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published: 10 Sep 2018 in News

Polish campaign #WhoAreYou supports bilingualism

Ewelina Nurczyk
Ewelina Nurczyk

Editor

One of the most well-known poems learnt by Polish children by heart starts with the question: Who are you? As the linguistic element is a strong part of our identity, a new campaign has been launched to promote bilingualism among Polish children abroad. Should Poland also benefit from having little bilingual citizens born to migrant parents?

As the campaign #KtoTyJesteś (English: Who are you?) aims to promote Polish language abroad, among the so-called Polonia community (people of Polish descent living abroad), it also reminds of the benefits coming from learning languages, and especially maintaining bilingualism among children born to parents speaking different languages. Not only is it an issue for Poles living abroad, but also foreigners deciding to settle down in Poland along with their families. Why is it worth making sure their children speak Polish along with the parents’ mother tongues?

  1. Stronger sense of identity – it is important for people especially during adolescence and later on in life;
  2. Relationships – speaking not only the language of the target country but also that of one’s relatives makes it easier for you to stay in touch with grandparents or cousins abroad;
  3. More efficient learning – the more languages we know on an advanced level, the easier becomes our learning process. This may influence e.g. our job prospects;
  4. Delayed ageing – as we tend not to think about old age of our kids, it is good to realise that bilingual people are less likely to have intellectual disabilities related to age;
  5. Access to cultural resources – the more languages we know, the wider access we have to cultural resources (literature, cinematography, music etc.);
  6. Opportunities – bilingual people may look for university or job prospects in both countries;
  7. Remigration – it is more and more common for Polonia people to move back to Poland, even temporarily. These patterns are becoming popular all over the world in the cases of various nations;
  8. Promoting homeland abroad – whether we mean Poles abroad or expatriates in Poland, speaking more languages means that you can influence other people and let them know about the interesting aspects of your homeland which are not that well-known in the target country.

If some of you are bilingual or have bilingual children, share your point of view on this issue. As Polish authorities rightly want to satisfy Polonia's need to access Polish-language classes and activities for Polish children abroad, it would also be great if the cooperation with expatriates in Poland itself could increase, too! Socieities benefit from bilingual citizens - that is a fact.

Source: KtoTyJestes.pl

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