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The ethno-linguistic behavior of Kazan’s young residents (based on materials from half-formalized interviews)

Guzel I. Makarova, Doctor of Sociology associate of other organizaiton, , doctor of sociological sciences, leading research fellow, Shigabuddin Marjani Institute of History of Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan. Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.
mailto: makarova
The ethno-linguistic behavior of Kazan’s young residents (based on materials from half-formalized interviews).
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2017. Vol. 8. No. 3. P. 32-52

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2017.22.3.467

This Article is downloaded: 140 times
Topic: The Theme of the Issue: Grounds of identity

For citation:
Guzel I. Makarova. The ethno-linguistic behavior of Kazan’s young residents (based on materials from half-formalized interviews). Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2017. Vol. 8. No. 3. P. 32-52
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2017.22.3.467


This article examines how the change in the Tatar language’s status (which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union), together with the introduction of its mandatory study in the republic’s schools, effects the ethno-linguistic behavior of youths living in Kazan. It is based on texts from 20 half-formalized interviews (with biographical elements) with Tatars and Russians aged 18-29. Three groups were selected among those interviewed, based on their attitude towards the Tatar language, which can be nominally designated as such: “oriented towards the language”, “moderately oriented” and “nihilists”. The conducted analysis shows that Russian has been and still remains the dominant language in Tatarstan’s capitol when communicating at work. The exception being people whose professional activity is directly connected with Tatarstan’s language and culture. In a number of fields – for example, politics, civil service – the Tatar language remains important as a symbolic resource. It is used fragmentarily in fields having to do with working with the population, especially when it comes to visiting rural areas of the republic. Those specialists who work in the technical fields (especially IT) are the ones who use it the least. Kazan youths also tend to use the Russian language for informal communication. However, those who moved from Tatarstan’s villages and are studying at urban Tatar schools and gymnasiums use the Tatar language as well as Russian. Other members of the younger generation (both Tatars and Russians) usually tend to limit themselves to using individual phrases and expressions. Meanwhile Tatars often use their native language at home. Lots of people choose one tactic or another for teaching it to their children, since they see it as a means for conserving their ethnic identity. Most Russians encourage the study of the Tatar language in schools, as a display of tolerance towards their neighboring ethnos, and respect for the ethno-cultural specificity of the region that they live in.


ethno-linguistic behavior, linguistic practices, Russian language, Tatar language, youths.



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