Bilingualism has long been observed in Silesia, a part of Poland which lies on the
border between three cultures and languages: Polish, Czech and German. Some linguists
consider Silesian one of the Polish dialects, others think it should be treated
as a separate language. During the communist times the inhabitants of Upper Silesia
were discouraged from using the local dialect at school or in public institutions. The
situation has changed a lot since 1989 with the promotion of regional studies. Short
characteristics of Silesian will be presented in the fi rst part of the paper.
The main part of the project presents the results of a questionnaire which focuses on
young people’s attitudes towards Silesian. The respondents (100 Polish students of
English philology) fall into two groups – half of them identify themselves with the
region and the other half do not. How many respondents speak Silesian? Where do
they use it and how do they evaluate it? What is the linguistic stereotype of a person
living in Upper Silesia? These are just a few questions that suggest themselves in the
context of the study.