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Re: Russian, was: terminal dialect?

From:Mathew Willoughby <sidonian@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 31, 1999, 22:47
Brian Betty wrote:

> Christophe Grandsire wrote: "I think you exagerate the association between > social change and linguistic change. The example I always give is the one > of the Russian Revolutions in 1917. The social change that happened during > that revolution was the most important one any country ever beared during > History. The country, which was very rural and religious, became in less > than 10 years industrial and atheist. No other social change in any other > country can be comparable. BUT, the Russian language didn't change at all > during the revolution. Well, at least, its rate of change didn't change > during the revolution. The social change didn't accelerate the linguistic > change." > > On 3-31-99, Nik Taylor wrote: "Hmm, interesting. However, altho there may > be counterexamples, it still holds as a general rule. I AM rather > surprised that linguistic change wasn't at least temporarily accelerated." > > I would note that I'm not sure of a few of the things C. Grandsire asserts > so boldly - 'the most important one ever beared in History,' for example, > is highly contentious,
> and I do not agree that Russia became atheist and > industrial. Certainly there was great change in the lives of most persons > living within the confines of Russia, but I doubt that atheism set in > instantly and only certain parts of Russia were industrialised overnight.
I believe that Brian is correct. I have known some social workers who have visited post-communist Russia. They report that although the government was *officially* atheist, the ban on religion only drove religion underground. It was common for both Jews and Christians in the USSR to secretly keep their religious traditions alive. It could be argued that the pressure to be atheist caused many to become even more ardent believers in their respective faiths. And, although in industrialized Russia you have a lot of wonderful talk about communism, you still have a large proletariat (formerly known as peasantry) toiling for an elite few (formerly the tzars but later the party). A *nominal* change in social systems does not equal an *actual* change for the average individual.