Saturday, 21 May 2011

Q43: Is 'Doukhobor Dialect' Defended?

In the May issue of Iskra (Castlegar, British Columbia), Petro (Peter) Hlookoff writes that after the tragic loss of Alex Harshenin in 1977, 'nobody' is defending the Doukhobor dialect in the English language.

Not so. Dr. Gunter Schaarschmidt (Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, BC) has for the past several years been studying and defending the Doukhobor-Russian language dialect.


search of Google Books shows much documentation of "Doukhbor Russian."

Personally, the so-called 'Doukhobor dialect' is interesting as a minor artifact of life, but the real future is in learning Standard Russian, one of the important international languages of the world.

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

1 comment:

  1. Gunter Schaarschmidt, University of Victoria28 March 2012 at 05:58

    Thanks are due to Koozma Tarasoff for pointing out my many years of research on the Doukhobor Russian language: the dialect as well as the ritual style. It should be pointed out, however, that since Alex Harshenin’s pioneering work in the 1960s and 70s there have been both Canadian scholars and scholars from the Russian Federation who have paid attention to the dialect — their work is duly acknowledged in my publications.

    As to the dialect being an “artifact” — far from it: it has served the Doukhobors well ever since its formation in the beginning of the nineteenth century and had survived the passage to Canada well into the 1970s in Canada as the main vehicle of communication in family and work, just like other regional and supraregional dialects in Russia.

    Dialects like small languages are dying all over the world as they are unable to compete with major languages, and the Doukhobor dialect is no exception. After the passing of the oldest, currently living generation, the Doukhobor dialect may not be around any more simply because there will be no speakers left. It will become a well-documented museum language unless last-minute revitalization efforts bring it back to life starting with the youngest generation of Doukhobors.

    Gunter Schaarschmidt, University of Victoria

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