Space for all? European perspectives on minority languages and identity
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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This paper is based on ethnographic research conducted in Tatarstan between 1997 and 2000, during the process of ethno-national rebirth, when promotion of the Tatar language emerged as a key element of government policy. At this time, the linguistic landscape in Tatarstan was characterized by four distinct features which, far from being complementary, existed in a state of mutual tension: (1) a monolinguistic heritage, due to the historical dominance of Russian; (2) a claimed ‘bilingualism’ following the declaration of Tatarstan’s sovereignty; (3) the ethno-linguistic revival of Tatar, evident in some institutional contexts; and (4) the global monolinguistic hegemony of English in scientific and technological discourse, which made proficiency in English essential. Taking this complex background into account, this article analyzes the different attitudes to the Tatar language shown by pupils and teachers in Tatar and non-Tatar gymnásias (specialist secondary schools) in the capital city of Kazan.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): bilingualism; identities; Russian language; schools; Tatar language; Tatarstan
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