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11 JEMIE 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/jemie2012 and id is 1 raw text is: S.                  Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe.
aS    JEM    IE    Vol ll, Nol, 2012,1-16
Journalhn Ehnpotics and
Mlzority Iss       Copyright © ECMI 24 April 2012
This article is located at:
Introduction to the Special Issue:
Political and Economic Obstacles of Minority Language Maintenance
Janne Saarikivi and Heiko F. Marten*
University ofHelsinki and Tallinn University
Over the past decades, problems related to linguistic minorities and their well-being,
as well as to minority languages and their maintenance, have developed as an
independent branch of minority studies. Studies of language in society and
sociolinguistics, strategies of minority language survival and the empowerment of
their speakers have produced a considerable output of case studies and theoretical
writings (to mention some of the most notable writings: Fishman, 1991; Romaine,
1995; Crystal, 2000; Nettle and Romaine, 2000; Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000; Extra and
Gorter, 2001; Hale and Hinton, 2001; Harrisson, 2007; Arzoz, 2008; Edwards, 2010;
May, 2012).
In this multifaceted field of investigation, language use, language practices,
language policies and language politics represent interrelated aspects of social and
linguistic relations that cannot be meaningfully addressed from a point of view of one
scientific discipline only. This is specially the case when one wants to understand
processes of language loss and maintenance, or the revitalization and empowerment
of a language community. Such processes are linguistic expressions of complex social
seffings, and reflect group and individual identities that in turn express changing
systems of collective values, human networks, fashions and social practices.
The interrelationship between political and economic participation and rights
to land and other resources with ethnic and linguistic maintenance -the theme uniting
the articles of this volume -is also a very complex one and reflected in a variety of

Correspondence details: Janne Saarikivi. Email: jsaariki@mappi.helsinki.fi. Heiko F. Marten. Email:

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