eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2015.1.05

Elvira Küün


The article analyses the influence of the language shift and social processes on ethnic identity, whereby the study, on which the article is based, was motivated by pro­cesses in today’s Estonia, which cause the low usage of the Estonian language in the Russian-speaking language environments. Also there can be seen a tendency of the language shift in favour of the Russian language. The goal of the article is to describe the development of ethnic identity of the Russian-speaking people, living in the segregated areas in the post-Soviet country Estonia, and the influence of the language choice and shift on the development of ethnic identity of Estonian ethnic minorities. A written ques­tionnaire was used as a method for this study.


Barron-Hauwaert, S. (2004) Language strategies for bilingual families: the one-parent-one-language approach. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Bilaniuk, L. (2005) Contested tongues: language politics and cultural correction in Ukraine. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Bilaniuk, L. and S. Melnik (2008) “Atense and shifting balance: bilingualism and education in Ukraine”. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 11, 3–4, 339–372.

Crystal, D. (2000) Language death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

De Houwer, A. (2005) The acquisition of two languages from birth: a case study. New York: Cambridge University Press.  Tallinn) 4–5, 93-104

Ehala, M. (2009) “The Bronze Soldier: identity threat and maintenance in Estonia”. Journal of Baltic Studies 40, 1, 139–158.

Fishman, J. A. (1991) Reversing language shift: theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened language. Clevedon, Philadelphia, and Adelaide: Multilingual Matters.

Fishman, J. A., ed. (2001) Can threatened languages be saved? Reversing language shift, revisited: a 21st century perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Fiškina, E. (2000) “Est’ li buduščee u russkoj kul’tury v Èstonii?” In Russkie v Èstonii na poroge XXI veka: prošloe, nastojaščee, buduščee, 178–182. Tallinn.

Fournier, A. (2002) “Mapping identities: Russian resistance to linguistic Ukrainization in central and Eastern Ukraine”. Europe-Asia Studies 54, 3, 415–433.

Gellner, E. (1996) “Reply to critics”. In The social philosophy of Ernest Gellner, 623–686. J. Hall and I. Jarvie, eds. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Brill and Rodopi.

Hallik, K., M. Meri, R. Taagepera, J. Tammaru, and U. Venesaar (1997) Muulaste integratsioon Eesti ühiskonda. ÜRO arenguprogramm. [Non-Estonians' integration into Estonian society. United Nations development programme.] Tallinn: Avatud Hariduse Liit.

Helemäe, L., A. Plotkin, A. Semjonov, and R. Vöörmann (2000) Identiteedi kujunemise probleemid post-sotsialistlikus keskkonnas (Tallinna rahvusvähemuste kogemuse alusel). Uuringu aru­anne, Tallinn 1999–2000. [Identity formation problems in post-socialist environment (Tallinn ethnic minorities experience. The study report.] Tallinn: Inimõiguste Teabekeskus.

Helemäe, J. (2008) Tööalane eneseteostus ja selle võimaluste tajumine. Aruanne. [Job opportunities for self-realization and perception of it. Report.] Tallinn. Available online at <http://www.>. Accessed on 28.05.2013.

Iskanius, S. (2005) Venäjänkielisten maahanmuuttajaopiskelijoiden kieli-identiteetti. [Russian-speak­ing immigrant students’ linguistic identity.] Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän Yliopisto.

Jakobson, V. (2002a) “Civic, political and ethno-cultural collective identities constructed in the Russian press of Estonia since 1947”. In The challenge of the Russian minority: emerging multicultural democracy in Estonia, 175–184. M. Lauristin and M. Heidmets, eds. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Jakobson, V. (2002b) Role of the Estonian Russian-language media in the integration of the Russian-speaking minority into Estonian society. Doctoral Dissertation. Tampere: Tampere University.

Jansson, A. (2005) Sami language at home and at school: a fieldwork perspective. (Acta Universi­tatis Upsaliensis. Studia Uralica Upsaliensia, 36.) Sweden: Uppsala University.

Jenkins, R. (2004) Social identity. London, New York: Routledge.

Katzenstein, P. and R. Keohane (2006) “Anti-Americanisms: biases as diverse as the country itself”. Policy Review 139, 25–38.

Kaufman, D. (2004) “Acquisition, attrition, and revitalization of Hebrew in immigrant children”. In Language, identity, and immigration, 173–196. E. Olshtein and G. Hornczyk, eds. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, Hebrew University.

Kidd, W. (2002) Culture and identity. T. Heaton and T. Lawson, eds. New York: Palgrave.

Kirch, A. (2004) “The Russian minority in Estonia: a new linguistic reality, changing identities, and the European Union”. In Russian-speaking immigrant population in Finland, 59–78. (Studia Slavica Finlandensia, 21.) Helsinki.

Kirch, M. and A. Kirch (1995) “Ethnic relations: Estonians and non-Estonians”. Nationalities Papers 23, 1, 53.

Komondouros, M. and E. McEntee-Atalianis (2007) “Language attitudes, shift and the ethno-linguistic vitality of the Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul”. Journal of Multi­lingual and Multicultural Development 28, 5, 365–384. Available online at <http://ejournals.ebsco. com/direct.asp?ArticleID=4ADABC9473C29C93CC39>. Accessed on 29.05.2014.

Korts, K. and R. Kõuts (2002) “Rahvustevaheline kommunikatsioon Eesti meedias”. [The communica­tion between nations in Estonian media.] In A. Valk, ed. Eesti ja eestlased võrdlevas perspektiivis. [Estonia and the Estonians in comparative perspective.] Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli kirjastus.

Kõuts, R. and Tammpuu, P. (2002) “Changing media discourse on minority issues: from ignorance towards recognition”. In The challenge of the Russian minority: emerging multicultural democracy in Estonia, 305–316. M. Lauristin, M. Heidmets, eds. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

LaFromboise, T., H. L. K. Coleman, and J. Gerton (1993) “Psychological impact of biculturalism: evidence and theory”. Psychological Bulletin 114, 395–412.

Laitin, D. D. (1998) Identity in formation: the Russian-speaking populations in the near abroad. Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press.

Laitin, D. D. (2000) Culture and national identity: ‘the East’ and European integration. San Domenico: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre.

Laitin, D. D. (2003) “Three models of integration and the Estonian/Russian reality”. Journal of Baltic Studies 34, 2, 197–222.

Lauristin, M. and P. Vihalemm (2004) “Sissejuhatus: uurimuse “Mina. Maailm. Meedia” metodo­loogiast ja tähendusest”. [Introduction: the study “I. The World. Media” methodology and meaning.] In V. Kalmus, M. Lauristin, and P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, eds. Eesti elavik 21. sajandi algul: Ülevaade uurimuse “Mina. Maailm. Meedia” tulemustest, 23–28. [Estonian lifeworld at the beginning of the 21st century: Review of results of the study “I. The World. Media”] Tartu.

Lauristin, M. (2008) “Eesti ühiskonna valmisolek integratsiooniks”. – In Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2007, 81–86. [“Estonian society readiness for integration”. In Estonian Human Development Report.] Tallinn.

Liebkind, K. (1995) “Dispersial xenophobia and acculturative stress: refugees in Finland”. In Multi­culturalism in the Nordic societies. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Seminar for Researchers on Migration and Ethnic Relations: Final Report, 261–273. J. Hjarnø, ed. Copenhagen: ThemaNord.

Massenko, L. (2004) Mova i suspil’stvo: postkolonial’nyjvy mir. [Language and society: postcolonial dimension.] Kyiv.

Massenko, L. (2008) “Movna sytuacija Ukrajiny: sociolingvistyčnyj analiz. [Language situation in Ukraine: a sociolinguistic analysis.] In Movna polityka ta movna sytuacija v Ukrajini: analiz ta rekomendaciji, 6–131. J. Besters-Dilger, ed. [Language Policy and Language Situation in Ukraine: Analysis and Recommendations.] Kyiv.

Masso, A. (2002) Eesti venekeelne elanikkond: kollektiivse identiteedi ümberkujunemise teedest siirde­ühiskonnas. [Estonia's Russian-speaking population: the transformation ways of collective identity in transition society.] Master theses. Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

McAdams, D. P. (1997) “The case for unity in the (post)modern self: a modest proposal”. In Self and identity, 106–136. R. D. Ashmore and L. Jussim, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Melvin, N. (1995) Russians beyond Russia: the politics of national identity. London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Mills, J. (2001) “Being bilingual: perspectives of third generation Asian children on language culture and identity”. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 4, 6, 383–402.

Müüripeal, E. (2006) “Vähemusrahvuste emakeelne haridus”. [Minorities in the mother tongue education.] Haridus (Tallinn) 3–4, 18–22.

Müüripeal, E. (2012) Rahvuskultuuriseltside pühapäevakoolide hetkeseis ja tulevik. [National associa­tion Sunday schools current situation and future.] Available online at <http://>. Accessed on 12.09.2014.

Nesdale, D., R. Rooney, and L. Smith (1997) “Migrant ethnic identity and psychological distress”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 28, 569–588.

Parring, A.-M., M. Vähi, and E. Käärik (1997) Statistilise andmetöötluse algõpetus. [Elementary instruction of statistical data processing.] Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli kirjastus.

Pavelson, M. (2004) “Eestivenelased – kas rahvus- või tööpoliitika sihtrühm?” [Estonian Russians – whether ethnic or labor policy target group?] In Eesti sotsiaalteaduste aastakonverents IV. Ettekannete ja teeside kogumik, 227–229. R. Vetik, ed. [Estonian social sciences annual conference IV. A collection of abstracts of the papers.] Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

Pavlenko, A. (2006) “Russian as lingua franca”. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 26, 78–99.

Pavlenko, A. (2008) “Russian in post-Soviet countries”. Russian Linguistics 32, 59–80.

Phinney, J. S., S. Dupont, C. Espinosa, J. Revill, and K. Sanders (1994) Ethnic identity and American identification among ethnic minority youths. Swets and Zeitlinger: Lisse.

Proos, I. (2000) “Eestivenelaste keeleoskus ja suhtlemissuutlikkus”. [Estonian Russians language skills and ability to communicate.] In Integratsioon Eesti ühiskonnas, 37–40. [Integration in Estonian society.] Tallinn.

Rannut, M. (2009) “Threats to national language in Europe”. In National and European Language Policies. G. Stickel, ed. Contributions to the annual conference 2007 of EFNIL in Riga. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Rannut, Ü. (2005) Keelekeskkonna mõju vene õpilaste eesti keele omandamisele ja integratsioonile Eestis. [The environmental impact of the Russian language students in the Estonian language acquisition and integration.] Tallinn: Tallinna Ülikooli kirjastus.

Rannut, Ü. and M. Rannut (2007) “Tallinna õpilaste kodukeel”. [Tallinn students’ home language.] Haridus (Tallinn) 3–4, 7–10.

Rannut, Ü. and M. Rannut (2010a) Tallinna õpilaste kodukeele uuring, I osa: vene keele mõju Tallinna õpilaste kodukeelele. [Tallinn students’ home language survey, Part I; Russian influence in students’ home language in Tallinn.] Tallinn: Integratsiooni Uuringute Instituut.

Rannut, Ü. and M. Rannut (2010b) “Russification of non-Estonian pupils in Tallinn”. Estonian Papers in Applied Linguistics 6, 243–259.

REL (2011) = Eesti Statistikaameti andmed: rahva ja eluruumide loendus 2011. [Estonian Statistical data: Population and Housing Census in 2011.] Available online at < 64309>. Accessed on 02.05.2012.

Potowski, K. (2004) “Spanish language shift in Chicago”. Southwest Journal of Linguistics 23, 1, 87–116.

Ruutsoo, R. (2002) “Discursive conflict and Estonian post-communist nation-building”. In The challenge of the Russian minority: emerging multicultural democracy in Estonia, 31–54. M. Lauristin and M. Heidmets, eds. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Saks, K., T. Lukas, M. Lauristin, M. Meri, K. Ojuland, M. Pavelson, R. Taagepera, M. Rannut and, M. Heidmets (2000) Integratsioon Eesti ühiskonnas 2000–2007. Riiklik programm. Kiidetud heaks Vabariigi Valitsuse poolt 14.03.2000. [Integration in Estonian society 2000–2007. National program. Approved by the Government on 14th March in 2000.] Tallinn: Merkest.

Shannon, V. P. (2007) “Threat perception and the psychology of constructivism”. International Studies Review 9, 2, 259–261.

Siraj-Blatchford, I. (1996) “Values, culture and identity in early childhood education”. International Journal of Early Years Education 4, 2, 63–70.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000) Linguistic genocide in education – or worldwide diversity and human rights? Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Tabouret-Keller, A. (2000) “Language and identity”. – In The handbook of sociolinguistics, 315–326. F. Conlmas, ed. Oxford. Blackwell Publishers.

Vahtin, N., O. Žironkina, I. Liskovec, and E. Romanova (2003) Novye jazyki novyx gosudarstv: javlenija na styke blizkorodstvennyx jazykov na postsovetskom prostranstve. Available online at <>. Accessed on 21.11.2013.

Valdmaa, S. and K. Hallik (2002) Mitmekultuuriline maailm pedagoogilisest aspektist: õppevahend kõrgkoolidele. [Multicultural World in pedagogical perspectives: studying material for higher education.] Tallinn: Jaan Tõnissoni Instituut.

Valk, A. (2003) “Identiteet”. [Identity.] – In Isiksusepsühholoogia, 225–251. J. Allik, A. Realo and K. Konstabel, eds. [Personality psychology.] Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli kirjastus.

Valk, A. and K. Karu (1999) “Attitudinal and behavioural attachment to the group: symbolic and concrete ethnic identity”. In Intercultural communication and changing national identities, 73–87. M. Lauristin and L. Rahnu, eds. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Verschik, A. (2001) “Interferentsi mehhanismidest ja vene-eesti kontaktidest”. [Interferents mechanisms and Russian-Estonian contacts.] Keel ja Kirjandus (Tallinn) 8, 529–542.

Verschik, A. (2005) “The language situation in Estonia”. Journal of Baltic Studies 36, 3, 283–316.

Verschik, A. (2010) “Contacts of Russian in the post-Soviet space”. Applied Linguistics Review 1, 1, 85–127.

Vetik, R. (1999) Inter-ethnic relations in Estonia 1988–1998. Tampere: University of Tampere.

Vetik, R. and J. Helemäe, eds (2011) The Russian second generation in Tallinn and Kohtla-Järve. (The TIES Study in Estonia. IMISCOE Reports.) Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Vihalemm, T. (1999) Formation of collective identity among Russophone population of Estonia. PhD theses. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Vihalemm, T. (2002) “Theoretical perspectives on the formation of new civic identity in Estonia”. – In The challenge of the Russian minority: emerging multicultural democracy in Estonia, 165–173. M. Lauristin and M. Heidmets, eds. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

Vihalemm, T. (2004) “Eestlaste ja eestivenelaste eneseidentifikatsioon: sarnane või erinev?”. [Estonians and Estonian Russians self-identification: similar or different?] In Eesti sotsiaal­teaduste aastakonverents IV. Ettekannete ja teeside kogumik, 237–238. R. Vetik, ed. [Estonian social sciences annual conference IV. A collection of abstracts of papers.] Tallinn: Tallinna Pedagoogikaülikooli kirjastus.

Vihalemm, T. and A. Masso (2003) “Identity dynamics of Russian-speakers of Estonia in transition period”. Journal of Baltic Studies 34, 1, 92–116.

Vihalemm, T. (2007) “Kultuurierinevused: identiteet ja väärtused”. [Cultural differences: identity and values.] In Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2007, 67–72. [Estonian Human Development Report 2007.] Tallinn.

Vihalemm, P. (2008) “Informeeritus ja meediakasutus”. In Integratsiooni monitooring 2008. Aru­anne. [Information and media use. In Integration Monitoring Report 2008.] Tallinn. Avail­able online at <>. Accessed on 02.11.2013.

Wendt, A. (1995) “Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics”. In International theory: critical investigations. James Der Derian, ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishers.

Woolhieser, C. (2001) “Language ideology and language conflict in post-Soviet Belarus”. In Language, ethnicity and the state. Vol. 2: Minority languages in Eastern Europe post-1989, 91–122. C. C. O’Reilly, ed. New York: Palgrave.

Back to Issue