Monolingual and bilingual practices: reversing power relations during a festivity in Pondala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Abstract: This paper aims to demonstrate how people can shift prevailing power relations when engaging in distinct bilingual practices, especially in convivial settings in a remote, yet familiar to the speakers, rural environment. My paper is based on extensive fieldwork conducted among Veps, a Finno-Ugric population, traditionally living in rural settlements in north-western Russia. Most elderly Vepsian villagers are bilingual and can speak Vepsian, their heritage language, as well as Russian. In their daily bilingual practices, they tend to conform to the
overarching language ecology and to employ Vepsian and/or Russian, depending on the dominant forces (including language ideologies) present at the time of speech. This often means speaking Russian in the presence of Russian-only speakers and in more institutional settings. Such practices tend to match ideologies and language behaviours which already emerged during the Tsarist era and Soviet times. However, by introducing a vignette situated in Pondala, a Vepsian village in Vologda Oblast, I show how Veps can reverse uneven relations of power once the ordinary social dynamics are shaken. This paper founds its
argumentation on three key concepts: language ecology, and power and agency in the heritage language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-88
Number of pages23
JournalFolklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore
Volume61
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

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language
Ideologies
ecology
language behavior
rural community
speaking
Russia
village
present
time

Keywords

  • agency
  • bilingual and monolingual practices
  • convivial settings
  • language ecology and power
  • Vespian heritage language

Cite this

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title = "Monolingual and bilingual practices: reversing power relations during a festivity in Pondala",
abstract = "Abstract: This paper aims to demonstrate how people can shift prevailing power relations when engaging in distinct bilingual practices, especially in convivial settings in a remote, yet familiar to the speakers, rural environment. My paper is based on extensive fieldwork conducted among Veps, a Finno-Ugric population, traditionally living in rural settlements in north-western Russia. Most elderly Vepsian villagers are bilingual and can speak Vepsian, their heritage language, as well as Russian. In their daily bilingual practices, they tend to conform to theoverarching language ecology and to employ Vepsian and/or Russian, depending on the dominant forces (including language ideologies) present at the time of speech. This often means speaking Russian in the presence of Russian-only speakers and in more institutional settings. Such practices tend to match ideologies and language behaviours which already emerged during the Tsarist era and Soviet times. However, by introducing a vignette situated in Pondala, a Vepsian village in Vologda Oblast, I show how Veps can reverse uneven relations of power once the ordinary social dynamics are shaken. This paper founds itsargumentation on three key concepts: language ecology, and power and agency in the heritage language.",
keywords = "agency, bilingual and monolingual practices, convivial settings, language ecology and power, Vespian heritage language",
author = "Laura Siragusa",
year = "2015",
month = "2",
doi = "10.7592/FEJF2015.61.siragusa",
language = "English",
volume = "61",
pages = "65--88",
journal = "Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore",
issn = "1406-0957",
publisher = "FB and Media Group of Estonian Literary Museum",

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T2 - reversing power relations during a festivity in Pondala

AU - Siragusa, Laura

PY - 2015/2

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N2 - Abstract: This paper aims to demonstrate how people can shift prevailing power relations when engaging in distinct bilingual practices, especially in convivial settings in a remote, yet familiar to the speakers, rural environment. My paper is based on extensive fieldwork conducted among Veps, a Finno-Ugric population, traditionally living in rural settlements in north-western Russia. Most elderly Vepsian villagers are bilingual and can speak Vepsian, their heritage language, as well as Russian. In their daily bilingual practices, they tend to conform to theoverarching language ecology and to employ Vepsian and/or Russian, depending on the dominant forces (including language ideologies) present at the time of speech. This often means speaking Russian in the presence of Russian-only speakers and in more institutional settings. Such practices tend to match ideologies and language behaviours which already emerged during the Tsarist era and Soviet times. However, by introducing a vignette situated in Pondala, a Vepsian village in Vologda Oblast, I show how Veps can reverse uneven relations of power once the ordinary social dynamics are shaken. This paper founds itsargumentation on three key concepts: language ecology, and power and agency in the heritage language.

AB - Abstract: This paper aims to demonstrate how people can shift prevailing power relations when engaging in distinct bilingual practices, especially in convivial settings in a remote, yet familiar to the speakers, rural environment. My paper is based on extensive fieldwork conducted among Veps, a Finno-Ugric population, traditionally living in rural settlements in north-western Russia. Most elderly Vepsian villagers are bilingual and can speak Vepsian, their heritage language, as well as Russian. In their daily bilingual practices, they tend to conform to theoverarching language ecology and to employ Vepsian and/or Russian, depending on the dominant forces (including language ideologies) present at the time of speech. This often means speaking Russian in the presence of Russian-only speakers and in more institutional settings. Such practices tend to match ideologies and language behaviours which already emerged during the Tsarist era and Soviet times. However, by introducing a vignette situated in Pondala, a Vepsian village in Vologda Oblast, I show how Veps can reverse uneven relations of power once the ordinary social dynamics are shaken. This paper founds itsargumentation on three key concepts: language ecology, and power and agency in the heritage language.

KW - agency

KW - bilingual and monolingual practices

KW - convivial settings

KW - language ecology and power

KW - Vespian heritage language

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DO - 10.7592/FEJF2015.61.siragusa

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JF - Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore

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