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Multilingualism in the Successor States of the Soviet Union

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2009

Extract

The Soviet Union was a country with one of the most complex language situations in the world. Over one hundred nationalities were listed in its last 1989 census, ranging in size from 145 million Russians (50.8 percent of the population) to the ‘26 Peoples of the North’ who together numbered only 184,448. For most of these nationalities, the majority claimed that their national language was their mother tongue. However, knowledge of Russian as first or second language was claimed by about 62 percent of the non-Russians. Only 4.2 percent of the Russians reported fluency in one of the national languages, though among the Russians living outside the Russian Federation, bilingualism was about 19 percent (Anderson and Silver 1990, Arutiunian, et al. 1992, Goskomstat 1991, Haarmann 1992).

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Country and Regional Surveys
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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