ASPECTS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND ETHNIC IDENTITY (On the Example of Georgia’s Multi-Ethnic Society )
In the current paper, the authors, on the example of a multi-ethnic community in Georgia, discuss aspects of the relationship between language and ethnic identity and define different ethnolinguistic groups in this regard.
Most ethnic minorities in Georgia attach special importance to the preservation of their native language and traditional culture, which is vital for cultural integrity. Many densely populated ethnic groups have retained their traditional culture, native language, and ethnic identity, however, some have lost their heritage language; there is also a group that has undergone an identity transformation for various reasons and even several times.
Based on the examples regarding the Georgian multiethnic society, the article shows the role of language in the formation of ethnic identity and identifies the factors contributing to its transformation, either to the identity preservation or its change. These are ethnic environment, language and religion, type of culture, political background, time factor, type of settlement.
Georgian reality is a good confirmation of the dynamism of ethnic identity, which changes over time depending on the goals of interaction and the situations in which individual groups find themselves.
Keywords: mother tongue, ethnic identity, ethnic minorities, identity transformation