Mobility, speaking styles and group formation among Polish-speaking migrants in the UK

Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, room B33
Booking details: Free entry; booking recommended

Dr Kinga Kozminska will examine how in the context of global mobility, the new, increased intensity and frequency of language contact can contribute to a new arrangement of sociocultural space and creation of previously non-existent ways of speaking and identities. She will discuss speaking styles and language ideologies of a group of Polish-speaking migrants living and working in South-Eastern England, their linguistic strategies used in the context of the narrative of the self and ways the speakers evaluate their own and others’ linguistic behaviour. As Polish-speaking migrants in Britain are an exemplary group of contemporary migrants, who can draw on variegated symbols and resources unlimited by territorial boundaries, the focus is put on the interplay of global and local processes that influence the way people create allegiances and form groups by means of language in the contemporary world.

Dr Kozminska will discuss how different ways of speaking Polish among a group of migrants with seemingly very similar sociocultural and linguistic profiles are assigned different indexical meanings by speakers expressing different sociocultural identities in the new context in Britain. She will nvestigate the role of ideological attitudes and network-linked practices on the propagation of linguistic practices and norms together with their potential impact on participation in the social life in the transnational space.


Dr Kinga Kozminska is a sociolinguist working on identity formation within the Polish-speaking diaspora. She completed her DPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at the University of Oxford in autumn 2016, where she conducted a sociophonetic study of the Polish spoken by a group of Polish-speaking migrants living and working in Oxford and the Greater London area. She holds two MA degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Warsaw. Her research interests include: language ideologies, language variation and change, language contact, sociophonetics and language socialization. Before coming to Birkbeck, she taught sociolinguistics at Oxford and worked as a Visiting Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Brighton. She has presented her research at various conferences (e.g. 18th ICPhS, Georgetown Linguistic Roundtable 2015) and co-organised e.g. two linguistic anthropology conferences at Oxford (Language, Indexicality and Belonging 2016, Language, Mobility and Belonging 2017).

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