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Differences in Sustainability of Buryat in Russia and Sami in Sweden

Differences in Sustainability of Buryat in Russia and Sami in Sweden

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Differences in Sustainability of Buryat in Russia and Sami in Sweden

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  1. SARAH MILEWSKI Differences in Sustainability of Buryat in Russia and Sami in Sweden

  2. Outline • Buryat • Support • Predictions • Actual Conditions • Sami • Support • Predictions • Actual Conditions

  3. Introduction to Buryat • Altaic, Mongolian language family • 3 individual languages • Mongolia Buryat • China Buryat • Russia Buryat (Siberia) • Buryat Republic is a subject of the Russian Federation • Siberia, around Lake Baikal • Majority is Russian, about 25% Buryat • Ethnic Population 422,000 (1990)

  4. Under the Soviet Union • Policies favoring assimilation • More books on Russian • Education in Russian • 1959: 5.9% of population had forsaken Buryat • After the fall of the USSR, there was insufficient emphasis on reinstating Buryat language

  5. Legal Support for Buryat • Law on the ‘Languages of the Peoples in the Buryat Republic’ passed in 1992 • Russian and Buryat = state languages But there is inadequate support from Russia and from Buryat people themselves. • “In general, the native language has for Buryats a rather symbolic, unifying value and its abandoning does not affect the ethnic identity itself.” - Erzhen Khilkhanova ‌and Dorji Khilkhanov (Eastern-Siberian State Academy of Culture and Arts)

  6. Predictions • Laws to make a language a state language are helpful but not the only factor in the sustainability • Education • Social prestige • History • Psychology • Economy

  7. Actual Conditions • Russian is the majority language • Population of Russians holds the majority • Russian is language of business, legal matters and economic trade • Russian is the contact language • Inter-marriage • 72% Ethnic Buryat speak Russian as secondary language • Buddhism

  8. Ethnic awareness National culture centers More education Buryat language classes, introduced in municipal schools Literary Language development Tied to religion, Buddhism More Russians are migrating out of the Rep. of Buryatia as of 2000 Progress

  9. Language Evolution • Problems • Materials (media, educational) insufficient • No TV • Inadequate textbooks • Secondary and university in Russian • No common literary language • Not used in economics/politicals • But if not essential, it might be time for the language to die out -

  10. Basics of Sami • North Scandinavian peninsula (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia) • Total of 50,000 to 80,000 people • Finno-Ugric language family • 10 languages • 30,000 speakers total • Most have less than 500 • Necessary to culture and way of life • Sweden: By law, only Sami people can be reindeer herders

  11. General Goals for Sami within the EU • Focus on economic and social unity between its members with respect of ethnic differences • Sami Parliament works with Swedish government, within the EU to try to “increase growth in cultural and economic sectors” • Sami Parliament – ultimate goal is self-sustaining community

  12. More Policies within the EU • Sweden: April 2000, Sami have right to use language within government and courts • Sami Parliament claims that Sami does have a rich history in oral storytelling but also claims that it is “a modern language in the computer age”. • Objective 1 and Interreg III A are two “programmes” that focus on structural funds to aid cultural awareness

  13. Predictions • Sami is well recognized enough that the sustainability of the language is good • The Sami Parliament is tackling problems from the right angles • Emphasis on economic growth • Focus on Education and resources • Socially acceptable

  14. Major FOCUS on Education • Nomadic school reform: “hut schools” then in 1940s parents had protested about school conditions and more boarding schools • As of 1980, Sami School and Sami School Board • Sami Library in Jokkmokk (1988) receives state funding from Sweden

  15. Comparison • Sami language is perceived as being integral to the people and their way of life. • Economically supported in Sweden • Education is one of the main points of focus • Buryat language is not as closely intertwined to the day to day activities of the people. Chances are Sami will have a better chance of surviving unless their way of living is threatened.

  16. Bibliography • Alexandrovna, Dyrkheeva Galina. “Factors in National-language Development: The Buryat Example” • Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. • Khilkhanova, Erzhen , and Dorji Khilkhanov. "Language and Ethnic Identity of Minorities in Post-Soviet Russia: The Buryat Case Study, Abstract." Journal of Language, Identity & Education Vol. 3(2004): 85-100. • Lewis E. Glyn. “Migration and languages in the USSR”. International Migration Review. 1971. • Samitinget – In English. The Website of the Sami Parliament. Accessed on Nov. 28, 2006. • Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. <>