Deportation and Language Identity in Kalmykia
Kalmyk language is one of the Mongolic languages within the Altaic language family, spoken in the Republic of Kalmykia. In the twentieth century, the number of its speakers has essentially decreased. Speakers and linguists agree that the main reason for the language shift was deportation of the ethnic group to Siberia. However this does not explain, on the one hand, why language shift went further even after the group returned from Siberia and, on the other hand, why many Kalmyks despite the fact that they were born in Siberia are nevertheless able to speak Kalmyk language. In this article I will consider the problem of influence the deportation had on the language situation in Kalmykia (using the materials of linguistic biographies of Kalmyks) and language attitudes in the society that suffered deportation. The article is focused on factors of language preservation and language vitality.