Objective and subjective data on Altai and Kazakh ethnolinguistic vitality in the Russian Federation Republic of Altai

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    Abstract

    This study deals with the ethnolinguistic vitality of Altai and Kazakh as compared to Russian in the Russian Federation Republic of Altai. Data were gathered by document analysis, interviews with experts and by conducting a subjective ethnolinguistic vitality questionnaire. The data showed that Altai and Kazakh, as a consequence of a long-lasting Russification process, have become endangered languages in Altai. The dominance of Russian is ubiquitous and hardly hampered by a growing consciousness of ethnolinguistic identity and a number of language revitalisation activities. The ethnolinguistic vitality questionnaire corroborated the weak position of Kazakh as compared to Russian. For most of the indicators of ethnolinguistic vitality Kazakh informants reported significantly higher vitalities for the Russian out-group. Also a comparison at group level yielded a significant difference in favour of Russian. The Kazakh language in Altai can be considered a threatened language that will be more and more limited to the domestic domain and to speakers of the older generation. With respect to Altai a number of indicators of ethnolinguistic vitality showed higher vitalities for the Altai in-group. A comparison at group level did not show significant differences between Altai and Russian. This shows that the vitality of Altai in spite of the dominance of Russian is high and opens up possibilities for further growth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-258
    JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
    Volume27
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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