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After NewspeakLanguage Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin$
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Michael S. Gorham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452628

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452628.001.0001

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In Defense of the National tongue

In Defense of the National tongue

Guardians, Legislators, and Monitors of the Norm

(p.98) 4 In Defense of the National tongue
After Newspeak

Michael S. Gorham

Cornell University Press

This chapter begins by describing the varieties of purist discourse in the debates over language in the 1990s, showing how genetic, historical, and ecological metaphors of language in these writings combined to project a vision of language identity that was essentially linked to more general notions of Russian national identity, “language identity,” or “mentality.” While never truly absent from public discourse, the purist voice enjoyed a resurgence of cultural capital as the legitimacy of “free speech” grew increasingly suspect. Meanwhile, a more influential trend of linguistic self-monitoring emerged in mass media outlets over the latter part of the 1990s. From popular self-help manuals and newspaper columns to radio programs dedicated to monitoring usage, the media themselves devoted growing attention to issues of language moderation and normalization—be it through exposés of distorted language on the part of leading public figures or the generation of practical resources for everyday users.

Keywords:   purist discourse, language identity, Russian national identity, Russian language identity, Russian mentality, mass media, language moderation, language normalization

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