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The Russian Language Outside the Nation

The Russian Language Outside the Nation

Edited by Lara Ryazanova-Clarke
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Russian Language Outside the Nation
    Book Description:

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, over 25 million Russian speakers ended up living outside their homeland. Some remained in the non-Russian former Soviet republics which became independent states, whilst others migrated. This book explores multiple issues connected to the Russian speaker’s identity as a member of a linguistic minority in the new world configuration. This topic has received little scholarly attention but it is topical not only for Russia but also for the policy makers and societies of the destination nations.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-6846-5
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Cyrillic Transliteration System Adopted in the Book
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction: The Russian Language, Challenged by Globalisation
    (pp. 1-30)
    Lara Ryazanova-Clarke

    Globalisation has been noted to be one of the principle challenges for the contemporary study of language in society (de Swaan 2001; Calvet 2006; Fairclough 2006; Pennycook 2007; Blommaert 2010; Coupland 2010). As it sets out to develop new arguments, vocabularies and parameters (Blommaert 2010), the emerging field of sociolinguistics of globalisation redefines the relationship between language and space in the modern world (Mikhalchenko and Trushkova 2003; Gal 2010; Blommaert and Dong 2010). In recent decades, space has been a dramatic factor in defining the state of the Russian language which has experienced on the one hand, multiple physical and...

  6. Part I: Russian and Its Legal Status

    • CHAPTER 1 International Law, Minority Language Rights and Russian(s) in the ‘Near Abroad’
      (pp. 33-55)
      Michael Newcity

      Many New Independent States (NIS) have experienced (but, frequently, not resolved) conflicting pressures to establish a national language as an exercise in nation building, and to protect the rights of their ethno-linguistic minorities. These powerfully competing demands have been felt to varying degrees in all of the nations of the ‘near abroad’.¹ The legal regimes in these nations have sought to strike a balance between the need to establish and promote the use of a national language while protecting the rights of linguistic minorities–in particular, the Russian-speaking minority. The legal provisions applicable to the Russian language and the Russian-speaking...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Russian Language in Ukraine: Complicit in Genocide, or Victim of State-Building?
      (pp. 56-78)
      Bill Bowring

      This chapter tracks the fate of the Russian language in Ukraine. The fate of Russian in Ukraine, and indeed of Ukrainian in Ukraine, has been at the centre of heated political debates ever since Ukraine became independent, on the collapse of the USSR in late 1991.

      On 14 February 2010 the (ethnic Belarussian, as it happens) Viktor Ianukovich was declared the winner in the presidential elections, beating Iulia Tymoshenko by just 3.48 percentage points (Polityuk and Balmforth 2010). Despite having campaigned on a promise to make Russian the second official language of Ukraine, in March 2010 President Ianukovich recognised that...

  7. Part II: Linguistic Perceptions and Symbolic Values

    • CHAPTER 3 The Russian Language in Belarus: Language Use, Speaker Identities and Metalinguistic Discourse
      (pp. 81-116)
      Curt Woolhiser

      Belarus is widely regarded as the most ‘Russified’ of the former Soviet republics, and indeed nowhere beyond the borders of the Russian Federation has the Russian language retained such a dominant position in virtually all spheres of public life. While modest efforts were made in the first years of independence to promote the use of Belarusian in education, the media and government, since the 1995 referendum that granted Russian co-official status with Belarusian the latter has found itself increasingly marginalised. The continued dominance of the Russian language in Belarus does not, however, to the surprise of those who adhere to...

    • CHAPTER 4 What is Russian in Ukraine? Popular Beliefs Regarding the Social Roles of the Language
      (pp. 117-140)
      Volodymyr Kulyk

      Despite some decrease in its use in the wake of the breakup of the USSR and the promotion of Ukrainian as the only state language of independent Ukraine, Russian continues to be widely used in most practices of Ukrainian society. Its presence in those practices stems from different and often coexisting roles which, however, are rarely explicitly articulated in everyday or institutional discourses. Moreover, the legitimisation of its use in one role can pave the way for the use in another. First and foremost, Russian is the native language for a large part of the Ukrainian population, and for an...

  8. Part III: Russian-Speaking Communities and Identity Negotiations

    • CHAPTER 5 Post-Soviet Russian-Speaking Diaspora in Italy: Results of a Sociolinguistic Survey
      (pp. 143-165)
      Monica Perotto

      Although Russian travellers are known to have visited Italy from the fifteenth century, a significant migration process only dates back to the beginning of the twentieth.¹ The first wave of Russian emigration was mainly represented by the noble classes and intelligentsia, making a great contribution to the spread of Russian culture in Italy.²

      Nowadays, representatives of the third generation of the first Russian emigration wave³ live all over Italy, but only a few continue to speak Russian. For instance, Maria Volkonskaya, one of the last descendants of the Volkonsky family of princes, lives in Rome, works as a translator and...

    • CHAPTER 6 Ethnolinguistic Vitality and Acculturation Orientations of Russian Speakers in Estonia
      (pp. 166-188)
      Martin Ehala and Anastassia Zabrodskaja

      Ethnolinguistic vitality ‘is that which makes a group likely to behave as a distinctive and active collective entity in intergroup situations’ (Giles et al. 1977: 308). It was suggested that groups that have little vitality are likely to cease to exist as distinctive collectives, while those that have high vitality are likely to survive. Traditionally, ethnolinguistic vitality is divided into objective and subjective vitality (Bourhis et al. 1981). Objective vitality is determined by three structural variables: demography, institutional support and status (Giles et al. 1977); while subjective vitality is understood as ‘group members’ subjective assessment of in-group/out-group vitality’, which ‘may...

    • CHAPTER 7 Linguistic Performance of Russianness among Russian-Israeli Parents: Child-Raising Practices in the Immigrant Community
      (pp. 189-206)
      Claudia Zbenovich

      The concept ofRussianness— an expression of certain attitudes and values regarding childrearing on the part of Russian-Israeli parents raising their children — arose after observing a situation in a friend’s house. My friends are Russian-speaking Jews who have lived in Israel for the last twenty years, as have I. A group of adults in my age group — Russian and native Israelis — got together around a table in my friend’s home and there was some lively discussion. Our host’s nine-year old son kept trying to interrupt in order to say something, but the adult company, including his mother, paid no attention...

  9. Part IV: Language Contact and the Globalisation of Russian

    • CHAPTER 8 Similarities and Differences between American-Immigrant Russian of the 1970s and 1980s and Post-Soviet Russian in the Motherland
      (pp. 209-224)
      David R. Andrews

      The title of this chapter, while admittedly utilitarian, is an excellent frame for the discussion of a broad and fascinating topic. In essence, the entire comparison boils down to the specific permutations of the referenced similarities and differences. The similarities have their origin in the assimilation by two speech communities of enormous sociocultural changes that were then reflected in their language. In earlier work (Andrews 1999) I have noted that the many borrowings and other English-inspired lexical innovations of Russian-speaking immigrants to the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, or the group commonly referred to as the third wave,...

    • CHAPTER 9 Predictors of Pluricentricity: Lexical Divergences between Latvian Russian and Russian Russian
      (pp. 225-246)
      Aleksandrs Berdicevskis

      When I moved into a room in a university dormitory in Moscow, I was given an inventory — a list of all the objects in the room for which I was responsible. To my surprise, the inventory contained the wordкaрнuз, which to me meant ‘exterior window sill’¹ — at least that was how people in Riga, where I grew up, used it. The window did, of course, have an exterior sill, but it seemed strange to include it in the inventory. It transpired that in ‘mainland’ Russianкaрнuзcan mean ‘curtain rod’ — something that I, a native speaker of Russian, never...

  10. Part V: Globalisation of Russian as Soft Power

    • CHAPTER 10 Russian with an Accent: Globalisation and the Post-Soviet Imaginary
      (pp. 249-281)
      Lara Ryazanova-Clarke

      Asserting itself as a confident global player, Russia issued in 2009 a new doctrine of national security for the period until 2020. The doctrine included language among the listed instruments of national security (Strategiia Bezopasnosti 2009). This highlighted a developing trend by which the Russian language is increasingly used in the promotion of Russian national interests abroad, as a soft power tool packaged for global consumption. The notion of soft power is widely interpreted as an ability of a country to ‘co-opt rather than coerce’ and to ‘shape the preferences of others’ (Nye and Jisi 2009: 18; Nye 2004; 2011)....

  11. Index
    (pp. 282-292)