Title: Relocating Cultures
Dates, times and venue
Date: 13th April 2011
Finishes: 15th April 2011
Venue: Trinity College, Dublin
Building: Long Room Hub
Type of Event: Conference
Time: 19:30 pm
Time: 21:00 pm
The registration fee is €50; registered post graduate students pay a reduced fee of €20. This will cover the cost of refreshments and conference materials.
The conference dinner is not included in the registration fee.
Speakers and presenters are exempt from the registration fee.
Public Lectures/Keynote speakers
Wednesday 13th April @ 19:30
Professor Jan Blommaert, Tilberg University
Thursday 14th April @ 19:30
Professor Li Wei, Birkbeck, University of London
Friday 15th April @ 19:00
European House, Dawson St
Professor Kuvaldin (Moscow State University) in conversation with Professor Ron Hill (Trinity College Dublin): The collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years on
Organiser and Sponsors
This international conference is organised by the ‘Our Languages’ research team, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, Trinity College, Dublin. The sponsors of the Conference are the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, TCD.
The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners from the fields of language in society, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, language politics, and diaspora and identity studies.
This conference provides a forum in which scholars interact in dialogue with colleagues from different discipline areas, with different methodologies and theoretical frameworks. The panels will be scheduled sequentially (not in parallel sessions).
The programme of “Relocating Cultures” (13-15 April 2011) is structured to move from the more conceptual and theoretical (without privileging any particular ethnic, social or linguistic group) to a more particular focus on Russian as a minority language in the modern world.
It is planned to publish an edited volume of selected papers. Papers will be published in English only.
Thursday 14th April
9:30 – 13:00
Panel 1 – Multilingualism and multiculturalism: policies and practices
9:30-11:00 Session 1:
University of Tartu
Ethnolinguistic vitality of the Russian-speaking communities in Baltic countries [abstract]
Dr Jasmine Dum-Tragut
University of Salzburg
Striving for Linguistic Independence? The Armenian language in Post-Soviet Armenia [abstract]
S Pöyhönen & Tatjana Rynkänen
Russian-speaking young immigrants in Finland: macro-level policies & micro level practices in language learning [abstract]
11:30-13:00 Session 2:
L. Gumilyov Eurasian National University
Ethno-linguistic identification and adaptation OF REPATRIATES in poly-cultural Kazakhstan. [abstract]
graduate of University of Bar-Ilan
The relationship between explicit and implicit acculturation and adaptation in Russian immigrant teachers and students in Israel [abstract]
University of Lund
Language as a cultural identity: a case of Russian in the Baltic States [abstract]
15:30-18:00 Panel 2 – Culture through time. Transmission.
“Your time to say "I want" has not come yet!” Parenting away from home. [abstract]
Liliane Meyer Pitton
Telling stories in Russian – telling Russian stories? Language socialization through storytelling in binational Russian-Swiss families [abstract]
Russian-Jewish ‘babushka’ in Israel: discourse analysis of the cultural phenomenon [abstract]
University of Cyprus
Mother Land, Historical Mother Land or Host Country? The Case of Pontic Greeks from Russia and Georgia in Cyprus [abstract]
Friday 15th April
Panel 3 Networking and performing identity
German Mendzheritskiy &
Plekhanov Russian Economic University
Should we speak Russian? Everyday practice of Russian-speaking migrants in Germany and Norway [abstract]
Code switching in the Russian and Kazakh languages I polyglot youth environment of Kazakhstan [abstract]
Language diversity and identities on Russian diaspora discussion forums in Finland [abstract]
University of Edinburgh
Digital Communication of the Russian-Speaking Community as Performance of Identity [abstract]
13:00-15:30 Panel 4 Russian as a local language
Mira Bergelson & Andrej A Kibrik
Moscow State University & Institute of Linguistics (RAN)
Ninilchik Russian: A surviving dialect in Alaska [abstract]
Yerevan State University
Role of the Russian language in Transcaucasia. [abstract]
Belorusian State University
The Russian language and Soviet novoyaz [abstract]
The Many Languages of “Russian” and its Irish Situation [abstract]
Thursday 14th April, 14:30-15:30 The Book of Kells Friday 15th April, 15:30-17:30 National Cultural Institutions
Working language – English and Russian
The conference dinner will be held on Saturday evening at 20:00.
Participants should indicate whether they would like to attend the conference dinner. The cost of the dinner is €50.
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Ethnolinguistic vitality of the Russian-speaking communities in Baltic countries
The collapse of Soviet Union left considerable Russian-speaking minorities in all former Soviet republics. While very different language and ethnic policies were implemented in these countries, the Baltic republics have stood out by their rigorous derussification policies. Although the Russian-speaking communities in the Baltic countries share a number of common features, and the policies have followed broadly the same pattern during the Post-Soviet period, the ethnolinguistic outcomes are remarkably different.
The paper presents the results of a large scale quantitative study of ethnolinguistic vitality of Russian-speakers in Estonia (N=448), Latvia (N=406) and Lithuania (N=230). A refined model of ethnolinguistic vitality (Ehala 2008; Ehala and Niglas 2007, Ehala and Zabrodskaja 2011) was used as theoretical framework. According to this model, a group’s vitality depends on perceived strength differences between the ingroup and a prominent outgroup, the level of utilitarianism in cultural behaviour, the perceived inter-group distance and the perceived level of intergroup discordance. The interactional pattern of these variables is outlined.
The analysis revealed significant differences in vitality of Russian-speaking populations in three countries. It was lowest in Lithuania where in all regions, except Visaginas, language and identity shift is apparent. While in Estonia the vitality of Russian-speaking population is considerably higher, particularly in the predominantly Russian speaking North-East Estonia, it is quite low in rural areas and small settlements. In Latvia, the vitality of Russian-speaking community is the highest in the Baltic countries. Comparing to Estonia and Lithuania, the Russian-speaking community in Latvia has considerably higher self-esteem, based on their perceived higher group strength than that of Latvians. Based on three comparative data settings, the importance of social psychological factors in shaping ethnolinguistic vitality is discussed.
Ehala, M. (2008). An evaluation matrix for ethnolinguistic vitality. – Ed. by S. Perlot, T. Priestly & C. Williams, Rights, Promotion and Integration Issues for Minority Languages in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, 123-137
Ehala, M. & Niglas, K. (2007). Empirical Evaluation of a Mathematical Model of Ethnolinguistic Vitality: the Case of Võro. – Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 28 (6), 427–444.
Ehala, Martin, Anastassia Zabrodskaja (2011). Interethnic discordance and stability in Estonia. – Journal of Baltic Studies, 42, 2, 1 - 20. [to appear]
Since the independence of Armenia in 1991, the Armenian language has undergone vehement changes not only in several of its linguistic features particularly in morphosyntax, in its linguistic usage and domains, but also in its socio-political role as official language. Changes that have been triggered by overhasty de-russification of education and public life, exaggerated linguistic purism and language reforms of official language institutions, and efforts for a more or less artificial convergence of Eastern Armenian and Diasporan Western Armenian.
Eastern Armenian has also changed its sociolinguistic and ethnolinguistic values both in Armenia and in the Diaspora, particularly caused by extreme demographic changes – the exodus in the 90ies and the ongoing migration to cities.
The changes in the status of Eastern Armenian as exclusive state language of the Republic of Armenia have also affected the linguistic setting of the linguistic minorities and their linguistic education in their own ethnic language, in the state language Armenian and in Russian.
As a consequence to all changes, the role of Russian as second language has suffered, and with it its former high prestige as language of education, business and power. The competence in Russian has strikingly decreased, particularly in the post-soviet generation; and only recently official Armenia has started new efforts to re-establish Russian as second language in Armenia and stress the language's importance as primary means of communication in post-soviet countries and with neighbours.,
The talk will present the development of Armenian in the course of the last 20 years. It will discuss the following issues and will also exemplify some altered linguistic features:
- the de-russification policy of the early year of independence (closing of Russian schools, restructuring of school and high-school curriculum to exclusively Armenian as language of instruction etc.)
- the emergence of the new law on language and education, and the foundation of the State Office for Armenian language
- the preferred orientation towards English as first foreign language at schools
- problems of re-establishing Russian in the Armenian curricula, since 2000
- development of puristic and even nationalistic language policy (both status and corpus planning involved)
- the importance of Russian as language of instruction for minority children
- the problems of minority language teaching in Armenia, insufficient language policy for linguistic minorities (exemplified by the Assyrian minority)
- the growing influence of the Armenian Diaspora and its linguistic features (gradual incorporation of Diasporan Armenian linguistic features into Eastern Armenian).
A discussion following the talk shall reveal possible parallels in the language politics and language development between the role of Armenian and Georgian as language of an independent country in Post Soviet time.
This paper looks at Russian as a native language and the issues of integration in Finland on two levels: the macro level of policies and micro level of young Russian-speaking immigrants.
The paper is based on a longitudinal case-study on young Russian-speaking immigrants’ (aged 14–23) integration into Finnish society through language and education, carried out in 2002, 2005 and 2008 (see Rynkänen & Pöyhönen 2010). The main focus in the paper is on the meanings and values attributed to Russian both as a native language and a foreign language in macro level policy documents as well as in the micro level experiences and views of Russian-speaking adolescents and young adults. We also describe how these youngsters see their linguistic situation and possibilities of maintaining and developing their mother tongue, and what kind of attitudes they have towards studying Russian in formal education. Finally, we draw conclusions about the possibilities of and constraints on the integration of speakers of Russian into Finnish society.
Rynkänen, T. & Pöyhönen, S. Russian-speaking young immigrants in Finland: Educational and linguistic challenge s to integration. In M. Lähteenmäki & M. Vanhala-Aniszewski (eds.) Multilingualism in Finland and Russia. Language Ideologies in Transition. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Issues of ethno-linguistic identification of migrants attract a constantly increasing attention of scientists as they are concerned with ethnic and social processes which are typical of many countries all over the world. Similar research is designed not only to find ways of adaptation of these layers of population into society, they also reveal forms of linguistic intercultural and interethnic interaction and they also influence processes of linguistic planning.
In this work we are studying the problem of linguistic identification of repatriates (oralmans) who include “foreigners and people without any citizenship of Kazakh nationality, who at the time of obtaining sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan, constantly resided beyond the boundaries of Kazakhstan and who have now come to Kazakhstan with the purpose of getting permanent residence” (1).
The current policy the Republic of Kazakhstan is following to return ethnic Kazakhs to their historical motherland has become an impetus in attracting more t thousand ethnic Kazakhs (from 1991 to 2008). These are chiefly immigrants from Uzbekistan, China, Mongolia.
The formation of ethno-linguistic identification in repatriates happens in various ways depending on various linguistic and extra-linguistic factors: here we mean the linguistic and social-economic situation in the country, the activity of state organs of Kazakhstan concerning ethnic Kazakhs in the near and far abroad.
Results of our social-linguistic experiments revealed a number of problems which repatriates face in the process of their integration with Kazakhstan society.
It is common knowledge that language as a factor of ethnic integration and at the same time as a fundamental differentiating sign of an ethnos is also an instrument of self-preservation of an ethnos and isolation of “own” and “alien”. Language is the most important component of ethnic identification of oralmans.
One of the factors which influence integration of ethnic migrants with poly-cultural Kazakhstan society is knowledge and proficiency in the state language. In compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan the state language of the republic is the Kazakh language, in state bodies and organizations and local self-governing organs use the Russian language on the same ground they officially use the Kazakh language. According to the latest data of the social survey of the population, 60 % of the population nowadays has proficiency in the language of titular nation. At the questionnaire poll has shown, repatriates suffer some difficulties due to the lack of proficiency in the Russian language, and this circumstance made it even more difficult for repatriate Kazakhs from abroad to get adapted.
Repatriates who have come from far abroad, particularly from China do not have any proficiency in modern written Kazakh which is based on Cyrillic alphabet and thus they experience great difficulties when they study in institutions of higher education of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
One more important factor of the process of acculturation of oralmans in the new cultural environment: there is a step-by-step adoption of values, norms, patterns of behavior and activities in another environment. A change of social situation, changes in activities, reevaluation of values and life ideals drastically affect mentality and social wellbeing of oralmans. Well-established stereotypes, cultural and linguistic preferences of representatives of Kazakh-speaking and Russian-speaking population and ethnic Kazakhs are factors which are concerned with emergence of problems of intercultural communication which, no doubt, affect a more or less successful intercultural and interethnic interaction.
A detailed and profound study of all these problems will, in our opinion, make it possible for us to reveal ways of overcoming linguistic and psychological barriers in the process of adaptation of repatriates in the environment which is quite foreign for them.
Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Migration of Population” dating from 13 December 1997, http://www.zakon.kz/
Acculturation – the process of cultural change and adaptation as a result of intercultural contact – has recently emerged as a widely researched topic due to the prevalence of migration and the association of the acculturation process with the well-being of immigrants and ethnic minorities. The goal of the present study is to explore the acculturation-adaptation link using explicit and implicit measures of acculturation among Russian immigrant teachers and students in Israel.
Findings reported in previous studies on the acculturation-adaptation link are inconsistent. Some studies report that integration, endorsement of both the mainstream and the heritage cultural dimensions, is related to optimal adaptation, whereas others fail to replicate this finding. For example, there are studies reporting that assimilation, an acculturation strategy in which the contact with the dominant culture is valued while heritage culture maintenance is not considered important, is as adaptive as integration; the findings of some other studies imply that assimilation may be even more adaptive than integration.
The underlying assumption of the present study is that some of this inconsistency can be attributed to differences between explicit and implicit levels of an immigrant’s cultural identification. Thus, immigrants who explicitly report the same acculturation patterns may differ in their implicit, automatic response to their heritage and mainstream cultures. In the current study, therefore, both explicit and implicit measures of acculturation are used. Implicit methods of measurement have been widely used in the studies performed in the recent decades, as they may neutralize the impact of the social desirability and tap the attitudes unavailable to one’s introspection.
The hypotheses of the study are concerned with a unique contribution of the implicit acculturation to the explanation of immigrants’ adjustment. Specifically, it was suggested that implicit acculturation would explain additional variance in immigrants’ adjustment, beyond the variance explained by traditional self-report acculturation measures. In addition, it was suggested that the acculturation - adaptation link would differ for immigrants with high and low levels of implicit acculturation. Finally, it was hypothesized that the correspondence between the explicit and implicit acculturation would be related to better adjustment of immigrants than lack of such correspondence.
To test the aforementioned hypotheses, two samples were recruited. The first sample included 118 immigrant teachers, who had been working in the Israeli education system for an average of 13 years; half of them worked at regular mainstream schools, while the rest taught at schools where the majority of students were Russian speakers. The second sample of 102 immigrant students included 74 first-generation immigrant children, while the remaining 28 students were born in Israel. The student sample was used to validate the advisability of adding the implicit method of acculturation measurement in the study of the acculturation-adaptation link. In addition, the implicit and explicit domain-specific acculturation patterns among the teacher and student samples were compared, and the role of a particular school context and gender in the acculturation-adaptation link was also examined.
The explicit self-report method of acculturation measurement included two cultural dimensions – heritage and mainstream – and four modes of acculturation based on Berry’s theory – Integration, Assimilation, Separation and Marginalization. The implicit method made use of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) to measure the relative strength of immigrants’ automatic self-association with the two cultures. The two indicators of adaptation used in the present study were socio-cultural adaptation measured by the Riverside Acculturation Stress Inventory (RASI) and psychological adaptation measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II).
The explicit measurement showed that immigrant teachers hold positive attitudes towards the mainstream culture in the domains of language, values, arts, social contacts, humor and tradition, while their attitudes towards the domains of Israeli education, media and typical behavior are slightly negative. Immigrant teachers’ attitudes towards the heritage culture are positive in all domains. The median scores on the mainstream and heritage dimensions were used to generate four acculturation profiles based on Berry’s theory: Integration, Assimilation, Separation and Marginalization.
The implicit measurement showed the IAT effect among teachers: on average the immigrant teachers implicitly associate themselves more strongly with the heritage culture than with the mainstream culture.
In accordance with the hypothesis suggested in the present study, stepwise regression analysis has revealed that the implicit measure indeed accounts for additional unique variance in explaining immigrant teachers’ socio-cultural and psychological adaptation. Overall, adaptation is best predicted by positive attitudes towards the mainstream culture and by higher levels of implicit acculturation.
A closer look at the interaction of the explicit and implicit methods of acculturation measurement suggests that the exclusive reliance on explicit measurement may provide an incomplete and, perhaps, even misleading view of the relationship between acculturation and adaptation. For example, the explicit measurement seems to demonstrate that the Assimilation profile is the most adaptive, as it reports higher level of socio-cultural adaptation than the Separation and Marginalization profiles, while the Integration profile reports the same level of socio-cultural adaptation as the Separation and Marginalization profiles. However, when the implicit measure is added, the findings suggest that the Assimilation profile is advantageous mainly for those individuals who are highly acculturated also on the implicit level. In contrast, among immigrants with low levels of implicit acculturation, those with the Assimilation profile report the same level of socio-cultural adaptation as the participants with Integration or Marginalization profiles. The Separation profile appears to be the least adaptive.
In the case of immigrants’ psychological adaptation, the implicit method also provides additional accuracy in measuring the acculturation-adaptation link. The explicit measurement seems to demonstrate that there are no differences in psychological adaptation between the four acculturation profiles. However, findings obtained by means of the implicit method suggest that immigrants with the four acculturation profiles report the same level of psychological adaptation only when they are highly acculturated on the implicit level. In contrast, among immigrants with low levels of implicit acculturation, those with the Integration profile report higher psychological adaptation than the participants with the Separation and Marginalization profiles. Thus, in accordance with the suggested hypothesis, acculturation - adaptation link indeed differed for immigrants with high and low levels of implicit acculturation
Finally, findings obtained through both explicit and implicit methods seem to suggest that dissociation between immigrant teachers’ explicit and implicit cultural worlds, as a result of unauthentic rejection of one’s heritage culture, may represent an obstacle to the optimal adaptation.
The explicit measurement in the student sample yielded a very similar pattern of results to the teacher sample: immigrant students hold positive attitudes towards the mainstream culture in the domains of language and social contacts; slightly positive attitudes in the domains of values, arts, social contacts, media, humor and tradition, while their attitudes towards the domains of Israeli education and typical behavior are slightly negative. Immigrant students’ attitudes towards the heritage culture are positive in all domains. On the implicit level, immigrant students were found to implicitly associate themselves equally with both cultures.
The explicit measurement of acculturation-adaptation link in the student sample also provides the results similar to those found in the teacher sample: positive attitudes towards the mainstream culture are significantly and positively related to socio-cultural and psychological adaptation. As far as the implicit measurement of acculturation-adaptation link is concerned, higher level of implicit acculturation is related to higher psychological well-being among boys, but not among girls.
Analysis of the relationship between the four acculturation profiles, based on Berry’s theory, and the adaptation measures has also yielded similar results to those obtained from the teacher sample: the Assimilation profile reports higher level of socio-cultural adaptation than the Separation profile, while no differences in psychological adaptation between the four acculturation profiles are revealed. The implicit measurement method again provides an important insight, although different from that obtained from the teacher sample, into understanding of the acculturation-adaptation link. The IAT measure identified the group in which even a mild rejection of the mainstream culture, characteristic of Marginalization and Separation profiles, was connected to the highest level of depression and acculturation stress, respectively.
The results are discussed in terms of the unique contribution of the explicit and implicit methods of acculturation measurement to understanding the acculturation-adaptation link. Immigrant teachers’ psychological adaptation seems to depend on the interplay between the explicit and implicit cultural changes: when the change occurs on the implicit level, the explicit attitudes seem to be no longer predictive of immigrants’ well-being; when the change on the implicit level lingers, Integration is related to the highest level of well-being. The best socio-cultural adaptation of immigrants occurs when they change both their explicit and implicit attitudes. The findings among the immigrant students highlight the importance of identifying the cultural identity deficit crisis that manifests itself most vividly among those students who reject the mainstream culture explicitly and who are not implicitly anchored in either culture.
In summary, in both teacher and student samples implicit acculturation explains additional variance in immigrants’ adaptation to the new culture. The results imply that the relationship between the acculturation profiles and adaptation is different for participants with different levels of implicit acculturation. The matching findings in both samples may be interpreted as a validation of the implicit acculturation measure. Another way of the implicit measure validation used in the present study was a “known groups method”, in accordance with which children were found to implicitly acculturate faster than adults.
Thus, the present study demonstrated that the findings obtained through the implicit method of acculturation measurement introduce nontrivial corrections into the interpretation of the results obtained by means of traditional self-report acculturation measures.
Baltic States have undergone a series of occupations by neighboring countries. In case of Lithuania, for instance, it was occupied by Poland, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany in recent years, as well as the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth earlier. Lithuania has seen much contact with a number of languages spoken in the region, e.g. Polish, Russian, German, Swedish, Yiddish, among others. This type of contacts often leads to grammatical changes over a short period of time (Heine and Kuteva 2005, 2006), but the Lithuanian grammar is very conservative and it is often considered as the most archaic Indo-European languages in modern Europe (cf. Meillet 1921, 1925). One may consider that the conservatism in Lithuanian is made possible due to a language used as a social identity as found in elsewhere in the world (e.g. Arawakan languages in Amazonia, Nilo-Saharan languages in the Subs-Saharan Africa, cf. Toyota in press.). However, this may be better considered in relation to the nature of occupations in the Baltic States.
The serious enforcement of a foreign language and the ban on the use of the local language did not start until the Soviet occupation after the Second World War in the Baltic States. Language was not used as a means of social identity until then. For instance, the Polish occupation had much tolerance over the linguistic policy in Lithuania and Polish was never enforced. Thus, the presence of Russian speakers in a sense tipped the linguistic equilibrium in the Baltic States and raised an issue of social identity. However, since this event happens in the recent past, linguistic conservatism found in Lithuanian is not because of social identity, but perhaps due to the lack of dialectal contacts among Lithuanian speakers (Toyota forthcoming).
Generally speaking, Russian speakers outside of Russia do not mark their social identity through language, and this is also the case in the Baltic States. They are perhaps seen as a previous oppressor and their presence triggered awareness of language as a sign of identity among speakers of other local languages. As the case in Lithuania and other Baltic States suggest, it was under the Russian occupation that the use of language as an identity marker started. The presence of Russian speakers is an interesting case concerning the social identity in their local community.
Heine, Bernd and Tania Kuteva 2005. Language contact and grammatical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Heine, Bernd and Tania Kuteva 2006. The changing languages of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Meillet, Antoine 1921. Linguistique historique et linguistique générale. Paris: Champion.
Meillet, Antoine 1925. Traité de grammaire comparée des langues classiques. Paris: Champion.
Toyota, Junichi in press. ‘Language and identity in historical change.’ In Lopičić, Vesna and Mišić-Ilić, Biljana (eds.): Identity Issues: Literary and linguistic landscape. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Toyota, Junichi forthcoming. English grammar through time: A typological perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
“Your time to say "I want" has not come yet!” Parenting away from home.
This paper presents a collective constructionalist qualitative analysis of shifts in parental orientations in Russian-speaking families in Ireland based on parents’ and adolescents’ narratives. Parents’ aspirations and children’s responsiveness to them are shaped by numerous factors: the cultural context left behind, the new environment; demographic factors, opportunities and constraints of the receiving society to name but a few. Values are in the heart of parental orientations, but what happens in case of divergence between the imported values of the sending culture(s) and the current system of values shared in the destination culture under a general flag of value change? What becomes a priority for transmission in migrant context?
The target groups are Russian-speaking migrants from Russia and Latvia; the control group are Russian-speaking adolescents’ Irish classmates and their parents. Their narratives reveal significant differences in approaches to parenting, both between migrant Russian-speakers and non-migrant groups in the sending countries (Latvia and Russia), and migrant and local families in Ireland. Schwartz’s value dimensions are used as the base for cross-cultural comparison. Migration context appears to encourage migrant parents to prioritize Achievement values more than back at home. These values are the most easily transmitted to children than values of other dimensions, irrespective of migrant - non-migrant status of the child. On the other hand, migrant children are often empowered by their intensive integration into the new context, which results in a swap of roles when parents admire their children’s skills and achievements, and aspire to be like them (reverse transmission).
Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond Individualism/Collectivism: the New Cultural Dimensions of Values. Individualism and Collectivism: Theory, Method, and Application. U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S.-C. Choi and G. Yoon. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi, SAGE Publishing: 85-119.
In this paper, story-telling practices will be examined as a strategy of language maintenance in binational-bilingual families by adopting a language socialization perspective.
This topic is linked to my PhD project which investigates the question of language maintenance and multilingual practices in binational-bilingual families composed of a Russian and a French speaking partner living in the French speaking region of Switzerland. Considering language maintenance and language use as a dynamic process, where social representations, identity issues and daily communication practices play important roles, I chose an overall ethnographic approach which includes narrative interviews and audio/video recordings of different communicative situations, complemented by participant observation. The data analysis proceeds according to the principles of an ethnomethodologically inspired discourse analysis, attempting to capture the participants' interactionally constructed reality and their systematic use of specific communicative resources (Deppermann 2008).
During my field research, the activity of story-telling has emerged as a recurrent strategy employed by the Russian speaking parent to create a Russian language environment for the children. In this paper, I want to examine this particular practice of language maintenance more closely by adopting a language socialization perspective, considering language acquisition as being interdependent with socio-cultural socialization processes: one is socialized into and through language (Schieffelin und Ochs 1986; Ochs und Schieffelin 2008).
This approach entails asking what these story-telling activities can tell us about the transmission of the Russian language and of socio-cultural knowledge linked to it (such as values, expected behavior, social representations of language, etc.) in this specific setting of binational-bilingual families. Indeed, the choice to tell stories implies already a specific cultural concept of language and literacy (Heath 1982). Further, the story-telling events indicate what content (e.g. type of story) and what form of language the Russian speaking parent wants to transmit and how this is achieved (or not) in interaction. While the interview data show us how these story-telling activities are conceptualized and perceived by the actors in relation to language transmission, the recordings of actual story-telling events within the families (e.g. bedtime stories) and in a Russian speaking playgroup give us an insight into the interactional procedures employed.
My aim is to show how practices of language maintenance are embedded in and influenced by socio-cultural conceptions of language and literacy and how language acquisition is linked to the learning of socio-cultural knowledge – but also to the specific local setting: telling stories in Russian does not always mean telling Russian stories…
Deppermann, Arnulf. 2008. Gespräche analysieren. Eine Einführung. 4. Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
Heath, Shirley Brice. 1982. “What No Bedtime Story Means: Narrative Skills at Home and School.” Language in Society 11(01): 49-76.
Ochs, Elinor, und Bambi B. Schieffelin. 2008. “Language socialization: an historical overview.” In Encyclopedia of Language and Education, hrsg. Nancy H Hornberger und Duff. New York: Springer, p. 3-15.
Schieffelin, Bambi B., und Elinor Ochs. 1986. “Language Socialization.” Annual Review of Anthropology 15(1): 163-191.
Russian-Jewish ‘babushka’ in Israel: discourse analysis of the cultural phenomenon
For a number of Soviet-born generations the concept of a grandmother ‘babushka’ has carried strong emotional connotations. Along with literature and media that depict the babushka as an explicit cultural symbol of affinity and kindness, in scholarly literature, the role of the babushka is emphasized as an imperative, steady and vigorous social institution of childrearing (Semenova and Thompson 2003). All these characterize the Jewish babushka in particular.
The institution of the Russian-Jewish babushka is inevitably challenged in immigration in Israel. A host society suggests the alternative socio-cultural paradigms of life (Remennick 2007), however these models are absorbed to different extents by different generations of the family. While children and parents are more likely to adjust to a new environment, the babushka preserves her traditional familiar patterns of functioning within the family. Moreover, the Russian Soviet knowledge becomes her main resource in integrating in the new cultural context. Thus the interplay of change and continuity in the family performance creates a particular type of family discourse, where the babushka acquires a social role as mediator of Russian cultural knowledge to the grandchildren. More importantly, by promoting grandchildren’s identification with their Russian roots the babushka conveys crucial cultural information through both the explicit content and the discourse form.
The evidence to support this claim comes from the conversational analysis of everyday communication between the babushka and her grandchildren in Russian-Israeli immigrant families. It reveals that the dynamics of communication typifies the ‘other way round’ format of resource exchange: while the Russian cultural values are communicated by babushka, the everyday knowledge of the new host culture is, in tern, suggested by her Israeli-born grandchildren. In addition, the conversational fabric embodies linguistic testimony of how the babushka holds a position of authority that symbolically continues to survive within her grandchildren in immigration.
Remennik, Larissa. 2007. Russian Jews on three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict. Transaction Publishers.
Semenova, Victoria, and Paul Thompson. 2003. Family Models and Transgenerational Influences. Grandparents, parents and Children in Moscow and Leningrad from the Soviet to the Market Era. In: Daniel Bertaux and Anna Rotkrich (eds.) On Living Through Soviet Russia. (pp. 120-145).
The notion of mother land is rather vague especially when it comes to people who migrated from one country to another. There are different reasons that may cause migration: war, religious or ethnic conflicts, economic reasons, or repatriation to one’s (historical) mother land among others. Pontic Greeks whose provenance is Pontos, which is located in today’s north-eastern Turkey, started migrating to Georgia and/or Russia after the fall of Byzantine Empire in 1453 and this process of voluntary/forced migration continued throughout the 19th century. In the new host country Pontic Greeks built a number of villages where they compactly resided (in Tsalka, in Georgia and in the Stavropol region, located in the north Caucasus, in Russia). After the fall of the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’ and the consequent dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Pontic Greeks started moving (repatriating) to Greece and/or Cyprus.
This paper focuses on the notion of ‘mother land’ and how it is seen through the eyes of Pontic Greeks from Russia and Georgia who permanently reside in Cyprus. More specifically, an attempt is made, through questionnaires and personal/group interviews, to shed some light on what the notion of ‘mother land’ means to Pontic Greeks. The preliminary results indicate that there is no single opinion on what mother land means to Pontic Greeks. Similarly, there is no homogeneous view on which country it is. There are different factors such as ethnicity, nationality, the age factor as well as the factor of geographical origin of Pontic Greeks that may influence their choice. Is mother land where they were born or where they currently live? Is it Cyprus, Greece, Russia or Georgia? Is it one country or two simultaneously? What is the role of bilingualism (multilingualism) in this context? Where do they feel more at home? How do Pontic Greeks interpret the notion of ‘historical mother land’ and where it is for them? Are there any tendencies to move back to Russia/Georgia? These and other related questions will be addressed and discussed in the present paper.
A group of scientists conducted a research in 2008 and 2009 on the new waves of migration to Germany and Norway from the former Soviet Union after its dissolution. The purpose of this pilot project was to study the migrants’ adaptation process; its peculiarities and the background and everyday practice of Russian speaking migrants in these countries. The key question was to discover were, and if yes, why the migrants to this country were interested in maintaining their native language and culture. The research performed quantitative investigation consisting of 190 respondents in Germany and 62 in Norway, as well as qualitative in-depth interviews and studies.
The reasons for migrating to Germany and Norway were found to be significantly different. Migration to Germany was mostly ethnical, with the migrants and their family members being mainly ethnic Germans. As they were returning to their native culture, the preservation and possession of the German culture and its values in the family was one of the attributes required for migrants to receive permission to migrate to Germany. In contrast, migration to Norway was found to be mostly work migration and family reunion, primarily related to inter-cultural marriages.
When considering the results of the studies, the differences between the two countries in migrants’ intention of preserving culture (in this context Russian culture) are not as significant as initially expected. A large group of migrants are speaking Russian at home; their language of domestic communication (72.9% Germany, 61.4% Norway), while less than a quarter of the migrants are using both languages at home (Russian and German/ Norwegian, with 23.2% in Germany, and 17.5% in Norway). Many migrants frequently watch Russian TV (52.2% in Germany and 37.7% in Norway), and prefer spending their free time with their compatriots (54.9% in Germany, and 36.8% in Norway). They also participate in work related to different associations and clubs of Russian speaking migrants (regularly and when there is something interesting: 38.5% in Germany and 43.6% in Norway).
Thus, the backgrounds and justification for migrating to Germany and Norway differ significantly. However, the results indicate an almost equivalent level of intent for preserving the Russian speaking culture in ethnically very different Russian speaking migrant populations in these countries.
Kazakhstan is multicultural and multilingual territory, which is the place of residence of more than 130 ethnic nationalities. The majority of Kazakhstan citizens are bilingual. In Kazakhstan, the Kazakh language possesses an official state status, whereas the Russian language is considered the language of international communication; also, a particular attention is paid to the study of the English language, which demonstrates a wide range of opportunities for international cooperation and communication.
Code switching denotes the process of speech, sentence or speech composition during which occurs sudden spontaneous switching from one language to another language or dialect and back. Such occurrence indicates the language situation in the Republic. For deduction of the situation and conditions with the presence of which code switching occurs, we put through sociolinguistics research in the Kazakhstan North region (the choice of the region determined by the different ethnic palette that was presented in the abovementioned region). We quizzed 400 ethnic Kazakh people representatives with the dominate Kazakh language and dominate Russian language in the age of 17-30 years. In our study participated representatives of three languages: Kazakh as for native language, Russian and English.
Summarizing the data we made conclusion that majority of people try to speak Kazakh at home. Undoubtedly, such undivided opinion notes the interest of representatives to their native language, but this fact threat the language. It can call tendency that Kazakh language will become household language and will lose its function as literature and state language. From the time of liquidation the USSR 19 years passed. During the modern social-economy changes in conditions of Globalization it is important to the representatives of title ethnos not to forget and not to disregard their native language, customs or culture, and the others language and culture who has residence in Kazakhstan.
Language diversity and identities on Russian diaspora discussion forums in Finland
The aim of the paper is to introduce a new research project dealing with language diversity on Russian diaspora discussion forums in Finland. The project focuses on the ways, in which linguistic and discursive practices (e.g. different types of language choice) contribute to the negotiation of identity, culture, communality, empowerment and agency. Empirically, the project addresses e.g. following research questions. How do the linguistic characteristics of the Russian language used on diaspora discussion forums reflect the characteristics of the CMC environment (e.g. the use of Latin vs. Cyrillic script); in what ways does intralingual variation within Russian index the social and ideological heterogeneity of a particular virtual diaspora community; how and to what extent does language choice contribute to the discursive construction of identity; what is the role of language choice in various processes of inclusion and exclusion (we vs. others) and in what ways are linguistic and discursive resources used for the articulation of marginal voices and contribute to empowerment?
Theoretically, the project will make a conscious attempt to contribute to the recent critical discussion of existing conceptual frameworks for the study of language diversity and multilingual action in virtual environments. It will draw on Bakhtin’s discussion of the relation between sociolinguistic stratification of a language and socio-ideological diversity in order to account for the ways in which linguistic and discursive practises reflect the diversity of diaspora discussion forums. The project will critically examine the possibilities and limitations of Bakhtin’s conceptual vocabulary, including heteroglossia, for the description and explanation of the complex role of language diversity in social meaning-making.
The attempt to build national identity is accompanied by the development of a distinctive language paradigm and discourse that are instrumental in legitimizing the collective national identity and shaping individual self-perception. These language paradigm and discourse are developed in Russia, however, digital network and digital communication as a unique medium which dismiss borders between Russia and diaspora bring them to different countries of Russian-speakers' presence. As a result, Russian-speaking communities in different countries construct their national identity within information space and under huge influence of metropolia.
Research questions and targets:
To isolate and analyze expressive features, lexical inventories and discourses which manifest meeting points for common identity of participants of Russian digital communication.
To prove that despite the fact that Russian-speaking community is embedded in different geographical places, Russian-speakers' digital communication forms a linguistically and discursively homogeneous, transnational space. Both language and cultural capital unite participants of this communication, in and outside Russia.
To prove that discursive construction of national identity have links with collective memory, common past, inherited mentality. In particular, this paper aims to explore how memory and commemoration operate to build and shape collective identity. Some evidence of linguistic turbulence in Russian-speakers’ attempts to “come to terms” with the legacy of their past in their home-country and, at the same time, with their present and future in their host-country will be shown.
Data – digital communication of Russian-speakers in Russia and in several countries of Russian presence (australia.com, gday.au, forum.rusalberta.com, rupoint.uk, russianinaustralia.au, yaponskayajizn.getbb.ru, yaponomamajp.com).
Methodology – discourse analysis and conversational analysis.
From mid-18th century through the year of 1867 when it was turned over to the United States, Alaska was under the control of the Russian Empire. The Russian population at Alaska never exceeded 1,000 people at a time,but their economic,cultural and spiritual influence was very strong and can be observed even now.
Alaskan Russian is a remnant dialect spoken by the descendants of Russian settlers of Alaska who came there mostly as representatives of the Russian-American Company and for years were mixing with the native population of the area. In the 19th century children borne to the mixed Russian-Native American marrriages were known as "Creoles". Russians and Creoles, Orthodox Christians as they were, managed to keep their religious and cultural values for generations, which in its turn created motivations to maintain the language of their anscestors even under unfavorable conditions of the English language environment.
Alaskan Russian is spoken by the inhabitants of Ninilchik, a village in the Kenai peninsula on the coast of the Cook Inlet. A related dialect still exists in Old Harbour in the Kodiak Island; another one was previosly spoken in Russian Mission on the Yukon River, but today there is a possibility of it being extinct.
In this paper we report the results of our research on the origins,development and functioning of the Alaskan Russian dialect,analyze it against the background of the mainstream Russian language, and look into the impact of native Alaskan cultures and languages upon this dialect. The Ninilchik linguocultural situation presents a rare example of a complex interplay between three cultural and linguistic elements: Russian, Native Alaskan, and the later Anglophone American. The materials and results of this project shed light on the evolution of the current Ninilchik community.
Three countries of South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have very complicated history of mutual relations. Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a situation of ceasefire after the war happened during the period 1988-1994. Georgia has very complicated relations with Russia which effects on relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. There are large Armenian and Azerbaijani ethnic groups inside Georgian society, which also effects on the relations between these countries. Sometimes the relations in South Caucasus looks like a puzzle most of parts of which have been lost and we can’t recollect the picture of the puzzle.
But if we look at the map we will see a small village located near the borders of these three countries, called Sadakhlo. Here in this village Armenians, Azerbaijani and Georgians have found a common language in terms of common interests in trading and a common language in linguistic regard which is Russian language. But the role of Russian language is not a commonly accepted phenomenon. Georgians try not to speak Russian, even if they know the language. And this is a form of reaction toward Russia. In Armenia after the collapse of Soviet Union Russian language schools have been closed. Now there is a governmental project in Armenia to open international schools with foreign language teaching. This initiative have caused a great public resistance inside Armenian society. There are some issues regarding Russian language also in Azerbaijan. They even have changed the writing of their alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin to reduce the role of Russian culture and Russian language in their society.
Taking into account all these facts, here are three main research questions that I have tried to answer to during my study of Sadakhlo case:
- which is the role of Russian language in the process of communication among these three societies and particularly in Sadakhlo as a case?
- how does this role acknowledged by the involved parties?
- how can Russian language help to neutralize the tension in relations among these countries?
Main methods used in this study are: expert interviews and desk research. Documents included in desk research consist of diaries, memos, documental films, conducted studies, available publications. Experts included in the sampling are those who have experience to work in this area, who are familiar with the topic of the study. The main sampling approach for experts is the snowball method.
Throughout the XIX - early XX-th century Russian literary language largely functioned either as a kind of «visiting card» that represented rising «Orthodox» («Siberian», «Eurasian», «Russian») culture, or as a geopolitical instrument intended to expand of the idea of «Moscow as the Third Rome».
Since Russian language has always been a reflection of the Orthodox principles, its philosophical and theological formation remained unaccomplished, insufficiently rationalized and categorized, often hiding serious metaphysical contradictions behind the archaic Ancient Slavic lexicon. As a result, for example, the traditional opposition of Western epistemology «truth versus lie» was replaced by a questionable construction «lie» - «truth» - «Pravda». The basic values of Orthodoxy have always included a specific correlation between rational and irrational, which implied a relatively low value of rational action and rational choice. Expressing irrational character of Russian mentality, the word «Pravda» symbolized Absolute Truth, or even Super Truth – the Truth of God and of the State. The meaning of this term was often additionally substantiated by deep personal beliefs of the author who spoke Pravda to the people.
Expanding meaning of the truth, Pravda in the Russian tradition has gradually become synonymous with such fundamental notions as law, justice, vow, promise, principle etc. (For example, the legal code of ancient Russia was called "Russian Pravda".) Understood as a result of communication between man and God, the word «Pravda» referred to divine sphere, being opposite to the word truth, which applied only to material world and human sphere. (Philologist Vladimir Dal and philosopher Pavel Florensky considered that the word truth («istina» in Russian) comes from the verb "to be", from what «is» empirically and belongs to the level of physical world.)
The October Revolution (1917), which was in fact a counter-revolutionary coup, resurrected the old Orthodox messiahnism with the assistance of the new communist ideal aimed at creation of a planetary society of total social justice. The idea of Pravda received an extraordinary treatment in Soviet ideology: for example, the program of the first Soviet government declared the necessity to publish (give Pravda to the people) all the secret international agreements of Tsarist Russia (violating thus the 1815 Vienna Conventions). Also, the name Pravda was given to the main newspaper of the USSR that remained a major media source for more than 70 years. The Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin always insisted that it was necessary to say Pravda to the people because «only in this case they will open their eyes, and will start fighting against untruth».
Russian language inspired Stalin to create philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism, which had become by the middle of the twentieth century a universal ideological paradigm. It was considered as self-evident that this Pravda-philosophy contained «true» answers to all ideological problems (in sense that this Pravda answers did not require any rational verification) and was capable to accumulate all the positive and progressive ideas of universal significance.
The main tendencies of the following evolution of Russian language in the second half of the twentieth century were related to creation of the sacred symbols depicting the success of the first State of workers and peasants (such new words as «communism», «bolshevick», «subbotnick», «Ch.K.», «Ts.K.», «gensek», «sputnik», «Stalingrad», etc.) And indeed, the Soviet ideological language had an enormous impact on the live of the Soviet society. It was based on these words, but they were reduced only to spell-ideologemes whose meaning was not subjected to discussion, but only to fulfillment. This process was accompanied by simultaneous degradation of other words capable of expressing existential and personal connotations. As a result, the renewed Russian language turned into something that George Orwell called «Newspeak», the Soviet «Novoyaz». The word «freedom», for example, has been gradually deprived of its civil, creative and political dimensions.
The term «Newspeak-Novoyaz» can be defined as a language, which is fully constructed by totalitarian society and is intended to determine behavior, emotions and thoughts of individuals. Like in any totalitarian society, the Soviet «Newspeak» aimed to modify Russian language in such a way that completely blocked the possibility to think independently. At the same time it was supposed to provide people with the signs and symbols, which allowed understanding social environment in a politically and ideologically «correct» way. The Newspeak problems were deeply analyzed by the French philosopher Lyotard, who created a list of «monstrous» linguistic forms of the twentieth century using the materials of French left-wing press. The list includes various euphemisms and idioms and other linguistic forms from political dictionary of the twentieth century such as: «Worker-Stakhanovets», «Director of the Proletarian Enterprise», «Red Marshal», «Left-wing Nuclear Bomb», «Communist Labor Camp» «Socialist Realism», «Comintern», etc.
Both normal and pathological behavior of individuals in totalitarian societies of Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union was mostly determined by dominating structures of language. For example, among Soviet intellectuals this caused the phenomenon of so-called «inner editor (censor)», which was often mentioned by the writer Konstantin Simonov. He confessed about his failure to write the truth about the real conditions of society even during the period of relative freedom under Khrushchev's rule.
The collapse of the USSR and failure of the expansionist communist program resulted in the overthrow of the Russian language: the status of the revolutionary instrument was lost and replaced by the position of the language of ethnic minorities (especially in the newly independent states of former USSR) and of ideological minorities within Russia itself. In the USSR the main body of the texts that incorporated totalitarian idea was usually written in Russian, and then translated into other languages. This made Russian culturally and philosophically the most advanced language among the other languages of the USSR, but at the same time turned it into the object of criticism and ideological deconstructions.
Today the imperialistic and patriotic language in Russia is only supported by political outsiders, who look like Orthodox inhabitants of the cultural reservations.
The fate of Russian language, which is undergoing a very complex transformation in order to get rid of stereotypes and cliche of Soviet Newspeak, clearly demonstrates contradictions that accompany transition from this Newspeak to the cultural (mainly English-language) standards of global society.
Today Russian language is getting rid of many old Soviet linguistic forms like «INION», «TSNIIMESH» (abbreviations of industrial enterprises and scientific institutions), «Arzamas-16» (the secret city, which was not marked on the map) – from those elements, which were created by a completely impersonal and antihuman language generator of immoral totalitarian power.
At the same time Russian language quickly absorbs the words which are alien for the majority of Russian-speaking population. Such new words as «broker», «killer», «consulting», «audit» only represent interests of small professional groups and are not related to everyday activities of the most people.
The growing difference between criminal and parasitic in its essence political elite and poor mass, which has become typical for post-Soviet societies, increases the cultural and linguistic gap between social groups.
New rich classes, trying to form their personal private identity, not only follow specific lifestyle, forms of consumption and leisure, but also invent a new language – «tusovki» (parties), «boutiques» etc.
However, global collapse of the Communist ideology in linguistic sphere did not destroy the local versions of Newspeak. In the former USSR states we still can observe external manipulation aimed to create new words and determine their meanings by means of governing political institutions and without linguistic and logical resources. Globalization also begins to act as a source of Newspeak discourse, and its negative impact can only be stopped by adaptation of its linguistic forms to organic and natural social order.
Russian Language, Irish state; Irish language, Russian state?
This paper proceeds amidst various conceptions applicable to Russian in Ireland. It departs from a premise that Russian is not simply one language, but variously figures as a world language, the language of Soviet times passed and the federal language of Russia today. But Russian is also 'abroad' as an official language in several other countries and a minority language in many more, not to mention its place in the repertoire of non-native speakers. At the last, in Ireland, and on the scale of communities dispersed throughout the world, Russian is essentially local.
On a conception of language indebted to Mikhail Bakhtin's trans-linguistics, this paper moves to recognise Russian plurally, across a range of institutional and ideological centres, from within an Irish locale. The paper focuses on responses to the Our Languagesresearch project, which invited participation from the population of people in Ireland who speak and understand Russian. The record of their responses serves to illustrate key Bakthinian concepts. Taken as a single body, the data capture the reality of multivocality in a given language. Although voices do not sound in unison, certain choral themes do lend coherence to a composite impression of Russian in Ireland. These moments of cohesion represent the centripetal tendencies which give force to ideals of unitary language. As regards the centrifugal forces that Bakhtin would say necessarily accompany and counteract the centripetal, the range of variety across responses demonstrates how different perspectives on a single language challenge unitary conceptualisation.
Russian in Ireland is a language of concrete local value, even as it retains symbolic significance as Russia’s, Russians’ and a world language. From a local perspective, setting Russian in the context of increasing multilingualism in Ireland, perhaps the most sensible approach, albeit a challenging one, should see Russian as – if not simply, nonetheless, actually - one among many Irish languages.
Last updated 8 March 2012 .