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Veiko Spolitis: Latvian language policy and reforms on threshold of a Centenary

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Integration conference "My home, our home: what unites us in a multicultural community" on 15th and 16th November in Tallinn, Estonia. Conference webpage: www.integrationconference.ee

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Veiko Spolitis: Latvian language policy and reforms on threshold of a Centenary

  1. 1. “Latvian language policy and reforms on a threshold of a Centenary” Veiko Spolitis International Conference on Integration: My home, our home – what unites us in a multicultural community? 15-16 November, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia
  2. 2. Contents • Latvian multinational language policy from 1920 – 1940 & following USSR segregation policy • Latvian policy mix and legal innovations 1989 – 2002 • Latvian language reform Part I ( 2002) • Latvian language reform Part II (2014-2018)
  3. 3. Latvian multinational language policy from 1920 – 1940 & Soviet segregation 1940-1989 • Multinational schools following policy prescriptions of Paul Schiemann • Coup d’etat on May 15, 1934 and «latvianization» policies • USSR/Nazi/USSR occupation, utter transformation of the society and segregation of the society into Latvian and «Russian speaking» parts
  4. 4. Latvian policy mix and legal innovations 1989 – 2002 • Liberalization movement at the late 1980’s as a force to salvage rights of existence for the Latvian nation and survival of the Latvian & Livonian language • The legal successor of the 1918 Republic of Latvia > citizenship law > the role of the UN, OSCE, CoE • 2002 higher education & secondary education language reform
  5. 5. Latvian language reform (2014-2018) and lack of non- citizens’ policy • Upgrade of the 2002 language reform and the transition period 2019-2021 to fully instruct in Latvian • Minority language schools supportive of reforms except some of the «non Latvian speaking» schools particularly in Riga • Kindergardens in the capital city as a bone of contention • Non-citizens as pawns in Kremlin’s and opportunistic political parties’ games
  6. 6. Concluding remarks • Survival of the Latvian language (just look on Ireland) as the nodus of the language policy with the respect for minority language education until today! The role of CoE, OSCE, EU, the UNO! • What can federations teach to unitary states – only devolution of power? Does the «don’t ask wont tell» customary tradition change into legal framework in LV, EE? • Multiculturalism stems from strong language cultures and multilingual societies, it is natural process that can be fostered by elites in traditionally conservative societies.

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