Multilingualism in Ukraine: Challenges and perspectives for minority languages

Svitlana Melnyk

Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine

WS127: Multilingualism in post-Soviet countries

Multilingualism in Ukraine: challenges and perspectives for minority languages

The sociolinguistic situation in Ukraine is unique and controversial. Ukraine de jure is monolingual with Ukrainian as a sole state language in the country. De facto Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism is the main feature of this post-Soviet state. These two languages try to occupy a niche of their own in different domains of social life. In that sociolinguistic reality, the linguistic peculiarities and linguistic problems of minority languages have been overshadowed. According to the national census (2001) representatives of 130 nationalities live in the state. Moreover, Ukraine is a homeland for four indigenous ethnos and their languages (Crimean Tatars, Gagauz, Karaim, and Crymchak).

The paper considers the linguistic situation, challenges and perspectives for the minority languages in the broad context of the state language politics. Also, it concentrates on the issues of majority-minority relations within particular local linguistic models. The peculiarity of Ukrainian sociolinguistic situation is that in some regions of the country Ukrainian is a minority language.

Session: Workshop (part 1)
Multilingualism in post-Soviet countries
Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 17