The Sociolinguistic Situation: Past, Present and Future in Bashkortostan

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The Sociolinguistic Situation: Past, Present and Future in Bashkortostan

In the region between the Volga and the Urals, the Federal Republic of Bashkortostan is placed. Its natural gas and oil resources have maintained this region always as a prominent region within the Russian Federation. Looking back to its history, Bashkortostan with a surface of 143,000 sq km and more than four million population, has been a significant region regarding its ethnic and linguistic diversities (Gorenburg, 1999; Grimes, 2000).
According to Gorenburg (2003), Bashkortostan was the first autonomous republic which the Communist government created to prevent the dominancy of a Tatar-Turkic republic.
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The Russification era lasted until late 1980s. And finally, During Mikhail Gorbachev presidency, the policy of Sovietisation regarded as being unsuccessful despite the severe language assimilation policies (Hagendoorn, Drogendijk, Tumanov & Hraba, 1998). Among minor ethnic groups and nationalities many faced the ethnic language and identity loss issues. However, Bashkir younger generation despite of kept their sense of belonging to their ethnic group; therefore, in some parts of the region Bashkir language maintained mostly, as Graney (1999) claims.
Present Situation
Regarding the issue of language loss or maintenance Language Planning has a significant role. As mentioned before under the Soviet rule. However, after the Soviet Union dissolution, in some regions new language policies has been established fostering the ethnic language revitalization. In Bashkortostan for instance the new language laws are set to increase the Bashkir language as the medium of education. The reforms in Bashkortostan educational system implemented to perform as a prerequisite for the region autonomy. Courses of Bashkir literature, history and culture has been added to the curriculum as well as new instruction materials and text books for schools throughout the Republic of Bashkortostan (Graney, 1999).
Yet, the Bashkir language policies has been planned to provide a practical scheme for all ethnic and linguistic groups within the region. All

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