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Do you think there is a "Polish" problem in the Uk now that it's become the 2nd language in England?

(465 Posts)
NomadsLand Thu 31-Jan-13 20:48:52

I've been to Poland and I like Poles a lot as a people. I think Warsaw is a great city and I have nothing against Polish people.

My mother complained back in 2007 about the number of Poles in Liverpool changing the 'culture'. What she meant was that she loves to banter with people in shops and restaurants and she used to get a lot of chat back (Liverpudlians are generally very funny - IMHO - and love a bit of verbal 'how's your father'). She complained that this had changed and that she was increasingly met with blank stares. This is high insult to my mother!

I didn't think much of it. But I am now finding the same - I approached a new restaurant outlet at my local services today and joked about them selling hot dogs and milkshakes and what a welcome addition to the usual (was hungry and about to make an irresponsible food choice!). I got the same blank stare. Didn't understand a word I said.

I finally understood what my mother has been saying. AIBU?

HollyBerryBush Thu 31-Jan-13 21:16:48

After WWII, 200,000 Polish settled in the UK - why are they now a problem????

herethereandeverywhere Thu 31-Jan-13 21:16:48


I live in London, beside a Polish retirement home, round the corner from a Polish social club and church and the usual Polish delis etc. London is a melting pot of different cultures, if I walk 5 minutes in the other direction I'm absorbed in all things Indian/Pakistani/Bagladeshi. I LIKE this. I also like every Pole I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. All honest and hardworking to a fault.

Also OP - I'm slightly confused about the point your mother made about Liverpool (my parents are from there, I'm from the Wirral). Liverpool, as a port and former gateway to the rest of the world, has always had large communities of "other cultures and races" settling there. It has the second oldest Chinese community in the world and a large black Afro-Caribbean community and its famous Irish community. It's ALWAYS welcomed new settlers and that's part of the charm of the city.

I must also share this anecdote: I was buying lunch in a branch of EAT in London when the server clocked my accent and asked where I was from (near Liverpool). He asked where exactly, I explained and also stated where my parents grew up. He gave us our drinks on the house because he loved Liverpool so much and regularly visits his brother who lives there. He was Polish!

givemeaclue Thu 31-Jan-13 21:18:24

Someone didn't laugh at your joke. On this basis the culture of England is changing? Really?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 31-Jan-13 21:19:58

Lets just say it as it is. First the Afro carribean came and changed our culture, then the Asians came and 'took over' our shops. Now it's those Polish and soon it'll be those Romanians/Bulgarians and the Daily Mail will be full of how the gypsys are taking over confused

gazzalw Thu 31-Jan-13 21:20:30

We have quite a sizeable Polish population around where we live and have worked out that DD's school possibly about 10% of the children have Polish parents although I think most of the DCs were born over here.

We find the Polish parents very friendly, even if their English isn't that good initially, and they tend to pick up English very quickly. Many of them intend to stay in the UK now although some are more transient.

I don't find it an issue at all, although we do find walking home sometimes that for all the English we don't hear being spoken with could very well be living in Poland. TK Maxx at the weekend is like Warsaw Central.

They are a breath of fresh air TBQH and I'd rather live surrounded by Polish people than a lot of our compatriots who live in the neighbourhood!

givemeaclue Thu 31-Jan-13 21:20:51

Someone didn't laugh at your joke. On this basis the culture of England is changing? Really?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 31-Jan-13 21:20:55

Oh, I forgot to add the Chinese taking over the take aways wink

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 31-Jan-13 21:21:39

And the Viking stealing our women. angry

And the grey squirrels. Don't forget them.

feministefatale Thu 31-Jan-13 21:22:10

there will always be a "second language" in any country surely? confused get annoyed when it becomes the first language,

Maryz Thu 31-Jan-13 21:23:44

The Brits have changed southern Spain because they have moved there en masse but refuse to integrate whatsoever - so they eat English food, bought in English shops, send their children to English schools and talk English all the time.

When there are entire areas of Liverpool with Polish people who only speak Polish, who have set up their own exclusive schools for their children to be taught through Polish, and who refuse absolutely to learn a single word of English, then maybe, just maybe, there will be a problem.

I don't think that's likely, btw. Any Polish people I meet are fantastic at English.

There is a Polish option at Leaving Cert in Ireland now.

TarkaTheOtter Thu 31-Jan-13 21:25:35

No one understands my jokes where I live, but given the white, British monoculture that pervades round here I can't blame the "polish problem". I'm considered forrin as I hold an American as well as a British passport.

Your chat sounds a bit tedious tbh, I'd probably just smile and nod if I encountered you in a work situation. Maybe there is a American/British problem? <brushes up on citizenship test just in case>

RatherBeACyborg Thu 31-Jan-13 21:29:11

Yabu. The Polish parents at my daughter's school are, surprise surprise, just like everyone else. Most lovely, a few shy.

Maybe it's you...

NomadsLand Thu 31-Jan-13 21:30:22

Learning Polish at school? Good grief! What a mad idea!

I can't believe I even read that. Pls tell me why that's a good idea?

And would all the people silently agreeing with me kindly jump in?

Jinsei Thu 31-Jan-13 21:30:47

My grandfather was a proud Liverpuddlian. He was also the son of Irish immigrants. I dare say that there was some "cultural change" that came along with the massive influxes of Irish immigrants all those years ago. Immigration is nothing new. It's only a problem if you choose to make it one.

RatherBeACyborg Thu 31-Jan-13 21:31:01

And my daughter enjoys learning some Polish words from her friends. Win win as far as I can see.

sue52 Thu 31-Jan-13 21:31:10

When I was a schoolgirl in west London in the fifties about 50% of my fellow pupils came from Polish families. I didn't see it as a problem then and certainly it isn't one now. All the Poles I have known have a great work ethic and their presence can only be to the advantage of the UK.

Isildur Thu 31-Jan-13 21:32:54

Polish is a very difficult language to learn, it's rather like Latin. As an intellectual exercise, it is very worthwhile.

Are you perhaps just a bit of a bigot OP?

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 31-Jan-13 21:33:28

nomads - why isn't it a good idea? Usually, people learn languages so they can speak them and communicate with people.

French used to be the standard second language in UK schools, but it's increasingly common to do languages like Chinese or Spanish, which are more widely spoken. What's the issue?

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 31-Jan-13 21:34:06

Learning Polish at school? Good grief! What a mad idea!

You are joking aren't you. Am I not getting the joke here?

Why not Polish? We learn French, German and Spanish.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Thu 31-Jan-13 21:35:35

Yabvu. In my experience, sample of one though it is, the influx of Eastern europeans has massively improved my shopping and eating out experience. Now shop assistants and wait staff are polite, friendly and helpful, glad of a job and committed to doing it well.

Maryz Thu 31-Jan-13 21:35:47

Well <explains in very, very, simple words> if you are from a Polish background and sitting your A-levels, it is nice to be able to sit a Polish A-level, studying Polish literature, just like your English school-mates can study English at GCSE and A-level, and Welsh can study Welsh, and Irish can study Irish, and French can study French and ........

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 31-Jan-13 21:36:33

Er OP the only reason the standard languages taught at schools are standard is because they were considered to be the most widely spoken/influential/political. Why would you think that wouldn't change?

What a strange outlook on learning languages you have.

ReallyTired Thu 31-Jan-13 21:37:16

I have to admit I thought the second language of England would would be urdu as there are million muslims in the UK.

duende Thu 31-Jan-13 21:37:35

I saw there were quite a few posts on this thread and I was a bit hesitant to open it. I'm so relieved! Most of the posters on this thread are lovely, it's people like you who make this country so welcoming.

I'm polish by the way, I speak very good English (and spanish) understand local sense of humour, integrate with my local community, watch british tv and ead british press, pay a lot in income taxes and have never claimed any benefits. Still, a bit sad that I feel the need to say it, no?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 31-Jan-13 21:38:09

Maryz Welsh pupils don't study Welsh literature,they study English literature etc in Welsh. If they have the option.

That is not the same.

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