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Auteur: Salvatore DEL GAUDIO

Co-Auteur(s): IVANOVA Olga University of Salamanca

Bilingualism in Ukraine & pluricentricity of Russian: Intralinguistic perspectives on the non-dominant variety of Ukrainian Russian

Abstract/Résumé: Since CLYNE (1992) defined Russian as a monocentric language, socio-political reorganisation in post-Soviet countries has brought about visible changes in the use of Russian, so that today one may, with reason, speak of the pluricentric character of this language. In some of the successor states such as Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan there is an ongoing debate about the status and the classification criteria to be assigned to Russian. In these countries Russian is gradually acquiring national features, definable as pluricentricity in formation. At present it is not clear yet, which national institution is responsible for the study, and the issues connected with possible standardization processes of ‘national’ varieties of Russian. If we consider the pluricentricity of Russian in the three above mentioned countries, it will emerge that the case of Ukraine is very peculiar. This depends on a series of sociolinguistic factors, e.g. unstable socio-political situation, competition between Russian and Ukrainian to cover some of the functional domains and, last but not least, the historical problem of large-scale contact between the two languages. Crucial to the issues already expressed is the role played in Ukrainian society by the Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism. Therefore, examining the Intralinguistic evolution of the Russian of Ukraine, one should also take into account the influenced exerted by Ukrainian. Although phonetic and lexical variation within Ukrainian Russian is the most evident part of its ‘national’ characterization, morphological and syntactic variation, may occur. The close genetic relationship between these languages in contact determines a high level of common features in their grammatical systems, rendering more complex the study of fluctuating variation in their morphological and syntactic structures. In this contribution we propose a multilateral approach to morphological and syntactic variation within Ukrainian Russian. At the same time the current sociolinguistic situation of the country and the consequent impact of Ukrainian as a contact language on the structure of the non-dominant (national) variety of Russian in Ukraine will also be dealt with. On the basis of empirical data derived from various discourse samples (linguistic landscape, mass-media and spontaneous interactions etc.) we shall analyze grammatical variation within Ukrainian Russian and discuss the subjective perception of the asymmetry existing between the dominant centre of Russian (Russian Federation) and the formation of “national” non-dominant centres of Russian (Ukraine).