Masso, Anu, Katrin Kello, & Valeria Jakobson (2013, January). Üleminek riigikeelsele gümnaasiumiõppele: Vilistlaste seisukohtade Q-metodoloogiline diskursusanalüüs [Transition to state-language instruction in upper secondary schools according to alumni: Q-methodological discourse analysis of individual positions]. Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Uhingu Aastaraamat / Estonian Papers in Applied Linguistics, 9, 161-179. (Estonian) (doi: 10.5128/ERYa9.11)

· Abstract: This article deals with discourses related to the transition to Estonian as the language of instruction in the currently Russian-medium upper secondary schools, based on Q-methodological semi-formalised interviews with alumni (42) of Russian medium schools in three Estonian regions and, for a comparison, in Latvia. Since Q-methodology combines qualitative and quantitative approaches it enabled the authors to conceive subjective meanings as well as patterns therein (discourses) as they relate to this complex topic. The analysis distinguished four discourses based on the interviewees’ agreement with the 63 statements that they were asked to sort (evaluate) and on which they were asked to comment selectively. The most represented discourse (21 individuals representing all the four regions) was ‘valuing the availability of linguistic alternatives’. This title refers to the position that two state languages would eliminate problems rather than create them; agreeing that English was instrumentally more advantageous than Estonian; and valuing the students’ right to choose their language of instruction. Somewhat similar was the ‘resistance to homogenisation’ discourse, represented by four individuals from Estonia, although within this discourse, the critique focused more on instruction (in Estonian) itself (e.g., as detrimental to the student motivation). However, the general necessity for the Russian-speaking population to learn Estonian was also doubted. The ‘linguistic and cultural distanciation’ discourse (two representatives from Estonia) additionally expressed personal pessimism both regarding the state policies and as related to personal mono-linguistic and mono-cultural preferences. Opposed to the previous was the ‘satisfaction with one’s language proficiency and own integration’ discourse, represented by the second largest number of individuals (13), six of whom were from Latvia. This pattern of positions expressed personal optimism as well as agreement with official arguments on the benefits of state language skills and a change of instruction language.

Anu Masso <>studiespersonal cultural distance, geo-cultural mobility, and linguistic communication at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.