1st Edition

Family Language Policy in the Polish Diaspora A Focus on Australia

By Piotr Romanowski Copyright 2021
    246 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores language practices, beliefs and management across a group of Polish immigrant families in Australia, drawing on these case studies as a lens through which to unpack dynamics of Family Language Policy (FLP) and their implications for future research on FLP.

    The volume begins by outlining the historical context of Polish immigration in Australia, charting two key waves of Polish migration in the 20th century and the subsequent unfolding of issues around language and culture maintenance in these families. This discussion paves the way for exploring key themes of language socialization, language ideologies and heritage language maintenance and the affordances of FLP research in elucidating these dynamics at work in the lived experiences of a group of Polish immigrant families in Melbourne. The book highlights the importance of a triangulated approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods, in offering nuanced insights into parental approaches and children’s experiences of a bilingual upbringing and the wider impact of FLP on transnational families.

    Opening up avenues for future research on Family Language Policy and a better understanding of the language practices of specific communities in a globalised world, this book will be of interest to scholars in multilingualism, sociolinguistics and applied linguistics.

    Introduction  1. Polish Immigration to Australia  2. Intersections of Bilingual Development, Language Socialisation and Heritage Languages  3. Family Language Policy  4. Research Methodological Background  5. Online Questionnaire  6. Case Study Report One: Flexible Code-Switching Practices  7. Case Study Report Two: A Restrictive One Parent - One Language Strategy  8. Case Study Report Three: Accommodating Dual-Lingual Interactions  9. Cross-Case Analysis and Discussion  10. Further Implications and the Way Forward


    Piotr Romanowski, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Applied Linguistics of the University of Warsaw, Poland.

    This volume is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on family language policies and heritage language maintenance. Through the lens of the Polish diaspora in Australia, it presents a comprehensive and captivating account of the dynamics of family language policies, illustrating how they are constantly negotiated, contested and formed by both parents and children.

      Elizabeth Lanza, University of Oslo, Norway



      This is the first comprehensive study of the Polish community, one of the well-established yet understudied groups that make up multicultural Australia. The book explores the community’s attitudes, beliefs and practices to maintain the heritage language against the backdrop of limited institutional support. Piotr Romanowski has produced a rigorous yet highly engaging contribution to the flourishing field of Family Language Policy, as well as a model to study other ethnolinguistic communities.  

        Susana Eisenchlas, Griffith University, Australia


        This research is a valuable interdisciplinary examination of heritage language transmission ecology within a group of Polish immigrant families in Australia. Piotr Romanowski traces current tendencies in transnational families’ Family Language Policy, such as minority-language parents' legitimising of flexible happylingual practices as well as minority language support by majority-language parents. Importantly, the book demonstrates an essential shift in emphasis from traditional Family Language Policy research "on" or "about" children to research "with" children. This significant work of scholarship will become essential reading not only for researchers in multilingualism but also for scholars of family and ethnic studies, as well as child development. 

          Mila Schwartz, Oranim Academic College of Education, Israel


          This book makes a solid and important contribution to not only the burgeoning literature about Family Language Policy but also our general understanding of linguistic, sociocultural and educational practices in an increasingly multilingual world.

            Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen, University of Bath, UK


            [This book] is an exceptionally well-written and coherent book that can be recommended to both students and researchers interested in multilingualism, family language policy, and heritage language maintenance. It is an excellent addition to the growing literature on family language policy, heritage language maintenance, and bilingualism in transnational families in general and could provide a model for similar research in other language communities.

            Karolina Rosiak, Bilingual Research Journal

            This book is ideal for students of applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and education, in addition to practitioners, teachers, parents, experts and researchers wishing to update their knowledge regarding the use of FLP for promotion and maintenance of immigrant home languages.

            Sviatlana Karpava, Language Policy