Polish: the world’s most loved – and Scotland’s first “other” – language

The French translators’ organisation (the Société française des traducteurs, or SFT) recently asked me to write an article about the Scots language, the inspiration being Scotland’s independence referendum on 18 September 2014. The article – beautifully translated by Géraldine Chantegrel – will be published in the December 2014 issue of Traduire, the SFT journal. See below for details of how to buy this issue, subscribe or read back issues.

During my research for the article, I discovered from the Scottish Census (2011) results that Polish (along with Urdu and Punjabi) is one of the top 3 languages – other than English, Scots or Gaelic – used at home by people living in Scotland. 54,186 people, over 10% of Scotland’s population of 5,118,223, have Polish as their household language.

Polish: the world’s most loved language

Polish is also the world’s most loved language, according to the Language World Cup 2014 organised by the bab.la language portal. English (which came first in 2013) was in second place this year, with Italian in third.

While I don’t for one second doubt the lovableness of the Polish language, I wonder if the two results are related. Could Polish’s World Cup victory be a reflection of the national pride (and homesickness, surely) felt by the many Polish people who have left their country since it joined the European Union back in 2004? Could this be a case of absence making Polish hearts grow ever fonder of their language?

What do you think, readers? What’s your favourite language, and why? Comments from Polish readers particularly welcome!

How to buy Traduire

To buy the December 2014 or other issues of Traduire, you need to create an account (but you don’t need to be a member of the SFT to do so). Each issue costs €25; an annual subscription (2 issues per year) costs €30 for SFT members and €40 for non-members. Past issues of Traduire (with 2-year embargo – so this year’s issues won’t be available until 2016) are free to read on the revues.org portal.

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by Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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