The Language of the Moldovans

The Language of the Moldovans : Romania, Russia, and Identity in an Ex-Soviet Republic

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Who are the Moldovans? The Language of the Moldovans explores this question from the perspective of debates about the languages spoken by the people of this ex-Soviet state. Locating language as a central point of both cohesion and conflict in the region's recent history, the peculiarities of the Moldovans are illustrated by a survey of language attitudes, a series of ethnographic interviews, and extensive observations by the author. The result is an image of an emerging nation that is, at once, similar to the experiences of other ex-Soviet states and uniquely complex. Much of that complexity lies in the population's extensive multilingualism and in uncertainty about the Romanian-ness of the official language. This cross-discipline volume is of great interest to advanced students and researchers of linguistics, political science, and Eastern European studies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 186 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 657.71g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, map
  • 0739114433
  • 9780739114438
  • 942,806

Review quote

This important study explores timely issues in an innovative way that combines qualitative and quantitative analysis...The volume contributes to the literature on the tiny Republic of Moldova. Slavic Review, December 2008 Ciscel's surveys illustrate that individual language use and political stances are less closely related than one might expect, and that a sort of linguistic 'muddling through' is more the norm in everyday life. These insights on the actual practice of language use in mixed regions, along with the importance of networks and context and the persistence of language hierarchies, provide fruitful foundations for further research. Those interested in these sociolinguistic dynamics and prospects for peaceful local coexistence can learn much from this book. Seer, October 2009 Ciscel's contribution is a competently executed example of the socio-linguistic study of languages in contact as it relates to the larger question of identity. In its scope and complexity it remains manageable to the non-expert reader throughout although there is no lack of detail or depth...this study is greatly enhanced by the cultural context the author provides, and this context is a direct reflection of the amount of time he has spent in Moldova and the resulting familiarity he has with the country, its people, and its history. -- Mark J. Elson Slavic and East European Journal Matthew H. Ciscel has gone where most scholars of eastern Europe have feared to tread: into the very center of the complex and contentious issue of Moldovan identity. The modern Republic of Moldova is a culturally mixed borderland where questions of nationality and identity have frequently been mobilized for political gain. On the basis of careful fieldwork and linguistic research, Ciscel unpacks what it means to be Romanian, a Moldovan, or a member of other ethnic and linguistic categories. His sensitivity to the contingent meaning of self and other along this historical frontier is apparent on every page. Ciscel successively combines serious sociolinguistic analysis and first-person narrative to create a detailed and insightful treatment of contemporary Moldova. -- Charles King, Ion Ratiu Associate Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University; author of The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture
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About Matthew H. Ciscel

Matthew H. Ciscel is assistant professor of English at Central Connecticut State University.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Language, Community, and Respect Chapter 2 A Flineur in Chisinau: Introducing the Participants Chapter 3 A Subtle Linguistic Science: Defining Boundaries Chapter 4 A Range of Identities: Breaking the Moldovans Chapter 5 A Survey of Attitudes: Picking the Favorites Chapter 6 A Measure of Proficiency: Predicting Performance Chapter 7 Conclusion: A Tactic of Abeyance Chapter 8 Appendix: Language Situation Survey Responses
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