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Census 2011 Reveals Spike In Polish Speakers - But Linguist Says Poles Are Taking Their 'Ponglish' Home

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Polish has been named as the second most spoken language in England and Wales after the 2011 census revealed 1% of the population, or nearly half a million people, conversed in the foreign tongue.

While eurosceptics may lament how immigration has changed the aural landscape of the UK, the England-Polish influence traverses both ways.

Polish translator Anna Lycett, 25, from Leeds, told the Huffington Post UK about the phenomenon of 'Ponglish' and how Polish people visiting the UK are bringing the language home.

marks and spencer

'Quintessentially' British shop Marks and Spencers is popular in Poland

She said English is often used in the office environment, adding: "Mostly English is incorporated into Polish in business speak, so terminology used in the office would be English rather than Polish: for example you would go to a 'briefing' [sic] rather than use the Polish word for it.

"Marketing is often referred to as 'marketing' and you would also say 'IT' rather than the 'technologia informacyjna 'or TI either.

"People tend to use these English words whether they fully understand what they mean in English or not. PR is also Polonised so it is pronounced like the English 'PR' but spelt in Polish to reflect the pronunciation 'piar'.

"English can be seen in areas that are rapidly developing and changing in Poland, like the business world."

georges drive

A Polish sign on a lamp post in St George's Drive, London, near the entrance to Victoria bus station

On her blog, Key Check, Anna lists other uses of 'Ponglish'.

For example many Polish people say jestem happy (I’m happy) rather than jestem szczęśliwy. Additionally some words have been partly Polonised, or given a Polish spelling eg banować (to ban), wygooglać (to Google).

Lycett came over to England in 2006 to study initially, but ended up staying. She said she said she was surprised Polish was the second language here and hadn't seen Polish being assimilated into the English language in the same way.

"I think Ponglish is happening in part because the Polish and the Polish government doesn't adopt the trend of Polonising things, in the same way that for example France does, instead it's very much a case of incorporating languages.

"It's also happening because so many English and American companies are based in Poland so its easiest to speak at least some English.

"Young people are coming over here to travel or study and then going back and adopting words at home. For some people Ponglish is seen as 'cool.'

"I haven't noticed it happening the other way at all and though I know there's a large community of Poles here I'm surprised Polish is the second most spoken language."

In return for vodka and Tyskie beer, we can spare a few words, surely?