This anniversary date allows us to estimate the development of languages in a multicultural republic of the multinational Russian Federation. There is a point of view that, well, one must not worry about the languages, which sooner or later become extinct, so, it is enough to know English and Russian, and possibly Chinese, to walk boldly across the Earth in the 21st century.
Of course, we can confine to these three languages spoken by more than half of the humanity, but we are not bio-robots. And we are the humans. Each of us have or had a father and a mother, they had their fathers and mothers, and so on. My mother sang a lullaby in her native language, my grandfather and my grandmother told me stories and legends about my people in their native language. And for the most of Tatars, it was not those three world`s most popular languages. We learned them later, in school, they later became, perhaps, the languages of bread for us. But the language of our soul and heart is our native languages: Tatar, Chuvash, Mari, Mordvinian, and so on …
For the indigenous peoples of the huge federal state, the globalization is creating new challenges for preservation and development of their native languages, despite the federal and republican constitutional guarantees.
The problem of preservation and development of indigenous languages exists not only in Russia but also in the former Soviet republics, where the languages of main state-nations were proclaimed as a sole official language! There is an interesting example. Two deputies of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, the so-called Nagyz Kazakhs, that were born in the countryside and perfectly knew their native language, have decided to help in learning the Kazakh language to those “Shala Kazakhs” who grew up in towns and who almost ignored their native language. But somehow their conversation, which started in the native language, soon quietly passed into Russian. No one could understand and explain this phenomenon. A convincing explanation was given to me by a deep expert of Tatar, Kazakh and other Turkic languages, our national writer Tufan Minnullin. He said that it is a hard work to teach people their native language. In the last twenty years the Tatar language has not yet regained its position in the Republic as it was in the early 20th century. But when you know the diagnosis, you can find a method of treatment.
For the revival of the Tatar language as a state language you must take into account this remark of our great Tufan. But the Tatars were always optimists and were not afraid of difficulties, they even encourage their neighbors – Chuvashs, Maris, Mordvinians, Udmurts and others by a Tatar slogan “Bez buldyrabyz!” which means “We can do it!”.
Murza Kurbangali Yunusov, Kazan-Almaty