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The status of minority languages in Georgia and the relevance of models from other European states

Der Status von Minderheitensprachen in Georgien und die Relevanz von Modellen aus anderen europäischen Staaten
[working paper]

Wheatley, Jonathan

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Further Details
Corporate Editor European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)
Abstract 'The paper will be divided into two sections. The first section will examine how the existing status quo in which Georgian is the only official language in all parts of Georgia outside Abkhazia affects the working of the courts, the local organs of state administration, the media and the education system in Javakheti. It will then assess whether or not the current situation is sustainable. The argument is that, for the present time at least, language use within state bodies in Javakheti corresponds to informal arrangements rather than formal laws. To retain the status quo, I argue, is likely to further entrench these informal practices and may hinder rather than promote integration. The paper then discusses whether it would be possible to somehow tinker with the legislation in order to mitigate these undesirable consequences in the short term while retaining the status of the Georgian language as the only administrative language at all levels of government, or whether some kind of administrative status could be granted to minority languages in those districts (such as Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda) in which national minorities are compactly settled. It then goes on to list certain specific conditions that any new legislative arrangement should meet. The second part of the paper will examine how the issue of minority languages is dealt with in Romania and Croatia, two countries in which the relationship between the majority and minorities has, in recent years, been highly sensitive. I show how in both of these counties, a model has been developed that grants minority languages some kind of official status at local level but falls short of granting these languages full official status at the national level. Both models, I argue, promote bilingualism and encourage integration and may be valuable models for the Georgian government to look to as it elaborates legislation on minority languages.' (excerpt)
Keywords developing country; ethnic relations; multilingualism; minority; Middle East; Romania; social relations; social integration; language; language usage; Georgia; Croatia; minority policy; USSR successor state; post-socialist country; official language
Classification Sociology of Communication, Sociology of Language, Sociolinguistics; Migration, Sociology of Migration; Social Problems
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
City Flensburg
Page/Pages 37 p.
Series ECMI Working Paper, 26
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications