The Language Ideology of Russia and South Korea (Attitudes to the Languages of Migrants in Public Discourse)

The Language Ideology of Russia and South Korea (Attitudes to the Languages of Migrants in Public Discourse)

Nam Hye Hyun

Ph.D. (Filol.), Prof., Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Fedorova K.S.

PhD (Filol.), Prof., Tallinn University, Estonia

ID of the Article: 9212

This work was supported by the Yonsei University. Research Grant of 2020 (2020-22-0364).

For citation:

Nam Hye Hyun, Fedorova K.S. The Language Ideology of Russia and South Korea (Attitudes to the Languages of Migrants in Public Discourse). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 7. P. 129-141


The article addresses issues of language ideology in Russia and South Korea; it focuses on public metadiscourses – attitudes to the languages of migrants expressed in Internet comments and on social networks. A comparison of two dissimilar societies, Russian and Korean, is of interest because, despite all the differences in social organization and ethnic composition, both societies are oriented towards a monolingual language model. At the same time, both countries have experienced a sharp increase in migration in recent decades, contributing to the growth of ethnic and linguistic diversity. Our data analysis reveals that public discourses of both countries are indeed dominated by normative monolingualism and purism. Most of the Russian-speaking population expresses a negative attitude towards the migrants’ languages and their lack of fluency in Russian; similar emotions are found in the Korean data. In addition, it is interesting that among the most frequent words in the Russian-language comments are lexemes related to the semantic field of obligation and education, while in the Korean data, lexemes referring to social problems and specific countries are found. Sentiment analysis also supports the conclusion about an overall negative tonality of the data. However, the language practice in both countries is gradually transforming: linguistic landscapes have become more diverse, and there are public discussions on multilingualism. One may assume that in the future, monolingualism and purism will be seriously challenged by such trends.

language ideology; monolinguism; purism; migration; language attitudes; ethnosociology; sociolinguistics


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