Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Linguistics and Language Development


Swathi Vanniarajan


maintenance of minority language and culture, Polish culture in the United States, Polish immigrants in California, Polish immigrants in the United States, Polish language and culture, Polish language attrition

Subject Areas

Sociolinguistics; Language; Slavic studies


The focus of this thesis research is to investigate the extent to which first

generation Polish immigrants living in the southern San Francisco Bay Area in California maintain their native Polish language and culture. Qualitative data were collected in the form of interviews and survey questionnaires. The major findings show that in this small immigrant community (1) maintenance of Polish language and culture happens primarily at home; (2) females married to first generation Polish immigrants are more likely than others to maintain Polish language and culture; (3) the small size of the Polish community, knowledge of English at the time of arrival, and a high level of education together contribute to first generation Polish immigrants' shift to the English language and American culture.