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Poles 'not knowingly rude', conclude UK academics

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 16.02.2012 09:06
New research in the UK concludes that "ordinary ways of expressing needs in Polish could sound rude or ill-mannered when Polish speakers use them to construct sentences in English."
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Nevertheless, according to the University of Portsmouth, which conducted the study, Poles are not trying to be rude.

In a press release by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) claims that the research, which focuses on "the different ways that English and Polish people use language in everyday family situations," can "help members of each community to understand each other better and avoid cultural misunderstandings."

It has been estimated by Britain's Migration Policy Institute that some 1.5 million citizens from new EU countries emigrated to the UK following the expansion of the union in 2004. Most are Poles.

Dr Jorg Zingen from the University of Portsmouth's Psychology Department recorded families engaged in mundane encounters over the breakfast table and elsewhere. He found that Poles are more likely to use imperatives in their interaction.

English-speakers tended to say, for example, "can you pass the milk?", while Poles often simply said "pass the milk."

According to Dr Zingen, Poles do not see the use of imperatives as a negative quality.

"When a Polish person wants a family member to pass the milk, there is a presumption that the other person will be available at that moment and will help," he says.

"The fact that you can make this presumption is seen as a good thing, it says something positive about the relationship between the speaker and the other person," he argues.

"Every culture has its own social rules and values, but we often don’t notice them because they are ingrained in the way we use language, not just in the words we use but in grammar and sentence structure," he reflects.

"If we understand these differences better, we can understand where other people are coming from, while also reflecting on what our own language says about us and how we relate to others." (nh/pg)

tags: UK
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