The Policy of Monolingualism and Multilingualism in Latvia and Kazakhstan
Keywords:language policy; Latvia; Kazakhstan; monolingualism; multilingualism; comparative analysis
This article examines the evolution of language policy in Latvia and Kazakhstan, former republics of the Soviet Union. An analysis of the historical roots and development in the language policies of the two post-Soviet countries makes it possible to identify similarities and differences and advantages and disadvantages in the implementation processes. This article represents complex interdisciplinary research in the fields of linguistics, sociology, education, history, political science, and ethnology. The study is relevant as it considers the little-studied issue of language policy in former USSR republics and countries of the socialist camp. The research takes into account the fact that all countries are aware of the status of cultural soft power in the conditions of ongoing globalisation and a wave of ethnic nationalism where language is increasingly valued as a carrier of national culture. The entire global community, including Latvia and Kazakhstan, constantly adjusts and improves language policy in order to fulfill strategic goals. Latvia and Kazakhstan have similar historical memories and language situations, but they are carrying out different language policies. The government of Latvia has implemented a policy of monolingualism, while Kazakhstan has stuck to a bilingualism policy (although it is also attempting to realise a policy of trilingualism). The authors conclude that monolingualism fundamentally serves politics and occupies a weak position. In an era of globalisation, it is extremely difficult to establish a system of monolingualism in its strict sense; ultimately, it will be replaced by multilingualism.
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