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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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Part I Minorities in the Russian Federation


Ekaterina Gruzdeva Treasure Island at the turn of the millennium: The socioeconomic and sociolinguistic situation on Sakhalin, Russia 1 Sakhalin’s indigenous peoples and languages Since the Stone Age, Sakhalin has been inhabited by several indigenous tribes� Starting from the 19th century, their number, composition and location have been repeatedly changing due to disputes and war conflicts between Russia and Japan and as a result of ethnic and regional policies pursued by the governments of these countries� Currently, the Sakhalin Region comprises seven municipal districts that are of- ficially recognised as places of traditional residence and economic activities of four indigenous peoples, i�e� the Nivkh, the Uilta, the Evenki and the Nanai� According to gradation proposed by UNESCO (Moseley 2010), all languages spoken by these ethnic groups are either severely or critically endangered� Other classifications list them as moribund or heavily endangered (Kibrik 1991; Vakhtin 2001)� The size of indigenous population in 2014 was 4,021, i�e� less than one per cent of the total population of the island, see Table 1 (cf� Figure 1 for locations)� Table 1: Sakhalin indigenous population (2014)1 Regions (from north to south) Nivkh Uilta Evenki Nanai Other Total Okha region 1,346 9 79 7 14 1,455 Nogliki region 856 155 103 8 1,122 Tymovsk region (village of Chir-Unvd) 269 — 6 9 9 293 Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskii region (villages of Khoe and Viakhtu) 101 — 58 — — 159 Smirnykhov region (village of Buyukly) 9 14 4 22 12 61 Poronaisk region 231 217 39...

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