The Implementation of Language Policy in Ukraine at the Legislative Level: Implications and Prospects

UDC 007:070:342.732

DOI https://doi.org/10.17721/2522-1272.2019.74.1

The Implementation of Language Policy in Ukraine at the Legislative Level: Implications and Prospects

Tetiana Prystupenko, Institute of Journalism, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

ABSTRACT

The relevance of studying the features of language policy implementation in Ukraine at the legislative level is based on the increasing understanding of Ukrainian language importance as an integral component of ensuring a nation’s identity and unity of the people as well as supporting for statehood.

The main objective of the article is to study the implications and prospects for implementation of the language policy in Ukraine, taking into account the latest legislative innovations.

The methodological framework provides for the use of methods of analysis, synthesis and a systematic approach for a comprehensive consideration of the processes of implementation of national language policy at the legislative level. To study the changes in the legislative regulation of language policy during the period of independence of Ukraine, the methods of study of documents and retrospective analysis were applied. The attitude of scientists to the situation of bilingualism has been also studied using the methods of comparison and generalization.

As a result of the research, it was revealed that formation of a clear language policy is an essential condition for promoting the cohesion of a multi-ethnic Ukrainian society, inasmuch as the existing situation of bilingualism leads to a disunity of the nation. Although the Ukrainian language is defined by the state at the constitutional level, however, its introduction into all spheres of public life until 2014 was quite slow, especially in the eastern and southern regions. Since 2010, the language policy was actually aimed at reducing the use of the Ukrainian language and the dominance of Russian in the information and cultural space of Ukraine. Since 2012, Ukraine had a law that provided for legitimization of “regional languages” in certain areas (it was declared as unconstitutional one in February 2018). The prospect of implementation of language policy at the legislative level is adoption of the Law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” (passed the first reading on October 4, 2018), which defines the Ukrainian language as the only state language, establishing the requirements for fluency in the Ukrainian language and its use in the work of state authorities and public areas.

KEYWORDS: language policy; language legislation; Ukrainian language; official language; bilingualism.

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