The Buryat Intellectual Migration to Western Europe from the Perspective of Friendship Connections and Foreign Languages Competencies

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Abstract


The article examines the Russian ‘ethnic’ migration on the example of Buryat migrants in Western Europe. It is noted that this topic is poorly studied and that the group under investigation belongs to intellectual migration. The subject of the study is foreign language competence, peculiarities of the functioning of foreign languages in post-migration life, as well as the relationship between languages and the social communication circle of Buryat migrants. Based on the materials of interviews and ethnographic observations, a conclusion is made about the change in the nature of modern migration towards increased mobility and transmigration, the blurring of the boundaries between temporary, circular and other types of migration. This primarily affects young people, leading to the weakening of group identification strategies, including ethnic ones, and to the strengthening of individual as well as cosmopolitan tendencies. In communication with friends and partners a wide repertoire of Western and Eastern foreign languages is used, among which English certainly dominates. Multilingual linguistic competencies by Buryat migrants are closely related to their high level of education and are used as a symbolic resource to achieve professional and personal goals. Language strategies and practices vary widely, depending on migrants’ life plans, family status, and a number of other external and internal factors.


About the authors

Erzhen V. Khilkhanova

Institute of Linguistics of RAS National Language Relations Research Center

Author for correspondence.
Email: erzhen.khilkhanova@iling-ran.ru
1/1, building 28, B. Kislovsky, Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor, Leading Researcher

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