Academic journal article Global Media Journal

The Ethno-Lingual Composition of the Russian Federation and Canada: A Comparative Analysis

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

The Ethno-Lingual Composition of the Russian Federation and Canada: A Comparative Analysis

Article excerpt


Globalization implies a considerable migration process involving all countries in the world. Different countries take different approaches to preparing for all aspects of this: the legal, social, educational, cultural, linguistic, etc. Nowadays "migrants" civil self-definition and ethnic self-definition are more often considered. The principles which shape the language situation in multi-ethnic states are analyzed in the academic works of Ferguson, Kloss, Fishman, Stewart and others [1-5]. Some academic emphasize that these two notions - civil and ethnic self-definition - differ greatly. Drozbiheva [6] states that ethnic self-definition concerns the migrant's language and, culture, the parents' nationality, the past, the origin. Meanwhile civil self-definition concerns the role of the destination country in the world, the geopolitical space, the aspiration to become an enlightened citizen, and an awareness of the country's natural resources, achievements in culture, and role of the historical entity.

The complicated heterogeneous linguistic situation in the Russian Federation urges analysis of how the country's ethnic composition and patterns of language loyalty came about in comparison to the experience of other countries' development and promotion of language diversity. The authors point out that in Russia, as well as in Canada, any language indicates cultural identity and it is a complex phenomenon which is an intermediary between personal, social, cultural and language inclinations [7].

A number of studies emphasize, that language is the basis of the ethnic identity, reflecting the historical experience, it is a tool for socialization, expression, and the transmission of ethnic and cultural traditions. Education in the mother tongue is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation and a number of international instruments ratified in Russia. Provisions should be made for the preservation and development of languages of the peoples of Russia and the study of the native language [8].

Results of studying Canadian model are formulated in the form of recommendations to increase the efficiency of minority languages' language processes in Russia, particularly in the national republics with co-official languages.


In order to carry out fact-based research on the linguistic situation in the countries under analysis, this paper uses the 1987 and 2010 Russian National Censuses and Statistics Canada (2001, 2006, 2011), as they are considered to be significant and reliable sources. Statistics from these sources have been processed and presented in various forms to illustrate the situation regarding language use in the two countries. In Russia, data outlining the number of ethnic groups living in the country, the language members of such groups consider to be their primary one, and how this "language loyalty" has shifted in the period between the 1987 and 2010 censuses, is considered. In the case of Canada, the number of people speaking French, English, and other languages in various combinations are considered, identifying shifts in these patterns over a period from 2001 to 2011.

These quantitative results are analyzed in the context of Russian and Canadian state ideology regarding multiculturalism and multilingualism, in order to understand the impact government educational policies can have on both retention of the native language and adoption of the official national language(s).

Results and Discussion

Certain social and culture-specific concepts and conditions of the Russian Federation's current migration policy suggest that it is similar to Canada's in this respect. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the demographic situation and language loyalty in these two countries.

In 2011, the population of Canada was 35 million, having increased by 5.9% since2006 50% of immigrants to Canada in 2011 were Asians, 20% were from Africa and Central Asia, 12% from South America and the United States, and 18% were from the United Kingdom and Europe. …

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