CLIO mr brice - page 7

Thus this increased nationalist
feeling and fostered more
discontent, a sentiment only
exacerbated by punishment for
resistance. The imposition of
Russian did subdue some of the
population, assimilating them
further into Russia. Yet in other
ways it reminded the Polish of
the power of their own language,
heightening the tension in an
already volatile nationalist situation.
The story of the Russian language
through the 19th Century shows
a nation struggling to define itself
culturally. Originally attracted by
the ideals of the West, it mimicked
their language and culture. Yet later
in the century, Slavophilia took
hold; first government censured,
then government sanctioned. The
idea of Russia as a superior and
individual nation took hold, and the
creation of literary Russian allowed
Russian intellectuals to thrive in
their own language. Later, having
first rejected and then embraced its
own language, it tried to impose
this on other states in the Empire,
with little success. This in turn
increased the potency of these
countries’ own native languages,
with harsh punishments for
attempting to speak them fostering
further discontent. This is a pattern
seen again and again in history. In
South Africa in the 1980s, language
conflict combined with apartheid
forced some to be second rate
citizens; in Turkey with the banning
of Kurdish until 1991, and they are
full fighting for full language rights.
Native languages possess the power
to inspire and sustain nationalist
movements, providing a national
identity and a unifying force.
07
By Lizzy Diggins
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