LINGUIST List 6.1087

Sat Aug 12 1995

Disc: Eng only (bilingualism), Re: 1078

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Valeri Vassiliev, Re: 6.1078, Re: 1053, English only (bilingualism)

Message 1: Re: 6.1078, Re: 1053, English only (bilingualism)

Date: Sat, 12 Aug 1995 12:13:51 Re: 6.1078, Re: 1053, English only (bilingualism)
From: Valeri Vassiliev <>
Subject: Re: 6.1078, Re: 1053, English only (bilingualism)

 I am writing to ask Alexis Manaster Ramer a simple question concerning
the universality of certain phenomena: how come about a hundred languages
are spoken in present-day Russia despite the attempts to russify everyone?
 This linguist seems to be very active, yet unfortunately he tends to
generalize the information he is aware of, judging by his contribution to
the discussion on he/she pronouns and his remarks concerning Russian
linguistic policies.
 I would like to tell him of a common example concerning various
ethnicities in Russia: in 1553 Czar Ivan the Dreadful incorporated the
Mari, Mordvin (Finnic), Chuvash and Tatars (Turkic) nationalities into his
state.Nowadays these peoples live in the very heart of Russia on the middle
Volga, and, apparently, enjoy their culture and languages. They have also
contributed to the culture and language of the dominant nation.
 The infamous Cossacks (farmers living on the borders of the state and
ready to resort to arms to protect them, a sort of Michigan militia) have
preserved their language while acquiring a lot of culture from, say,
mountaineers of the Caucausus. Yet they did not assimilate those peoples
who still speak their languages.
 To draw parallels between nostratic universal processes and the
language policies of Russia might hardly be considered an appropriate
example. It would rather be the opposite of the desired.
 Valeri Vassiliev
 St. John's
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