Polish Language Enrollments

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Polish Language Enrollments

After I posted information about increasing enrollments in Polish history courses, I was contacted by Professor Halina Filipowicz of the University of Wisconsin, who pointed out that the story isn’t quite so cheerful when it comes to language courses.  It sure isn’t: since  2006 the number of students studying Polish at American universities has fallen from 1,381 to 871.  Of course, fewer students are studying foreign languages overall, but that drop is not nearly as sharp.  I would point out, however, that the current dip still leaves us above the level we were at in the 1990s.  As you can see in the chart below, Polish enjoyed a peak in the late 1970s and another in the early 2000s, followed each time by declines.  To put this in some perspective, I’ve added the figures for Czech and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.  There’s no doubt that the declining numbers studying Slavic languages is something we should worry about.


About Author

Brian Porter-Szucs

Brian Porter-Szucs is a Thurnau Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where he specializes in the history of Poland, Catholicism, and modern economic thought.

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