Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 №3

Discursive practices of the Russian diaspora in Estonia: language contacts


In this article, I use the concept of discursive practices to consider the speech practices of the Russian diaspora of Estonia. The findings of the study suggest the existence of an invariant discourse generated by an exemplary member of the diaspora. Such a discourse has formal (borrowings, code-switching, etc.), semantic (referential shifts, semantically re-oriented vocabulary, etc.), and pragmatic features. The results of the diasporic speech analysis show that the key components of a typical diasporic discourse are the following ones: spatial-temporal localization (space: Estonia — Russia —the West relations; significant locations, space in the past and today (the empire, the Republic of Estonia, the Soviet Union); information space; time: historical periods, dates, holidays; time in information space, etc.), linguistic reflections (metalinguistic units denoting co-existence, knowledge, language acquisition, etc.), evaluations (objects of evaluation, types of evaluation) and self-identification (ethnic, denominational, cultural, socio-economic). The above is not only characteristic of the diasporic speech. These components also describe the worldview of language users belonging to the diaspora and their naïve linguistic conceptualisation of reality. Within the typical diasporic discourse, I distinguish a metalinguistic discourse that rests on discursive practices stemming from language contacts. These practices were described in part earlier. In this article, I summarize my earlier findings on the topic and analyse new material.

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