Ashley Elizabeth McDermott
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMichigan, Ann Arbor, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10327
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleMcDermott, Ashley (Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of) "The Production of Endangerment: Language Socialization, Shift, and Discourses of Kyrgyz Loss in Post-Soviet Bishkek"
In Bishkek, the capital of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz is believed to be under threat from the Russian language. However, no comprehensive studies of everyday language use support these claims, and according to common measures of language vitality, Kyrgyz is not in danger. How is language use changing in Bishkek, and how can we explain the discrepancy between public belief that Kyrgyz is endangered, and the measures developed by academics and NGOs that indicate otherwise? The proposed research will investigate presumed language shift and discourses of endangerment by examining the linguistic practices of children and their families as they navigate multilingual environments and utilize Kyrgyz and Russian in different social contexts. Concentrating on how children adopt, reject, and transform the language ideologies and linguistic practices of their caretakers will provide a clearer understanding of the type of language change occurring in the city and the social factors influencing it. The linguistic practices and language ideologies of Bishkek families may contrast, or mirror discourses of endangerment evidenced in institutions and media and will be investigated. Studying the ways individuals, actors, and institutions produce endangerment as a social fact is crucial because perceptions of endangerment influence how language revitalization is implemented.