Studying Parental Attitudes to Intergenerational Transmission of a Heritage Language: Polish in Regensburg

  • Hanna PułaczewskaEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


The study attempts to systematically relate family language policies, their perception of social pressures, and parents’ axiological stances. The objective is to provide an empirical account of variance in parenting styles and associated family language policies of Polish-speaking parents in Regensburg, Germany. The data consisted of interviews conducted with 20 immigrant Polish-speaking mothers of teenagers living in Germany since infancy. Interview data have been subjected to an inductive analysis in order to identify crucial aspects of variance in stances of immigrant parents, reflected in the observed variance of their children’s competence in Polish. The outcome is a typology of parents’ axiological attitudes to parenting, involving relative primacy of values such as child autonomy, child security, parent-child relation, nation, religion, and extended family that affect the decision on in how far Polish is being passed on to children. This is followed by a typology of conative attitudes to the intergenerational transmission of Polish which does not stop at the extent to which Polish is cultivated in the interaction with the child, but also indicates dichotomous motivations for suppression or marginalisation of Polish—submission to social pressure or communicative advantages.


Assimilation Immigration Parenting Value Family language policy Bilingualism 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philological FacultyUniwersytet SzczecińskiSzczecinPoland

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