Functional Features of Languages in Ethnofederations: a Comparative Analysis

Functional Features of Languages in Ethnofederations:
a Comparative Analysis

Farukshin M.Kh.

Dr. Sci. (Phil.), Consulting prof., Kazan (Volga region) Federal University, Kazan, Russia

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For citation:

Farukshin M.Kh. Functional Features of Languages in Ethnofederations: a Comparative Analysis. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 5. P. 59-69


The main thesis in this article is that, along with general functions that languages perform in any unitary or federal state, languages in ethnic federations also perform specific functions determined by the organization and composition of these federations and expressed differently in multinational ethnic federations and in ethnic federations without a national state language, in socalled bi-ethnic federations and federations with three and four regional official languages. The article highlights four specific functions of languages in ethnic federations. Firstly, the ethno-linguistic principle serves as a criterion for the formation of ethnic federation subjects, thus making languages a factor in the territorial division of the latter. Secondly, the languages of ethnic federations are characterized by geographically limited nature of their action creating more obstacles to the mobility of the population and, also, to the formation of a common civil identity. Thirdly, in ethnic federations, knowledge of the official languages of their subjects is often a legally binding or default requirement in staffing government bodies and electing (appointing) officials. Fourth, taking into account the ratio of official languages – national and regional in multinational ethnic federations, as well as the ratio of regional languages of ethnic groups among themselves, – the problem of possible bilingualism emerges.

language; mother language; official language; dominant language; language of ethnic groups; ethnic federation; bilingualism monolingualism; national and regional identity


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Content No 5, 2023