Staunton, Dec. 6 – Sabira Stahlberg, a Finnish expert on endangered languages, says Tatars in the Russian Federation and even in Tatarstan itself could benefit by adopting or at least adapting some of the methods Tatar diasporas have been using to ensure that their national language survives.
The guest editor of special issues on this possibility of the Journal of Endangered Languages and Studia Orentalia Electronica and the co-editor of a new book, A Strategy for the Preservation of Tatar and Innovative Practices, says many diasporas are under pressure but have come up with useful means of promoting Tatar (idelreal.org/a/31597890.html).
She and her colleagues have investigated the state of Tatar language knowledge among diaspora communities in Germany, Finland, Australia, Estonia, and St. Petersburg; and she says that among the most effective means are distribution of materials to new parents and the development of “easy language” texts for those beginning to learn the language.
It is a measure of just how much pressure Tatars are under in Tatarstan to give up their national language that a foreign scholar is now promoting methods used in new and old diaspora communities abroad for use in the Tatar homeland in the Middle Volga. One can only hope that Tatars in Tatarstan will be able to adapt and adopt them and their language will survive.
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