Latvian Concept of Linguistic Integration: A contribution to language policy research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Soviet Union changed the ethnic composition of Latvia’s population, and as a consequence, Latvian was losing its position in many spheres of public communication. To raise the profile of Latvian, scholars and policymakers have promoted a policy of coercive linguistic integration since the 1990s. Besides the communicative function, this political concept attributes the function of social cohesion to language. This function has not been exposed in academic literature. Contextual analysis of propositions about linguistic integration reveals a legacy of Romantic notions on language maintenance as if a shared language
would consolidate individuals into a nation. Proponents of linguistic integration assumed that individuals were not cooperative beings, and for the sake of social cohesion, had to follow a mandatory monolinguistic norm, which enables the nationwide transmission of thoughts; a common language delimited ethnic boundaries and conveyed the favoured ethnic group’s worldview, which is fixed in and mediated by texts. Linguistic integration is expected to provide the inclusion of other ethnicities. Nevertheless, the scholars fail to distinguish language from ethnicity, which remains a salient tool of ethnic categorisation.
Beliefs in social homogeneity and language as being a strong and transparent semiotic code underpin the concept of linguistic integration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContributions to Baltic-Slavonic Relations in Literature and Languages
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays
EditorsStephan Kessler
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherLogos Verlag Berlin GmbH
ISBN (Print)978-3-8325-5497-2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Integration
  • Latvia
  • Language ideology
  • Language policy

Field of Science*

  • 6.2 Languages and Literature

Publication Type*

  • 3.2. Articles or chapters in other proceedings other than those included in 3.1., with an ISBN or ISSN code


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