Хилханова Э. В.
VITALITY AND PROSPECTS OF MINORITY LANGUAGES: EVALUATIVE AND PREDICTIVE THEORIES AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Khilkhanova E. V.
The article briefly discusses the theories and criteria for assessing the vitality and prospects of minority languages, common features of these theories and difficulties in predicting the future of a particular minority language taking the example of revitalization of the Sami languages in Finland and Norway and the aboriginal languages of Australia. Further, the author dwells on the Russian Federation and, in view of the wide variability of multilingual situations in Russia, analyzes in more detail the situation in one of the national regions of Russia – the Republic of Buryatia – as an example of a national region where a minority language has the legal status of the state language on the republican level. The author emphasizes that despite being well-studied from an academic point of view, the Buryat language continues to withdraw from the realms of real use. The main argument of the author is that in such regions the revitalization of the language requires measures to change the public consciousness, increase the visibility and prestige of minority languages, create positive associations related to them. In conclusion, the article describes grassroots projects and initiatives that satisfy the above-mentioned goals and are selected by the criterion of the degree of public response, the breadth of distribution and influence on people’s emotions. Analysis of such initiatives shows that they are, firstly, initiated by the youth, and secondly, related to digital technologies. This suggests that new technologies are becoming a powerful tool for the preservation and promotion of minority languages, and the appeal of young people to their native language in search for their identity in the globalized world gives a new chance to minority languages.