Priming Language Political Issues as Issues of State Security: A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Analysis of Language Ideological Debates in Estonian Media Before and After the Ukrainian Crisis

Forskningsoutput: Kapitel i bok/rapport/Conference proceedingKapitel samlingsverk


Soon after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014, a peak moment in the events commonly referred to as the Ukraine crisis (Wilson A, Ukraine crisis. What it means to the West? Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014), media in Estonia and abroad started to speculate about whether Russia would stop at Crimea, or if Estonia, with its sizable Russian-speaking minority, would be the next Ukraine (Schneider T, Cheung T, The crisis in Ukraine. An Estonian Perspective. Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung,, 2015). Inspired by Rajagopalan R Cur Issue Lang Plan 9(2):179–192, 2008 claim that a country’s language policy remains sensitive to the geopolitical changes in the region where the country is located, this article analyzes language ideological debates in the popular Estonian online news portal Delfi, which exists in both Russian and Estonian, before and after the tragic events in Ukraine. The importance of mass media in Russia’s foreign and diaspora policy in the Baltics and elsewhere in the “near abroad” had been discussed in Wilson A, Ukraine crisis. What it means to the West? Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014, 175), Dougherty and Kaljurand (2015), thus the aim of our study was to analyze how events in Ukraine influenced the presentation of language political issues in Estonian media. For that purpose, one corpus of articles published in the online news portal Delfi between August 2013 and February 2015 in Russian and the other in Estonian were created. All of the articles contained references to language policy-related issues, such as language status, integration and the fate of Russian schools in Estonia. The method used for the analysis of changes in language ideological debates combined quantitative and qualitative tools from corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) (Partington A, Dugid A, Taylor C, Patterns and meanings in discourse: theory and practice in corpus-assisted discourse studies. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2013), tools previously declared to be suitable for the analysis of changes in political discourses (Ädel A, The Routledge handbook of Corpus linguistics (pp. 551–604). Routledge, New York, 2010). The results of the analysis demonstrate, similar to the results in Kulyk V, Language policy and language situation in Ukraine: analysis and recommendations (pp. 15–56). Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main, 2009, 17), that language ideological debates tend to heat up periodically, and usually around the times of elections, but also that language political issues may become salient at moments of foreign and security political crises (Hult F, Pietikäinen SJ, Lang Polit 13(1):1–20, 2014). During these moments, a nexus is created through discursive means between language planning and security activities (Liddicoat A, Curr Issue Lang Plan 9(2):129–153, 2008, 130), framing or priming (Mutz D, American J Polit Sci 36(2):483–508, 1992) the public’s understanding of language policy as completely a question of state security.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik
Titel på värdpublikationLanguage Policy Beyond the State
Undertitel på gästpublikationLanguage Policy
RedaktörerMaarja Siiner, Kadri Koreinik, Kara Brown
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-3-319-52993-6
ISBN (tryckt)978-3-319-52991-2
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2017 mar 15
Peer review utfördNej


NamnLanguage Policy
ISSN (elektroniskt)1571-5361