Orthographic Reform and Language Planning in Russian History




Conatser Segura, Sylvia

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An oft-neglected topic of book history and culture, both in histories of writing development and in cultural histories of Russia and Eastern Europe, is the rich history of orthographic reform and language planning in Russian and Slavic history. Even more neglected are the cultural, religious, and political drivers of language planning and the relationship of identity to writing systems. This thesis aims to correct this oversight by synthesizing histories on the development of written Russian until its codification by Peter the Great in the early 18th century as well as the language reforms accomplished under the Bolsheviks in the 20th century. It will present analysis on motivations for these two periods of language reform as well as impulses behind resistance thereof; the resulting evidence will demonstrate the close ties of political and cultural, particularly religious, identity to the use of written systems as illustrated by the relationship of Eastern Orthodoxy to the Cyrillic alphabet.



Linguistics, Russian history, Russian language, Language planning, Language policy