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Title: Vepsian language : speaking and writing heritage language in villages and cities
Author: Siragusa, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 5443
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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This dissertation presents Vepsian language revival as a case study for language revival movements. The Vepsian language is classified as seriously endangered by UNESCO and it is spoken by Veps, a Finno-Ugric minority in north western Russia. The discussion on literacy-orality interaction in rural and urban areas lies at the core of the dissertation. Since the beginning of the revival movement, activists have privileged literacy over orality in the promotion of Vepsian. Literacy became an emblem of political action as a way to promote the Vepsian language within a multi-ethnic society. The present ethnographic study aims to bring to the surface aspects of the Vepsian language which have not reached mainstream Vepsian revitalization. It shows Vepsian language ecology more comprehensively. In this dissertation, the phrase language ecology matches contemporary ideas of interaction and socialization with the world. The scope of the dissertation builds upon the work by Blommaert (2005) and Bourdieu (1992) in giving voice to the marginalised. It presents sets of language practices and their social symbolism which have been partially included in the revival of Vepsian. I refer to the oral practices of the Vepsian speech communities in rural areas of the Vepsän ma (V. ‘Vepsian land’) as opposed to the use of Vepsian literacy in the cities, especially Petrozavodsk. The present inquiry of the Vepsian revival movement provides the foundation for a theoretical discussion on the literacy and orality dualism. Not only has this dualism stressed the political importance of literacy in a post-Soviet context, it has also given space to the Vepsian oral mode and its social relevance. By drawing these two traditions together, the oral and the written, the thesis matches Vepsian traditional ontologies, the Vepsian sebr (V. ‘community’) whose unity had been affected by Soviet and contemporary political measures, language and social ideologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen ; Carnegie Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Veps language ; Heritage language speakers