What we gain by supporting minority languages?

Kazakhstan is the most “multiethnic” country among fifteen Post Soviet countries. From the pages of the history, this land had never oppressed any of the nationalities, languages or language minorities. Today, we still have preserved this great tradition and policy.

If one would ask why it is important to value the minority languages, the answers would be various. In this essay I will try to explain some of them. Firstly, for our country, it gives a uniqueness and distinction in comparison with the other countries with “russizm” and “nacizm” problems. It is not just a policy that our nation naturally respects other nationalities and languages. According to Dave (2004) “It was hailed as a  ‘laboratory of peoples’ friendship’  (druzhba narodov) during the post-War II period. It was the only Soviet national republic in which the titular ethnic group (the Kazakhs) did not constitute a majority upon gaining independence in 1991”. The other 149 nationalities did not feel any discrimination in Kazakhstan.  From my grandmother’s tales, in their village and in the whole country, Kazakhs gave the last bread to their neighbours from other nationalities. The second reason is that, the more nationalities and language diversities we have, the more we have the opportunity to celebrate different holidays of other minorities and learn their languages. For example, the 1st of May of each year, we celebrate the Day of Unity in Kazakhstan. This incredible holiday has been celebrating each year by all the nationalities of our country through representing their national songs in their national languages, cuisine and the national dresses and dances. Thirdly, we have a marvellous chance to learn their languages. Each minority language has a cultural centre for the representatives of their nation. We can easily learn languages such as Korean, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Mongolian etc. Such events and friendly atmosphere correlates with very subtle connections of the Kazakh nation to the other 149 nationalities. The government always supports these  minority languages and cultures. They provide them with a place for their cultural centres and give them an opportunity to flourish. For the minority languages, it is a great chance to live in a peaceful country, feel the support from the government and the nation and to save their historical heritage through promotion in our country.

In my opinion, the ideology of preserving and conserving the language minorities is the best so far. In such a case, our Kazakh language is not in danger. We can speak Kazakh and learn the other languages and live in  peace and love.

References

Dave, B. 2004. Minorities and participation in public life: Kazakhstan.  United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights.

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2 thoughts on “What we gain by supporting minority languages?

  1. Shiko, thank you. You wrote about what we can gain, whereas I would like to mention what minority speech communities can gain. Fisrst of all, it gives them choice, and as professor Egea said ‘no choice – no responsibility’. I think as far as every citizen of Kazakhstan has the choice, they have responsibility for their language, culture, national identity, and finally responsibility to be a good citizen of the country.

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