National minorities languages in the public space. Is it the change in the linguistic landscape in Poland?

Sławomir Łodziński

Abstract


The main object of this article is to present the history of the establishing legal regulations in Poland concerning additional place names and other official signs in the languages of national minorities. This process has been always very difficult, because as it teaches the experience of many European countries, it affects issues related the national identity, the role of the national language in the state
and the tradition of recognizing linguistic diversity in a given country. In the article, I will try to show that the introduction of such regulations in Poland has been with the one hand an important, perhaps even historical, change in the functioning of the Polish society and administration which consisted of official admission of other languages into the public sphere thus violating the dominant tradition of Polish language dominance in the country. From the other hand, the presence of a minority place-names indicates a change in the way in which minority groups publicly present their ethnic identities. It takes place not only through maintaining national cultures and learning the mother tongue but also through increased visual presence in the public sphere.


Keywords


national minorities; languages of national minorities; linguistic landscape; place names; Poland

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