From: Elena Lawrick <elawrickpurdue.edu>
Subject: English in Russian Academia: Uses and perceived significance
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Institution: Purdue University
Program: Linguistics Program
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011
Author: Elena Lawrick
Dissertation Title: English in Russian Academia: Uses and perceived significance
Subject Language(s): English (eng)
Rakesh Mohan Bhatt
This dissertation study provides a comprehensive account of the presence of
English in Russian academe. Taking the analysis of the environment in which
Russian academics function professionally as a point of reference, this
study sought to find out, firstly, how and to what extent English is used
among Russian academics, and, secondly, what their perceptions are
regarding the significance that producing scholarship in English has for
maintaining and/or advancing an academic career in Russia.
The study is contextualized in the sector of Russian academe that is most
strongly affected by the current global agenda of Russian political
leadership: in public research universities. The study instruments include
document examination, survey, and interviews with Russian academics. First,
the complexities of recent developments in Russian academe were analyzed.
Second, the survey of academics (n=461) across a range of disciplines was
conducted in 22 public research universities. The survey was followed with
in-depth semi-structured interviews with five academics representing such
disciplines as philosophy, sociology, medicine, business management, and
English language teaching.
The major findings suggest that, for the majority of participants, English
has become an active linguistic tool much needed for efficient functioning
in academe. Russian scholars use English to produce and disseminate their
scholarship, engage in international collaborative projects, teach, and
communicate with colleagues. While the use of English was found across all
contexts, the use in scholarly discourse (e.g., conference presentations,
publications, and international research-related collaboration) surpassed
the use in academic discourse (e.g., teaching and interpersonal
professional communication). Furthermore, it was found that the perception
of significance of producing scholarship in English is growing across all
disciplines, which indicates a competitive relationship between Russian and
English for functioning as a preferred linguistic medium of scholarly
production. However, the findings also suggest that while the value
attributed to scholarship written in English increases, Russian retains its
dominant position, with academics being encouraged to produce scholarship
in both languages: Russian and English. The study concludes with a
discussion of implications for further research.
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