Invalid Search. Enter keywords, authors, DOI etc. Search History. Search history from this session 0. Metrics Views Abstract In language use, it is possible to differentiate between linguistic and metalinguistic activities—on the one hand, people produce utterances, while not devoting any attention to the language or the utterances, and on the other hand, people may orient their attention toward the language or the utterances, evaluate them, think about altering them and occasionally take action on those thoughts.
Sorry, you do not have access to this eBook A subscription is required to access the full text content of this book. Sign In. Related chapters Quantitative Research in Se World Englishes. Who are the other 55, who consider Russian to be their mother tongue? Are they Ukrainians? Ukrainians and Belarusians only make up 47, people. Sure, genetic relationship may account for the huge numbers of Ukrainians and Belarusians who speak Russian fluently. The three languages are all closely related members of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family.
Gallup Polls conducted surveys in nine of the former republics in and One of the preliminary questions dealt with the language the person wanted the survey to be in.
Language Choice and Identity in Post-Soviet Armenia
The choices were the titular language of the country, Russian, or other. A huge percentage of Belarusians and Ukrainians chose Russian 92 and 83 percent respectively , as expected by the typological closeness of the languages and the large number of Russian speakers in each country. Fewer, but still a significant number of Kazakhs chose Russian at 68 percent. In Kyrgyzstan, 38 percent chose Russian, while in Moldova only 23 percent did.
In the remaining countries Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Tajikistan , between 3 and 7 percent selected Russian as the survey language. Interestingly, when asked whether it is important for children in their country to learn Russian, a total of 92 percent of Georgians polled said it was somewhat 28 percent or very important 64 percent , despite only 7 percent of respondents asking for a Russian-language survey.
Of those polled, 75 percent thought it was very important and 19 percent thought it was somewhat important for Armenian children to learn Russian. Only 3 percent of Armenians asked for a Russian- language survey. In Azerbaijan, 84 percent believe Russian is important for children to learn, while in Tajikistan, fully 98 percent of respondents felt the same. Uzbekistan also polled high; 97 percent of Uzbeks agree that the Russian language is important for children to learn. The Internet offers the opportunity to see how each state values Russian.
Language Policy in the Soviet Union
Is Russian among the language options on official governmental websites? Additionally, orthographical conventions may show us how certain states regard the Russian language. Do they continue to write their language in Cyrillic, or have they switched to another alphabet since the collapse of the Soviet Union? Is a Russian version of the website offered for visitors? What language is the default language for the site? What other languages are available? I visited at least two governmental websites for each of the republics, most often the website of the president or prime minister, and the website of the parliament.
For some republics these websites were not available.
Language Choice and Identity in Post-Soviet Armenia : Linguistic Construction of Ethnic Borders
In these cases, I visited other governmental websites. Searches for any other governmental web page failed to find any official sites. Searches for any Turkmen presence besides a governmental information site also failed.
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No other site was found. In total, I discovered 27 websites. State statistical agencies or census bureaus are another matter which I will deal with below. Three former republics and four governmental websites did not include Russian as an optional language. The republics were Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
Both the presidential and parliament websites of Georgia offered only Georgian and English versions. The parliament of Azerbaijan website has only an Azeri version; no other language was available. The official government website of Ukraine has English and Ukrainian versions only. The remaining 23 websites, representing every former republic except Georgia, all offered a Russian version. When the home page is visited, what language does the visitor encounter first? To test this, I ensured that the webpage address did not include any indicator of language; for example, instead of visiting www.
Only 15 of the 27 websites took me to the titular language version. Estonia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Moldova all took me to native language versions for both websites, while Latvia, Armenia and Tajikistan directed me to their official languages on one of the websites. Four took me to an English site, while one the Kazakhstan government page took me to a page where I had to choose which language I wanted before entering the main site.
Finally, one can look at the number and variety of language choices visitors have when going to these websites. The average is three languages. Only nine of the websites offered fewer than three language choices.
The remaining 18 websites offer from three to six language choices. The hands-down winner for language choice is the Lithuanian parliament website, which offers not only Lithuanian, English and Russian, but also French, German and Chinese versions. Lithuania aside, most of these 18 websites offer a Russian, English and titular language version. There is a desire to disseminate the data collected, thus one can expect that the websites will offer languages considered lingua francas.
I was able to find an official government website for census data for all FSU republics except Turkmenistan. Unlike the governmental sites I searched, the census sites offered fewer languages, two on average. Russian was a language choice for all except the three Baltic states, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In fact, in only six months from my first visit to the website of the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Russian was removed as a language option. English, on the other hand, is an option on every census website. However, while English may be an option for the webpage, not every country offers English versions of their census documents.
This is most likely due to programming by the webmaster which allows the website to determine what country I was from. Some of these FSU languages had their own alphabets prior to the days of the Soviet Union, like the Mkhedruli alphabet of the Georgians, or the distinctive alphabet of the Armenians. In the s and s, the Moldovan intelligentsia spoke out against the Cyrillic in favor of the Latin alphabet. Brent Preisler et al. Roskilde: Roskilde University Press, , Originally, these languages were written in the Arabic script, the same used by present day Arabic, Persian-Farsi and the languages of Afghanistan.
Following the Turkish language reform, the Soviet Turkic languages switched their alphabets to the Latin alphabet in the s. Soviet language planners changed these alphabets to Cyrillic versions in the late s, purportedly to make it easier for the non-Russians to learn Russian, and to loosen the grip that Muslim clerics had on their people. But today, things are different.
Language Policy in the former Soviet Union
As stated above, the Moldovan constitution declared the Moldovan alphabet to be the Latin one, and today Moldovan is written in the same alphabet as Romanian except in Transnistria, where Cyrillic is still used. Michael Kirkwood London: St. Alexander J. But not just school books; books, journals and magazines all will have to be published in the new alphabet. The move away from Cyrillic will have a drastic effect on Russian language learning and maintenance.
In the ten years since the Uzbek government mandated teaching Uzbek in the Latin alphabet, the number of elementary and secondary students who studied through the medium of Russian declined by half, from , in to , in If so, Tajikistan would not have so few speakers and Kazakhstan would not have so many. Belarus would not have over a million fewer Russian speakers and Uzbekistan would not have two million more between the Soviet census and their respective national censuses.
Language attitudes, as revealed in surveys conducted in the FSU republics, as well as language choices on these surveys help us determine how prestigious Russian is today. Yet, Russian is still being used in all the fourteen FSU states. The reason could be that the people remaining after the colonizers left speak the colonial language as their first language, and had been speaking it for some time.
This is known as the creole reason. Secondly, the people who shook off the shackles of the colonizers may still desire some sort of relationship with the former colonizing power, and thus may maintain the language to stay in communication with them. Still, French remains a useful language in this huge region. In many countries around the world, English as a Second Language classes are full, not because everyone loves America, England or any other Anglo state.