Education in Udmurt and Chuvash as minority languages of Russia

Ekaterina Protassova, Hèctor Alòs i Font, Ekaterina Bulatova


The languages of Russia are a valuable resource of knowledge about the life of the indigenous peoples and a challenge for all the specialists in linguistic typology. As is widely known, they are undergoing the process of loss, mainly because the quantity of speakers diminishes and the quality of their speech deteriorates. The article discusses the situation of Udmurt and Chuvash in education on the basis of legal texts, statistical data, interviews to parents, teachers and school officials and schoolchildren pooling. Although Udmurt and Chuvash are being taught as a subject in many schools where the language of instruction is Russian, the results are not satisfying. This problem, being psychological in its nature, lies in attitudes prevalent in society and in the schools. The minority languages are practiced in a small number of situations, and a small number of students really care about elaboration of their own ways of belonging, because they experience that the native language is not prestigious. At the same time, to use some words and to know some traditions is respectful, especially when someone visits abroad and is welcomed much better as a representative of a minority than as a Russian. Although bilingualism among the citizens of Russia is quite common, it was studied poorly. A ‘new generation’ of didactic materials is needed.

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DOI: 10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v5-i2-123