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Sociolinguistic Transition in Former Eastern Bloc Countries

Two Decades after the Regime Change


Edited By Marián Sloboda, Petteri Laihonen and Anastassia Zabrodskaja

This volume offers empirical perspectives on the current sociolinguistic situations in former Eastern Bloc countries. Its seventeen chapters analyse phenomena such as language choice, hierarchies and ideologies in multilingualism, language policies, minority languages in new legal, educational, business and migratory contexts, as well as the position of English in the region. The authors use various methodological approaches – including surveys, discourse analyses, descriptions and analyses of linguistic landscapes, and ethnography – in order to deal with sociolinguistic issues in eight countries and seven regions, from Brandenburg, Germany, in the West to Sakhalin, Russia, in the East.

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István Csernicskó & Viktória Ferenc - Transitions in the language policy of Ukraine (1989–2014)


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István Csernicskó & Viktória Ferenc

Transitions in the language policy of Ukraine (1989–2014)

1 Introduction

At the time of writing this article, ethnic relations and language policy (LP) in Ukraine were at the focus of national and international attention, due to the ongoing military conflict between Ukraine and Russia and its ethnic/linguistic roots.

As far as LP is concerned, today we are right in the middle of a new wave of transition in Ukraine. Since the political takeover in 2014, the present language law (LL 2012) has become a target associated with the previous Russophile political regime, and consequently its days are numbered. However, this is not the first wave of changes since the country gained its independence: within the past 25 years we can differentiate at least four main periods in LP, which oftentimes have maintained totally contradicting directions, reflecting the complex linguistic situation and its fragile balance in Ukraine.

At the beginning of a new era of LP, this paper offers an overview of the main activities in this field between 1989–2014. We present an analytical study of the legal framework of language use in Ukraine, by analysing language laws and regulations, as well as relevant international and public declarations of leading Ukrainian politicians. In addition, regarding the latest period of language legislation (from 2010 up to the present), we try to reflect on the practical implementation of LL 2012, through...

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