BILINGUALISM IN UKRAINE: VALUE OR A CHALLENGE?

István Csernicskó, Réka Máté

Abstract


Several analyses have summarized the linguistic situation of Ukraine, highlighting various aspects of the problematic issues of Ukraine’s language policy. The fundamental problems of the linguistic situation in Ukraine are the lack of consensus regarding the issue of what role the Ukrainian language has in constructing the new post-Soviet identity and in nation building, what status the Russian language should be given in Ukraine. According to the data from the 2001 census, 80% of the adult population of Ukraine speak (at least) one other language fluently in addition to their mother tongue. In the country it is clear that the reality in most of Ukraine is of bilingualism. Almost everyone in Ukraine is bilingual; to varying degrees, a fundamental characteristic of the language situation in Ukraine is bilingualism of society. In spite of this, due to negative historical experiences, bilingualism is stigmatized in Ukraine, and that makes codification of bilingualism impossible on the state level. The paper shows the attitude of the political elite that took power after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych towards the issue of bilingualism. We present how the linguists and representatives of the intellectuals comment on the bilingualism in Ukraine. The primordial, national romantic view that makes the Ukrainian language and the (free and independent) Ukrainian nation the same nowadays strongly dominates in Ukraine.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/sm-2017-0001


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Keywords


Ukraine; Ukrainian language; Russian language; language policy; language rights

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Barcode: 9772335201001
Print copy: ISSN 2335-2019
Online copy: ISSN 2335-2027