Family Language Policy and Management in a Changed Socio-political Situation: Russians and Russian Speakers in Lithuania

  • Meilutė RamonienėEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 7)


Based on newly collected quantitative and qualitative data from two research projects on language use and attitudes carried out in Lithuanian cities and towns, this chapter is aimed at the analysis of linguistic behaviour of Russians and Russian-speaking population residing in urban areas of Lithuania with a special focus on language use in the private (home) domain. The study discusses certain aspects of family language policy and management related to Lithuanian, which is the official state language, and Russian, as a minority language, as well as it looks into the adaptation of Russian-speaking population to the new socio-political environment and analyses social challenges faced by those people since the fall of the Soviet Union and restoration of Lithuanian independence. Data discussed in the chapter mainly represents Russians and Russian-speaking residents, living in urban areas with a special focus on the inhabitants of the most multilingual cities, namely Vilnius and Klaipėda.

The study shows that changes in the socio-political situation of the country have affected social and linguistic behavior of non-titular ethnic groups. The most conspicuous changes are related to the increased proficiency in Lithuanian and the use of the titular language both in public and private domains. Hence, the Lithuanian language is spoken at home, particularly in interaction with the younger generation, children and grandchildren. The tendency to send children to Lithuanian rather than Russian schools also indicates a move towards social and linguistic adaptation.

Over more than 20 years of Lithuanian independence, Lithuanian Russians and Russian-speaking population have also retained the Russian language which occupies the second position after Lithuanian. The fact that native speakers of Russian have retained their mother tongue and use it most often at home and sometimes in public life should be seen as a sign of successful family management. Appreciation of one’s mother tongue, willingness to teach children Russian and at the same time preserve Russian culture and identity suggests that the Russian ethnic community, which is decreasing in number in Lithuania, will continue to preserve its national character and language.


Ethnic Identity Language Policy Mother Tongue Russian Language Language Ideology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Lithuanian Studies, Faculty of PhilologyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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