The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №3

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Evaluating the impact of integration processes on the ethnopolitical competition of languages in the Baltic Region



In the literature, the impact of integration processes on language learning and usage is traditionally evaluated either through the prism of sociolinguistics or soft power. This article proposes a new conceptual approach based on measuring various aspects of competition between languages by the language integration and monopolization indices, on the one hand, and the polylingualism coefficient, on the other. The approach is applied to the situation in the Baltic Sea region of the EU. The article uses data from Eurostat, Eurobarometer, and the Baltic statistical offices to analyze the performance of Baltic language markets by assessing the impact of the EU integration on the use of languages in the region. The findings show a growing tendency towards polylingualism in countries participating in integration associations. Integration bodies, however, do not give one language precedence over others but encourage convergence of the languages of their leading economies. The main factor behind a language’s popularity is the strength of commodity and labor markets in the country where it is spoken.

The authors conclude that close economic and political integration stimulates heterochronous processes in supranational associations. The first is increasing monopolization in the language market of the association and the language markets of its sub-regions. The second is the decrease in monopolization in national language markets.


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