The Bilingualism Of The Lipovan Russians

At the beginning of their existence on the Romanian territory, the ancestors of the present Lipovan Russians were speaking only their maternal language, since they didn't know any other language. They were mono-lingual. In time, since they were in the midst of the Romanian population and had to communicate with the latter for practical necessities of everyday life they got used to talking in Romanian, they borrowed Romanian words and expressions, and started to understand Romanian. True enough, Lipovan Russians didn't become bi-lingual all of a sudden, but decades after their settlement on the Romanian territory, because at the beginning they lived in seclusion, avoiding contact with the neighboring population. Nowadays, Lipovan Russians speak freely both their native language and Romanian. Nevertheless, we witness an unwanted phenomenon: the young generation is using less and less frequently the maternal language in family circles composed of close acquaintances and friends, preferring to use Romanian instead. Youngsters start to forget Russian. Many young people experience serious difficulty with their mother tongue, Russian. from Zorile magazine, 7/

by Andrei Ivanov