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Title: Khanna bardyng? : where are you going? : rural-urban connections and the fluidity of communicative practices among Sakha-Russian speakers
Author: Ferguson, Jenanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 9698
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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The focus of this dissertation is the Sakha language (Sakha tyla) and ways of speaking in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District. Following Hanks’ (1996) approach to communicative practice that unites ideology, activity and formal structure, I explore the maintenance of Sakha ways of speaking among Sakha-Russian bilinguals. The past Tsarist and Soviet regimes are analysed according to how their language policies and plans have shaped the current Sakha communicative practices in urban and rural locales. Through the analysis of discourse surrounding language ideologies and the examination of how language ideologies are reflected in, or challenged by daily communicative practices, I show how both ideologies and practices have been reinforced or transformed due to the shifting socio-political situation of the past two post-Soviet decades. Bilingual speakers also move toward, or away from, different languages, following language trajectories. Factors such as social groups, educational history and migration patterns all shape language socialization over a speaker’s lifetime, illustrating how the development of a linguistic repertoire is a dynamic process. Examining patterns of mobility among Sakha-Russian speakers, I trace how Sakha communicative practices are relocalized within urban and rural spaces; speakers’ movement between these spaces affects both the practices and shifting indexical fields attached to linguistic features. Through investigating Sakha-Russian code-switching and code-mixing, I concentrate on how speakers ‘move’ within and between languages and discuss what communicative choices may index for different interlocutors. When examining both speakers’ connections between village and city as well as the movement between Sakha and Russian ways of speaking, boundaries are blurred. Examining how ways of speaking Sakha might be conceived of as existing along a spectrum, the divisions between languages are challenged. The first chapter of this thesis provides an introduction to the Sakha language, its speakers, and the Sakha Republic, as well as an overview of the central research questions and the theory in which this work is grounded. Chapter Two presents further information on the fieldsites, while also introducing the research approach and the types of data gathered and examining the researcher’s position and ethical considerations. Chapter Three is focuses on the history of Sakha language policy and planning, and how it has shaped current communicative norms and language ideologies in urban and rural environments. Chapter Four is concerned with the changes in language policy and planning in the Republic of Sakha in the post-Soviet era (from the early 1990s until the time of research in 2010-2011). The effect of shifts in both of population and politics on both language policies and practices are described. Language ideologies that gained purchase in the post-Soviet era are described, along with the implications of these ideologies for language practices. Chapter Five presents an approach to understanding mobility and movement and its relationship to Sakha communicative practices, examining how relationships based on zemliachestvo (the sense of being compatriots, people of one land) support village people in the city while also playing a crucial role in maintaining Sakha language practices. New spaces and fields for Sakha communicative practices are also mentioned, in particular mobile telephony and the internet. In Chapter Six, issues of Sakha language acquisition and socialization are discussed, as speakers move toward or away from the Sakha language throughout their lifetimes. Factors, in particular interpersonal relationships, are described in terms of how they shape language socialization; both ideological and infrastructural factors connected to language acquisition are investigated in order to ascertain the difficulties new learners of the Sakha language might face. Chapter Seven is an in-depth look at Sakha-Russian language contact and the code-mixing and code-switching practices that occur among bilinguals, focusing on what mixing language ‘features’ can index for village-identifying and city-identifying speakers. Finally, Chapter Eight concludes the dissertation by revisiting its main themes, as well as identifying gaps that arose during this research in order to identify areas for further exploration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropological linguistics ; Ethnology