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Academic Paper

Title: Russian in Latvia: An outlook for bilingualism in a post-Soviet transitional society
Paper URL:
Author: Gatis Dilāns
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ventspils University College
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: Russian
Abstract: What makes people, in shifting power positions of a post-independence period, plan on disusing an already known L2 or learn a new L2? What are the reasons for such shifts and what outcomes can, therefore, be predicted for the future of societal bilingualism surviving alongside ongoing efforts at monolingual unification in a newly independent nationstate? In my paper, I examine Russian in Latvia, and also societal bilingualism in the country in terms of L1/L2 users, language-minority education, competitiveness and language policy, couched in a discussion of various theoretical perspectives on language and nationalism. The Baltic republic, which re-established its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has retained a legacy of not only a substantial proportion of the Russian-speaking population who are now learning Latvian as their L2, but also even a slightly greater number of Russian-speaking non-Russians (i.e. Latvians and other ethnic minorities) who had an obligation to acquire and use Russian as their L2 during the Soviet era.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Volume 12, Issue 1 January 2009 , pages 1 - 13

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