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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: September 2009

11 - Sociolinguistic issues

Summary

The sociolinguistics of the Slavic languages

With the exception of language standardization and regional variants (chapter 10), the sociolinguistics of the Slavic languages has been under-researched. Much remains to be done in the area of sociolects, for instance, except in so far as they overlap with questions of the national language, language planning, language in education, corpus planning and what the Russians call kul′túra réči – the ‘culture of (good) speech’. Raskin (1978) regarded this deficiency under Communism as mainly ideological: a classless society is difficult to reconcile with sociolectal variation, and attempts to work out a genuinely Marxist–Leninist philosophy of language have so far failed to solve this question – though investigations like the Soviet Russian Russkij jazyk i sovetskoe obščestvo (Panov, 1968; Krysin, 1974; 11.3.1) provided a strong empirical platform for socially correlated studies of language variation. The after-effects of these problems of ideology and scholarship help to explain the uneven state of sociolinguistics in the modern Slavic languages (Brang, Züllig and Brang, 1981). Since the decline of Communism this field has become a major growth area of research (Cooper, 1989) in fields like colloquial language (Patton, 1988), political correctness (Short, 1996), culture-marginal slangs (Skachinsky, 1972), graffiti (Bushnell, 1990) and gay language (Kozlovskij, 1986), which were areas of scholarship not encouraged at the official level under Communism.

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