The Belarusians in Latvia  – Contemporary Sociolinguistic situation as exemplified by the Kraslava Region Cover Image

Białorusini na Łotwie – współczesna sytuacja socjolingwistyczna na przykładzie rejonu krasławskiego
The Belarusians in Latvia – Contemporary Sociolinguistic situation as exemplified by the Kraslava Region

Author(s): Mirosław Jankowiak
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Latvia; Kraslavas Region; Belarussian ethnos; national identity; sociolinguistics.

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of the article is to present the results of the research carried out locally in 2004 and 2005 and covered the Belarusian inhabitants of three Latvian counties at the border with Belarus (Kapława, Indra and Piedruja) as well as the town of Krasław. The inquiries were performed with the biographic method that bases on the casual, informal conversations which are only slightly controlled by the researcher and referred to the sociolinguistic situation and to the national identity of the Belarusian minority. The research revealed existence of a considerable difference in the national identity of the Belarussians who lived in the area, the result being influenced by the place of the interviewer's birth and his or her earlier residence (Eastern Belarus, Western Belarus and Latvian Belarusians). The sociolinguistic situation was in turn studied with the method of domain, and pointed to the fact that different languages function in various domains of life: within the sphere of a family and the neighbourhood (Belarussian dialect and the Russian language), at work (Russian, Latvian), religion (Polish, Russian and Latvian/Latgalian), at school (Latvian and Russian) and other formal situations (Russian and Latvian). The research showed that the Belarus dialect and the Polish language in its variant from the North part of Kresy (which is known to some of the population there) give way to two other languages, namely Russian (the sphere of family and neighbourhood, formal situations, religion) and Latvian (formal situations, school, partially religion).

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 30
  • Page Range: 541-556
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Polish
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