On the Mari language and Mari schools

Russian Federation is a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic country with over 100 languages being listed for it in the Ethnologue.com. Yet many of these languages are endangered, with more and more speakers switching to Russian. In part, this process is driven by economic pressures: Russian — like English in so many other parts of the world — is more prestigious and speaking it can lead to better educational and economic opportunities. However, the russification process is also in part politically driven.

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The Udmurt Language

The Udmurt language belongs to the group of the Finno-Ugric languages. Although the Udmurts have been living in close interrelationship with Turkishlanguage (Tartar, Baskir, Chuvash) and Slavonic-language (Russian) speaking people for centuries, they preserved their linguistic (and cultural) independence until recent times. However, due to the social and political changes in the last century practically the entire Udmurt-language speaking community has become (at least) bilingual (trilingual with Tartar in the Southern areas). In the generation of the present grandparents there still can be found, albeit very rarely, monolingual (Udmurt) speaking people. Consequently, present-day speakers are indigenous, bi- or trilingual people living in minority position.

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