't have my own definition. Rather, I'm asking because it hasn't been settled on this thread yet and the back and forth is ridiculous.

You said, "born of at least 1 Polish parent," but what makes their parent Polish? It is repeated over and over, this thread being no exception, that Poland, and all european countries for that matter, are "mongrels" genetically. Poland has changed borders so many times and has had so much mixing from Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, ("Jews"), that even claiming that the "parent" is Polish appears to be a challenge.

You mentioned language. OK. It has also been said on here that if you can't speak Polish, you're automatically excluded.

maybe someone else has some more input.
time means 5 | 1,309
20 Jan 2012 #100
sing along to the Koledy I play at Christmas time

I can sing Frere Jacques but that does not make me French.

And the shape of their eyes

How so? I didn't notice anything different whilst i was over there.
Ironside 50 | 12,470
20 Jan 2012 #101
maybe someone else has some more input.

Two:
- the language if you don't know you better learn.
- self-identity!believing themselves to be Polish.
What you are asking here is a side issue.
OP ask can you be Pol-Am without speaking Polish. Yes, you can. The point that everybody here seems to be missing is - they are not claim to be Polish but Polish Americans .

Simple!
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #102
Born of at least 1 Polish parent and, provided they can communicate, can do so in Polish.

that would technically apply to half of my family in Upper Silesia, who for generations considered themselves German...

the point is, nothing can "make" you Polish, unless you feel Polish at heart. and if you do, nobody can tell you you're not Polish, based on some arbitrary criteria
pip 10 | 1,658
20 Jan 2012 #103
being Polish is more than just having a ski at the end of your name. language and customs are necessary- this is what sets us apart and defines who we are. Can you be Polish without speaking the language?- kind of. I would say that a persons heritage is Polish but they are not Polish in nationality or culturally. It would be the typical North America situation- the background is culturally Polish but it not longer important in day to day life.
noreenb 7 | 554
20 Jan 2012 #104
What language has to do with your origin?
The language is the thing you learn when you are a child.
It depends on people with whom you spend your time.
There are many people who have natural ability of learning and speaking many languages.
i can be Polish without speaking Polish.
I spend a lot of time speaking English but I can't say I feel like being English.
Just a short answer.
modafinil - | 416
20 Jan 2012 #105
Seriously, I could teach my children not one lick of Polish and, guess what, their Polish passports (born in the US) say they are Polish. So does their pride. And the shape of their eyes. And how they stop and sing along to the Koledy I play at Christmas time.

A passport allows you to pass into the country. There are Polish Jews who have Israeli passports where neither they or their parents, grandparents etc. have been to Israel. They're hardly Israeli.

Polish people need a visa to be in America or they are illegal.
Piast Poland 3 | 165
20 Jan 2012 #106
You need to speak it or at least learn it. How can anyone call themselves Polish when they will not even put the effort into learning it? This is not exclusion, if you are too lazy to learn then drop it. Anyone who seriously considers themselves Polish will put in the effort and know the language. Language is essential to culture and each language has its own way of thinking, of looking at the world in a certain way. Language is perhaps the single most important connection especially to those living abroad.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #107
let me rephrase my previous question - can I be Polish if I speak Kashubian?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,879
20 Jan 2012 #108
OP ask can you be Pol-Am without speaking Polish.

not according to the thread title.
Havok 10 | 903
20 Jan 2012 #109
You gotta understand something, this is America and none of us supposed to be here, :D hence the “attachment” to the heritage. you know, attachment may be the wrong word for that, it's more like love/hate type of relationship. :p
pip 10 | 1,658
20 Jan 2012 #110
What language has to do with your origin?

Everything. Language and customs are a part of a person's heritage and culture. For example: my daughter's best friend is a Polish born Vietnamese girl. She speaks perfect Polish- her family has assimilated, they own a business, pay taxes and contribute to society. However- she will never be considered Polish because of her obvious physical differences- she has Polish citizenship but she is not Polish.

Polonia in the west are just that- Polonia. They usually don't follow Polish traditions and customs completely but merge them with western culture.
An American born Polonia who speaks bad Polish and has a primary western culture is Polonia. Do not mix culture with ethnicity and citizenship. If a person born in the u.s. from Polish immigrant parents does not speak the language and does not practice the culture- is not culturally Polish. Their ethnicity is Slavic, their culture is American with Polish heritage- they are not Polish.

I speak Polish but I am not Polish- nor will I ever be. Even when I get my Polish citizenship I still will not be Polish.

My kids are half Polish half Canadian. They speak two languages and we have merged two cultures equally. They speak with no noticeable accent in either language- they are completely half and half--but we are not the norm.

Living in the west, going to Polish church and taking Polish language classes in the church basement on the weekends still only gets you the title Polonia- which is different.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #111
she will never be considered Polish because of her obvious physical differences

poor kid... she is born and raised in a country, she never knew another one, but yet she cannot be accepted by her fellow Poles as one of their own - all because of the color of her skin and where her parents came from. and it all seems perfectly normal...
Harry
20 Jan 2012 #112
their Polish passports (born in the US) say they are Polish.

Do they have green cards or visas in those passports? Poles in the USA either have one of those or are illegal immigrants.

However- she will never be considered Polish because of her obvious physical differences- she has Polish citizenship but she is not Polish.

I disagree entirely: she is Polish.
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
20 Jan 2012 #113
It would be the typical North America situation- the background is culturally Polish but it not longer important in day to day life.

Not just North American, anywhere. I'm sure Poles living in Britain who speak English well, have British friends, end up drifting away from their Polishness.

being Polish is more than just having a ski at the end of your name.

ski, like I'm sure you know, are names of people with a noble or urban background. My mother's family has a ski last name by father's is a rural name and therefore doesn't, but is still Polish, 15,000 with that name in Poland. Many people of rural added ski to their names.
JonnyM 11 | 2,609
20 Jan 2012 #114
I'm sure Poles living in Britain who speak English well, have British friends, end up drifting away from their Polishness.

The huge influx since 2004 has changed all that. What it will do to the people's identity - especially the second generation - is anybody's guess. One big difference between them and the people who went to the US is that they can get Polish TV on cable and are only 2 hours from Warsaw. Also there's a fairly broad cross-section of Polish society from cosmopolitan sophisticates to rural people with a much more circumscribed outlook on life. Watch this space...
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #115
funny thing, how one can argue that a Polish-born person with Vietnamese parents is still Vietnamese but an American-born person with Polish parents is an American
cyga
20 Jan 2012 #116
ski, like I'm sure you know, are names of people with a noble or urban background. My mother's family has a ski last name by father's is a rural name and therefore doesn't, but is still Polish, 15,000 with that name in Poland. Many people of rural added ski to their names.

Where do you come up with that sh**? I’m sure the clans like: Sapieha, Radziwiłł, Wiśniowiecki, Pac, Ostroróg, Potocki and many others of lesser nobility must have been all peasants’ then for the lack of -ski at the end of their surname. LOL

How pathetic, your family must have been one of those peasants’ that adapted the -ski recently.
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
20 Jan 2012 #117
funny thing, how one can argue that a Polish-born person with Vietnamese parents is still Vietnamese but an American-born person with Polish parents is an American

That's different. There's no such thing ass real Americans, unless u'd like to call Native Americans (Indians) that but they're a very small minority in their own country. Poland is the host country of the Polish ethnic group which is ninety some percent of the population. Two entirely different things.

Where do you come up with that sh**? I’m sure the clans like: Sapieha, Radziwiłł, Wiśniowiecki, Pac, Ostroróg, Potocki and many others of lesser nobility must have been all peasants’ then for the lack of -ski at the end of their surname. LOL

Radziwill is Lithuanian, Pac is Lithunanian, Wisnowiecki was Ruthenian, Potocki was Polish, ski and cki names are Polish nobility. cki is as obvious as ski didn't think i'd have to explain the obvious.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #118
There's no such thing ass real Americans

i can find, oh, i don't know, over a quarter billion people who would disagree with this

anyway, do you consider yourself Polish?
PennBoy 76 | 2,432
20 Jan 2012 #119
I consider myself Polish and American.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
20 Jan 2012 #120
newsflash, PennBoy, a bunch of people on this forum would deny you the right to feel Polish


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