Language as a diasporic stance

Drawing on an evaluation of statistics on language provisions and self-declared language practice, and on longitudinal ethnographic observations, we examine the role of the Polish language in shaping single transactions and durable social bonds and in demarcating interaction spaces among Polish immigrants in a UK metropolitan area. Language choice can be essential, in that it cannot be replaced by a substitute. Therefore, it is either constitutive of an action routine in the sense that it lends a particular performative character to a practice; or casual, in that it accompanies a routine but is of little symbolic function and contributes little to performing belonging. We identify a spread of features of language across different practices, prompting reflection on the role of language as a co-defining indicator of diaspora communities.

Goldstein, Piotr, and Yaron Matras. 2024. “Language as a Diasporic Stance: Polish in a Migrant Urban Space.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

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