Отношение к языковому сдвигу и ревитализации языков в Республике Карелия
The Republic of Karelia is a Russian region with a complex linguistic situation caused by the long coexistence of the Karelian, Vepsian, Finnish and Russian languages. However, those languages' different statuses lead to language shift and language revitalization attempts, which, both being complex socio-cultural phenomena, constantly affect one another. Social attitudes also have a substantial impact on the current situation.
This article investigates the diversity of opinions towards the language situation. The research is based on interviews conducted during two expeditions (2019 and 2020) to the Republic of Karelia. Karelian and Veps respondents and language activists, and experts in the field, have a negative attitude towards the language shift. Also, they try to revive the Karelian and the Vepsian languages either by their efforts or by approaching the Republic's administration. Other respondents are less optimistic — they do approve of the attempts, although they do not believe that revitalization is possible, particularly because of the lack of lessons. There is also concern that learning Karelian or Vepsian would become obligatory, or their wider use in public would be imposed.
Despite those doubts and contradictions, the people of the Republic support popularization of the languages. However, the development is slow and does not affect all of the possible spheres.