UKRAINIANS IN WARMIA AND MAZURY. BETWEEN THE PRESERVATION OF LINGUISTIC IDENTITY AND LINGUISTIC ASSIMILATION
Ukrainians came to the region of Warmia and Mazury in 1947 when they were resettled from southeastern Poland. The resettlement and dispersion were the first stage of the policy of assimilation of the Ukrainian population, including linguistic assimilation, which was pursued in the following years. For the contemporary Ukrainians, who live in Warmia and Mazury, language is one of the basic values, next to religion and historical memory, which are pillars of their national identity. The basic role in sustaining and developing the linguistic identity of the community is played by the school. Its job is to promote the knowledge of literary language, which matches the standards of the national language. It is a key to the Ukrainian culture and a link between the Diaspora and the Ukrainian people. The school is also an institution which integrates the Ukrainian community in the region, particularly the youth. It builds the linguistic community through the organisation of many events and local and regional meetings. The preservation of the Ukrainian language in the minority will depend on the extent to which it will be a language used in everyday communication in families and in the community, despite the spontaneous processes of assimilation. A greater and greater number of mixed marriages is a danger to the Ukrainian language and culture. The migration of Ukrainian families to towns, which disintegrates the families and traditional neighbourhoods, does not favour the strengthening of links with the native language. As a result many Ukrainian families are facing a dilemma today - should they insist that their children attend extra language classes or not? Whatever the ultimate choices are, everything will depend on raising the awareness that the culture of a minority group is a value, which favourably distinguishes a minority group, that it is a source of prestige in the culturally uniform society and that it accords a higher social status.
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