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Research on Glasgow Poles

13th February 2019

Amidst the continuing debates about our relationship with other countries in the EU any new research that throws light on Scotland’s interaction with other EU citizens is welcome, and in particular, our linguistic interactions. In 2018 Dr Sadie Durkacz Ryan presented her fascinating PhD thesis called ‘Language, migration and identity at school: a sociolinguistic study with Polish adolescents in Glasgow’.

Ryan spent two years at a high school in the East End of Glasgow studying and recording the speech of 14 adolescents born in Poland and compared these with 7 Glasgow-born adolescents. Ryan wanted to find out if the Polish-born boys and girls matched the patterns of speech found in Glasgow dialect. In fact, they generally came quite close, but there were some differences, and the adolescents differed amongst themselves as we might expect. What is most interesting is that the data strongly suggested friendship networks were key. It was these networks more than anything that influenced acquiring a higher ability in the nuances of Glasgow speech.

Ryan had earlier completed another study called ‘Cin u get aff my facebook hen? Variation and identity marking in adolescent Glaswegian girls’ (MPhil(R) thesis, 2014) which, as the title reveals, studied patterns of language among girls using Facebook, including use of the Scots of Glasgow dialect.

You can read more about these studies by following this link to the University of Glasgow: