Russification of non-Estonian pupils in Tallinn

Mart Rannut, Ülle Rannut


In the article home languages, their qualities and use by pupils in grades 2 to 5 in Tallinn are analyzed. Two larger and more characteristic groups (Ukrainians and Belarusians) and two groups with Islamic backgrounds (Azerbaijanis and Tatars) were compared with the aim of analysing different language loss and preservation factors. Although Ukrainians and Belarusians form much larger ethnic groups within Estonia, they have not managed to preserve their language anywhere near as successfully as the Azerbaijanis and Tatars. Comparison of the data suggests that language preservation in Estonia and the ability to withstand Russification are most influenced by the degree of difference of the language from Russian and the religious difference from the Russian Orthodox faith (and Soviet era atheism). Home languages are characterised by their use mainly in the verbal form, with skills in the literary language generally low or even non-existent. Languages are for the most part learned informally, primarily through communication with parents and/or grandparents. The result is a supersaturated vernacular with a large degree of variation and loans from superstratum languages which falls far from the standard of the language in question.



language education policy; minorities; home language; Estonian; Russian

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Copyright (c) 2012 Mart Rannut, Ülle Rannut

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ISSN 1736-2563 (print)
ISSN 2228-0677 (online)
DOI 10.5128/ERYa.1736-2563