Should the state be the only focus of language-policy research?


Keywords: language policy and planning (LLP), language, policy, state, globalization, Estonia

The article examines, and questions, the centering of the state as the primary language policy actor particularly in the context of Estonia. In responding to several paradigmatic shifts in the field of language policy and planning, including a critical turn that shifted researchers’ attention to language users, the authors explore the multiple expressions of language policy and introduce language policy actors other than the state. The article opens with an introduction to the core concepts of language, policy, and state with attention to the multiple interpretations and examples that challenge current understandings of these ideas. The authors then turn to present the case for an Estonian focus. First, Estonia is situated on multiple borders – geopolitical and linguistic among others (resulting in the country’s rich language ecology) – that reflect political and migratory shifts over time. Second, Estonia represents a case of dynamic state-building. From the enduring commitment to being “European” to legal restorationism and neoliberal economic policies, language policies are developed in a multifaceted, changing context. The article then presents a fresh focus on language policy and Estonia by moving beyond the past, dominating foci of research on the temporal border which either fixed Estonia in a post-Soviet, Baltic, and European Union frame or tethered it to a singular development, particularly to “solving” the Russian problem. While these frames dominate research, other geographic imaginaries, like the Baltic Sea Region, lend themselves to a redrawing of the lines and influence of the language-policy power of the state. The authors also examine the powerful decentering of the state in language policy through attention to globalization, migration, and regionalization. Finally, the article explores the enduring ways the Soviet “covert” language policies continue to shape contemporary Estonian language policies.

Kadri Koreinik (b. 1970), PhD, University of Tartu, Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, Department of Estonian, Senior Research Fellow; Researcher at Võru Institute, kadri.koreinik@ut.ee


Kara D. Brown (b. 1973), PhD, University of South Carolina, Department of Educational Studies, Associate Professor, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tartu, brownk25@mailbox.sc.edu


Maarja Siiner (b. 1973), PhD, University of Oslo, Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (MultiLing), Research Affiliate; Aarhus University, Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics, maarja@siiner.eu


Aidarov, Aleksandr, Drechsler, Wolfgang 2013. Estonian russification of ethnic minorities in Estonia? A policy analysis. – Trames, kd 17, nr 2, lk 103−128. https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2013.2.01

Androutsopoulus, Jannis 2014. Mediatization and sociolinguistic change: Key concepts, research traditions, open issues. – Mediatization and Sociolinguistic Change. Toim J. Androutsopoulos. Berlin–Boston: de Gruyter, lk 3–48. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110346831.3

Annist, Aet 2017. Migratsiooni moraalist: eestlaste sunnitud ja sundimatu ränne. – Plenaarettekanne Eesti sotsiaalteaduste X aastakonverentsil: „Eesti 100 – teel avatusele?”, 24.–25. märtsil 2017 Tallinna Ülikoolis.

Anniste, Kristi 2014. East-West migration in Europe: The case of Estonia after regaining independence. (Dissertationes Geographicae Universitatis Tartuensis 57.) University of Tartu Press.

Annus, Epp 2012. The problem of Soviet colonialism in the Baltics. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 43, nr 1, lk 21–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629778.2011.628551

Arendt, Hannah 1954. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ariste, Paul 1969. „Kolm kohalikku keelt”. – Keel ja Kirjandus, nr 3, lk 140–147.

Berezkina, Maimu 2017. Russian in Estonia’s public sector: ‘Playing on the borderline’ between official policy and real-life needs. – International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, kd 20, nr 4, lk 417–427. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2015.1115004

Bourdieu, Pierre 2003. Praktilised põhjused. Teoteooriast. Tlk Leena Tomasberg.(Avatud Eesti Raamat.) Tallinn: Tänapäev.

Brüggemann, Karsten 2003. Leaving the ‘Baltic’ states and ‘Welcome to Estonia’: Re-regionalizing Estonian identity. – European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire, kd 10, nr 2, lk 343–360. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350748032000140831

Busch, Brigitta 2010. New National Languages in Eastern Europe. – Handbook of Language and Globalization. Toim Nikolas Coupland. Oxford: Wiley-Black­well, lk 182–200. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444324068.ch8

Chandler, Andrea M. 1998. Institutions of Isolation: Border Controls in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States, 1917–1993. Montréal–Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

David, Paul A. 1985. Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. – Papers and Proceed­ings of the Ninety Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1985). The American Economic Review, kd 75, nr 2, lk 332–337.

Davies, Alan 2003. The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853596247

Duchêne, Alexandre, Heller, Monica (toim) 2007. Discourses of Endangerment
Ideology and Interest in the Defence of Languages. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2016/2017. Eesti rändeajastul. Peatoim Tiit Tammaru. Tallinn: Eesti Koostöö Kogu, 2017. https://inimareng.ee (1. VIII 2017).

Ehala, Martin 2009. The Bronze Soldier: Identity threat and maintenance in Estonia. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 40, nr 1, lk 139−158. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629770902722294

Ehala, Martin, Koreinik, Kadri, Praakli, Kristiina, Siiner, Maarja 2014. Kuidas uurida keele kestlikkust? – Keel ja Kirjandus, nr 7, lk 489–508. https://doi.org/10.54013/kk680a1

Feldman, Gregory 2000. Shifting the perspective on identity discourse in Estonia. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 31, nr 4, lk 406–428. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629770000000171

Fishman, Joshua 1974. Language planning and language planning research: The state of art. – Advances in Language Planning. Toim J. Fishman. The Hague: Mouton, lk 15–35. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111583600.15

Gibson-Graham, J. K. 2006. A Postcapitalist Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gorsuch, Anne E. 2011. Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad After Stalin. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609949.001.0001

Grenoble, Lenore A. 2017. Epilogue. – Language Policy Beyond the State. Toim Maarja Siiner, Kadri Koreinik, Kara D. Brown. Springer, lk 241–245. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52993-6_13

Guba, Egon G. 1984. The effect of definitions of policy on the nature and outcomes of policy analysis. – Educational Leadership, kd 42, nr 2, lk 63–70.

Hasselblatt, Cornelius 2016. Ma armastasin eestlast. Autobiograafilised retked. Tallinn: Tuum.

Hennoste, Tiit 2012. Ethnofuturism in Estonia. – International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, kd 2, nr 1, lk 253–285. https://doi.org/10.1515/futur-2012.0015

Hennoste, Tiit, Keevallik, Leelo, Pajusalu, Karl 1999. Introduction. – International Journal of the Sociology of Language, kd 139, nr 1, lk 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.1999.139.1

Hogan-Brun, Gabrielle 2017. Linguanomics. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781474238304

Hogan-Brun, Gabrielle, Ozolins, Uldis, Ramoniene, Meilute, Rannut, Mart 2007. Language policies and practices in the Baltic States. – Current Issues in Language Planning, kd 8, nr 4, lk 469–631. https://doi.org/10.2167/cilp124.0

Hogan-Brun, Gabrielle, Wright, Sue 2013. Language, nation and citizenship: Contrast, conflict and convergence in Estonia’s debate with the international community. – Nationalities Papers, kd 41, nr 2, lk 240–258. https://doi.org/10.1080/00905992.2012.747502

Irvine, Judith T., Gal, Susan 2000. Language ideology and linguistic differentiation. – Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities. Toim Paul V. Kroskrity. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, lk 35–84.

Jakobson, Mari-Liis 2017. Hargmaisuspoliitika. – Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2016/2017. Eesti rändeajastul. Peatoim Tiit Tammaru. Tallinn: Eesti Koostöö Kogu, lk 111–118. https://inimareng.ee (1. VIII 2017).

Jenkins, Jennifer 2014. English as a Lingua Franca in the International University: The Politics of Academic English Language Policy. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203798157

Jernudd, Björn, Das Gupta, Jyotirindra 1971. Towards a theory of language planning. – Can Language Be Planned? Sociolinguistic Theory and Practice for Developing Nations. Toim Joan Rubin, B. Jernudd. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, lk 195–215

Joffé, George H. 2007. Foreword. Regionalism a New Paradigm? – European Union and New Regionalism: Regional Actors and Global Governance in a Post-Hegemonic Era. 2. tr. Toim Mario Telò. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, lk xiii–xvii.

Jørgensen, J. Normann 2010. Languaging: Nine Years of Poly-lingual Development of Young Turkish-Danish Grade School Students. Kd 1–2. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen.

Kaplinski, Jaan 1985. Õhtu toob tagasi kõik. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat.

Kattel, Rainer, Thorhallsson, Baldur 2013. Neo-liberal small states and economic crisis: Lessons for democratic corporatism. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 44, nr 1, lk 83–105. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629778.2012.719306

Kirby, David G. 1995. The Baltic World 1772–1993: Europe’s Northern Periphery in an Age of Change. London: Longman.

Klaas-Lang, Birute 2016. State policies and institutional language choice – the vitality of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian in higher education. – Sociolinguistic Transition in Former Soviet and Eastern Bloc Countries: Recent Developments Two Decades after the Regime Change. Toim Marian Sloboda, Petteri Laihonen, Anastassia Zabrodskaja. Prague: Peter Lang Verlag, lk 235−262.

Korkut, Umut 2008. Eager, Pragmatic or Reluctant: Can common Finno-Ugric ethnic and linguistic links substantiate intra-EU CFSP co-operation? (CASE Network Studies and Analyses, 367.) Warsaw: Center for Social and Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1392787

Kull, Kalevi, Lang, Valter 2015. Piiride rikkus ja muutuste mustrid. – Sirp 23. I. http://www.sirp.ee/s1-artiklid/c9-sotsiaalia/piiride-rikkus-ja-muutuste-mustrid (1. VIII 2017).

Kurs, Ott 1998. Arvustus: Tagasi Läände? Return to the Western World. Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition. Edited by Marju Lauristin & Peeter Vihalemm with Karl Erik Rosengren & Lennart Weibull. Tartu University Press, 1997. – Akadeemia, nr 3, lk 628–630.

Kährik, Anneli 2006. Socio-spatial Residential Segregation in Post-Socialist Cities: The Case of Tallinn. (Dissertationes Geographicae Universitatis Tartuensis 29.) Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus.

Liddicoat, Anthony 2013. Language-in-Education Policies: The Discursive Construction of Intercultural Relations. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847699152

Light, Matthew 2010. Policing Migration in Soviet and post-Soviet Moscow. – Post-Soviet Affairs, kd 26, nr 4, lk 275–313. https://doi.org/10.2747/1060-586X.26.4.275

Lin, Angel, Martin, Peter 2005. Decolonisation, Globalisation. Language-in-Education Policy and Practice. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853598265

May, Stephen 2015. The problem with English(es) and linguistic (in)justice. Ad­dressing the limits of liberal egalitarian accounts of language. – Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, kd 18, nr 2, lk 131-148. https://doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2015.1023629

McCarty, Teresa L. (toim) 2011. Ethnography and Language Policy. New York: Routledge.

Pavlenko, Aneta 2013. Multilingualism in post-Soviet successor states. – Language and Linguistic Compass, kd 7, nr 3, lk 262–271. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12024

Pawłusz, Emilia 2017. The Estonian song celebration (Laulupidu) as an instrument of language policy. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 48, nr 2, lk 251–271. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629778.2016.1164203

Peled, Yael, Ives, Peter, Ricento, Thomas 2014. Introduction to the thematic issue: Language policy and political theory. – Language Policy, kd 13, nr 4, lk 295–300. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9328-9

Petrovic, John E. 2015. A Post-Liberal Approach to Language Policy in Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783092857

Pettai, Vello 2007. The construction of state identity and its legacies: Legal restorationism in Estonia. – Ab Imperio, nr 3, lk 403–426. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2007.0022

Piattoni, Simona 2009. Multi-level governance: A historical and conceptual analysis. – European Integration, kd 31, nr 2, lk 163–180. https://doi.org/10.1080/07036330802642755

Pääbo, Heiko 2014. Constructing historical space: Estonia’s transition from the Russian civilization to the Baltic Sea region. – Journal of Baltic Studies, kd 45, nr 2, lk 187–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/01629778.2013.846929

Rannut, Mart 2017. Eesti keele õiguslik ja tegelik staatus tööturul. – Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2016/2017. Eesti rändeajastul. Peatoim Tiit Tammaru. Tallinn: Eesti Koostöö Kogu, lk 195–201. https://inimareng.ee (1. VIII 2017).

Rannut, Mart, Rannut, Ülle 2010. Russification of non-Estonian pupils in Tallinn. – Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühingu aastaraamat, nr 6, lk 243–259. https://doi.org/10.5128/ERYa6.15

Ricento, Thomas K., Hornberger, Nancy H. 1996. Unpeeling the onion: Language planning and policy and the ELT professional. – TESOL Quarterly, kd 30, nr 3, lk 401–427. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587691

Ryazanova-Clarke, Larissa 2014. Russian with an accent: Globalization and the post-Soviet imaginary. – The Russian Language Outside the Nation. Toim L. Ryazanova-Clarke. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, lk 249–280. https://doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668458.003.0011

Saarts, Tõnis 2017. XXI sajandi poliitikud. – Sirp 16. VI.

Shohamy, Elana 2006. Language Policy: Hidden Agendas and New Approaches. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203387962

Shore, Cris, Wright, Susan (toim) 1997. Anthropology of Policy: Critical Perspectives on Governance and Power. London–New York: Routledge.

Siiner, Maarja, Koreinik, Kadri, Brown, Kara D. (toim) 2017. Language Policy Beyond the State. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52993-6

Skerrett, Delaney Michael 2014. The Estonian 2011 high school reform in the context of critical language policy. – Current Issues in Language Planning, kd 15, nr 2, lk 174–200. https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2014.858656

Soler-Carbonell, Josep, Saarinen, Taina, Kibbermann, Kerttu 2017. Multilayered perspectives on language policy in higher education: Finland, Estonia, and Latvia in comparison. – Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, kd 38, nr 4, lk 301–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2016.1198356

Skocpol, Theda 1985. Introduction. – Bringing the State Back In. Toim Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, T. Skocpol. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, lk 3–38. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511628283.002

Sonntag, Selma K., Cardinal, Linda 2015. State traditions and language regimes: A historical institutionalism approach to language policy. – Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, European and Regional Studies, kd 8, nr 1, lk 5–21. https://doi.org/10.1515/auseur-2015-0010

Spolsky, Bernard 2004. Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

StatFin. Population. Population Structure. 010 — Language according to age and sex by region in 1990 to 2016. http://pxnet2.stat.fi/PXWeb/pxweb/en/StatFin/StatFin__vrm__vaerak/statfin_vaerak_pxt_010.px/table/tableViewLayout1/?rxid=f50e33c9-eccb-46d2-b64d-dba4dbed4d1b (29. VIII 2017).

Zagreben, Alexey 2007. The scientist and authority in the history of Finno-Ugric research in Russia. – Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, kd 1, nr 1, lk 63–73.

Taagepera, Rein 1998. Arvustus: Tagasi Läände? Return to the Western World. Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition. Edited by Marju Lauristin & Peeter Vihalemm with Karl Erik Rosengren & Lennart Weibull. Tartu University Press, 1997. – Akadeemia, nr 3, lk 626–628.

Tammaru, Tiit 2001. The Soviet Union as a deviant case? Underurbanization in Soviet Estonia. – Urban Geography, kd 22, nr 6, lk 584−603. https://doi.org/10.2747/0272-3638.22.6.584

Tammaru, Tiit, Kumer-Haukanõmm, Kaja, Anniste, Kristi 2010. The formation and development of the Estonian diaspora. – Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, kd 36, nr 7, lk 1157–1174. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2010.481614

Tollefson, James W. 1991. Planning Language, Planning Inequality. New York: Longman.

Tollefson, James, W., Pérez-Milans, Miguel (toim) 2017. The Oxford Handbook of Language Policy and Planning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190458898.013.36

Toomet, Ott, Silm, Siiri, Saluveer, Erki, Ahas, Rein, Tammaru, Tiit 2015. Where do ethno-linguistic groups meet? How copresence during free-time is related to copresence at home and at work. – PLoS ONE, kd 10, nr 5, lk 1−16. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126093

van Ham, Maarten, Tammaru, Tiit 2016. New perspectives on ethnic segregation over time and space: A domains approach. – Urban Geography, kd 37, nr 7, lk 953−962. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2016.1142152

Verschik, Anna 2017. Ränne, identiteedi ja keelemuutused. – Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2016/2017. Eesti rändeajastul. Peatoim Tiit Tammaru. Tallinn: Eesti Koostöö Kogu, lk 166–169. https://inimareng.ee (1. VIII 2017).

Vetik, Raivo (toim) 2012. Nation-Building in the Context of Post-Communist Transformation and Globalization. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-653-01615-4

Vihalemm, Triin, Hogan-Brun, Gabrielle 2013. Language policies and practices across the Baltic:  Processes, challenges and prospects. – European Journal of Applied Linguistics, kd 1, nr 1, lk 55–82. https://doi.org/10.1515/eujal-2013-0004

Wright, Sue 2004. Language Policy and Planning: From Nationalism to Globalisation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.