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The Russian Language Outside the NationSpeakers and Identities$
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Lara Ryazanova-Clarke

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748668458

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668458.001.0001

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The Russian Language in Belarus

The Russian Language in Belarus

Language Use, Speaker Identities and Metalinguistic Discourse

(p.81) Chapter 3 The Russian Language in Belarus
The Russian Language Outside the Nation

Curt Woolhiser

Edinburgh University Press

Belarus is regarded as the most ‘Russified’ of the former Soviet republics, however the majority of Belarusians do not self-identify as Russians. The chapter explores the interface between actual language use, language attitudes and national identity. In order to identify the recurring patterns of identity construction in Belarus examined the data from both Belarusian linguistic demographics and the metalinguistic discourses of various linguistic actors. It is argued that Belarus presents a post-Soviet paradox: uniquely it displays a weak link between national identification and the use of the titular language. However the linguistic ideologies, especially the ‘one nation -- one language’ belief, are responsible for producing a complex linguistic subjectivity as for keeping the status of Russian as a national language of Belarus contested.

Keywords:   Russian, Belarus, linguistic attitudes, metalinguistic discourse, Belarusian, identity

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