Politics of Language in the Ex-Soviet Muslim States offers a unique and timely analysis of language policies in the central Asian states of the former Soviet Union. The authors relate these policies to broad issues such as nation-building, language planning, and multilingualism. The book is a comprehensive survey of language policy in the five newly independent states with largely Turkic-speaking populations and in the Tajic republic, with its mainly Iranian-speaking population. It addresses each state's consideration over how the use of Russian—widespread as a second language among the Turkic-speaking peoples and known as a first language for Soviet-era immigrants regardless of ethnicity—should relate to use of the local varieties of Turkic or Iranian. It also addresses efforts in each state to elaborate the local variety of Turkic or Iranian for use as public discourse in administration, law, business, and politics, including teaching the language to its nominal speakers, and considers the relation between these languages and those of local ethnic minorities. The authors utilize previously unpublished empirical data, which is presented in both a clear narrative and conceptual framework.
Jacob M. Landau is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Barbara Kellner-Heinkele is Professor of Turkic Studies, Free University of Berlin.
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