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The Native Language and Language of Everyday Usage: Which should Language Policy be Guided by?

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 17-03-2011
The article analyzes the importance of language identity and practice as factors affecting people’s preferences with regard to the language situation in society and language policy of the state. In Ukraine, from which empirical data are drawn, this issue has lately acquired political relevance as the ruling coalition has submitted a draft language law which introduces the main language of everyday usage as a criterion of the linguistic composition of administrative units and, accordingly, statuses of languages on their territories. The regression analysis of the survey data on different aspects of the language situation and the language policy shows that in most cases the native language has a stronger impact on language-related attitudes and policy preferences than everyday language which, therefore, should not be used as its substitute for the purpose of the language policy. This finding is arguably applicable to other societies with a large-scale discrepancy between language practice and identity.
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