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Translanguaging in Polish minority schools in Ukraine and Lithuania

  • Kinga Geben EMAIL logo and Maria Zelinska


This paper is based on newly collected data from the research project on translanguaging and language attitudes carried out in Lviv and Horodok, Ukraine and in Vilnius, Lithuania. The data covered in the article consists of 90 responses from students at Ukrainian and Lithuanian Polish minority schools. The study involves a description and contrast of the Polish communities in Ukraine and Lithuania, and analysis of the sociolinguistic peculiarities of the Polish language, focusing on translanguaging in the daily use of several languages by members of Polish ethnic minority schools. It aims to report the linguistic behaviour tendencies. The study shows that different state and school language policy contexts are characterised by varying linguistic attitudes and language proficiency. The paper reveals the importance of translanguaging for maintaining the Polish language within a mixed culture environment.


The authors would like to thank Alexandra Liebich, PhD candidate at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, for her help with editing this paper.


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This questionnaire is designed for the students of Polish minority schools in Ukraine/ Lithuania. The information collected is going to be used only for academic purposes and will not be disclosed to anybody.

Please read the following and answer the questions. Please specify all answers carefully.

I. Personal information

1. Age: □16 □17 □18 □19

2. Gender: □ male □ female

II. Ethnicity and cultural orientations

3. What is your ethnicity?

4. What is your parents’ ethnicity?

5. What is your mother tongue?

6. What are the most important determinants of your national identity?

7. What culture is the closest to you?

III. Proficiency self-assessment level in each language. Language preference.

8. What languages do you speak? (Please specify).

9. What’s your proficiency in Polish language? Please self-assess:

□ “very good” □ “good” □ “average” □ “weak”

10. What’s your proficiency in Ukrainian / Lithuanian language:

□ “very good” □ “good” □ “average” □ “weak”

11. What’s your proficiency in Russian:

□ “very good” □ “good” □ “average” □ “weak”

12. What’s your proficiency in English:

□ “very good” □ “good” □ “average” □ “weak”

13. Please specify what language (languages) the most often

13.1 do you read belles-lettres?

13.2 do you read newspapers?

13.3 do you choose for surfing on the Internet?

13.4 do you choose for watching TV?

IV. Assessment towards translanguaging:

14. What language (languages) do you use in communication with people of Polish descent living in your country

14.1 at home?

14.2 in a group of friends?

14.3 at Polish schools with teachers?

14.4 at the church?

15. Please describe what depends on the choice of language(s) in the above-mentioned situations?

16. Were there any situations when you could not explain something in one language?

Published Online: 2021-06-11
Published in Print: 2021-06-26

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