The Future of Russian: Language Culture in the Era of New Technology
This project deals with a phenomenon of global relevance, and its results will therefore be of interest to a wider audience than exclusively Russian studies.
New media technology has radically changed the conditions of linguistic communication worldwide. In Russia, the technological revolution has taken place at a time of dramatic political and social upheaval, which further reinforces the process and its consequences in several areas, including language development, text production and text dissemination. Traditional forms, means and contexts of communication are challenged as new genres and media develop, and these developments have an impact on language change and linguistic culture. Trends in the centralization and censorship of the more conventional media compound the effects of new technologies: as television stations and newspapers become increasingly controlled by interests controlled by or sympathetic to the political leaders, the Internet is rapidly becoming the outlet of choice for voices of opposition.
In investigating the impact on Russian linguistic culture of new technologies, the proposed project has three main focuses: (1) “Russian on the Internet”: e.g. the changing conditions for the development of, and the interrelationship between, the standard language and non-standard linguistic varieties; (2) “The Russian literary Internet”: current trends within text production and text dissemination, with particular reference to linguistic aspects, as well as to the idea of a “literary canon” as opposed to “non-canonical” and counter-cultural tendencies; (3) “Linguistic negotiation on the Internet”: from state-funded linguistic cultivation initiatives to folk linguistic and lay discussions of language.
Interdisciplinary in scope and organization, the project aims to bring together scholars, insights and approaches from different fields, such as sociolinguistics, new media studies, communication theory, literary sociology, and electronic art. It deals with a phenomenon of global relevance, and its results will therefore be of interest to a wider audience than exclusively Russian studies.