Prof. Władysław T. Miodunka: Polish Language and Foreign-Polish Bilingualism in the World. History of research and main research problems
For many years Polish linguists did not pay any attention to the Polish language outside Poland, to the fact that our language has become widespread in the world. Although Witold Doroszewski's first work on the subject, a monograph on the Polish Language in the United States of America (1938), appeared before the war, due to the political situation it did not influence the interest in this problem. It is worth noting that Doroszewski's book was ahead of the classical world works on the subject: Languages in contact. Findings and problems by Uriel Weinreich (1953) and The Norwegian language in America: a study in bilingual behavior by Einar Haugen (1953). Weinreich's and Haugen's work initiated a study in linguistic contact and bilingualism and multilingualism in world sociolinguistics.
Summarizing the post-war research on the Polish language used in the Polish community, Stanisław Dubisz distinguished the following periods: the years 1945-1970, when few publications describing foreign interference in the Polish community were published. The second period, i.e. the years 1971-1990, includes a significant revival of the work carried out within the framework of Polish community research of the nature of interdisciplinary ethnic studies. The third period closes in the years 1990-2004. This is the phase of the first summaries and syntheses of Polish community research, its dissemination in many academic centres in Poland, as well as new methodological findings and the undertaking of new research areas. The last period, which started after 2004, is dominated by the issues of bilingualism and multilingualism, linguistic and communicative competence in a multicultural society, relations between language and identity of its bearers and users, the situation of the Polish language in the world (Dubisz 2015:7-14).
It is worth noting that the issue of dissemination of (national) language in the world is important, because it greatly influences the power of language, which depends on the following factors: number of native speakers (Polish as a native speaker); size and number of social groups speaking a given language in the world (language dispersion in the world; Polish as an inherited one); social mobility of language carriers (periodic movement of (large, visible) groups speaking a given language); ideological factors, which also include religion or language as an indigenous value of culture; economic level of a national group (gross national income); cultural values that influence the global radiation of language (important prestigious international awards, e.g. the International Awards, the International Youth Prize, the International Youth Prize for Languages, the International Youth Prize for Languages, the International Youth Prize for Education, the International Youth Prize for Languages, the International Youth Prize for Language Studies, the International Youth Prize for Language Studies and the International Youth Prize for Languages). The political situation of the country where a given language is an official language (Polish as a Slavic, European, European Union language; Miodunka 1987; 1990). The importance of particular factors can be traced back to e.g. Ukrainian migration, very visible in today's Poland (Ukrainian-Russian-Polish trilingualism). These factors largely influence the learning of Polish language by foreigners or its assimilation by (i) migrants and their children (Polish as a foreign language and second language).
The most important summaries of the research so far can be found in the following publications: the Polish language in the world. Collection of studies edited by W. Miodunka (1990); Polish Language Abroad edited by S. Dubisz (1997); W.T. Miodunka, Bilingualism, Cultural Valence and Identity of Polish (e)migration in the world (2010); W.T. Miodunka, Bilingualism in Poland and abroad. Development and perspectives of research (2014); Polish-foreign bilingualism today. From research theory and methodology to case studies. Collective monograph edited by R. Debski and W.T. Miodunka (2016); W.T. Miodunka, Spreading, preserving and teaching Polish language in the world between 1918 and 2018 (article in three parts, 2020).