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Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

Like a detective at a crime scene, chief language inspector Antons Kursitis scans the lobby of a hotel in downtown Riga. He spots a brochure that lists hotel services in Russian only, a flagrant violation of Latvia's language laws.

 

"Protecting the Latvian language — that is, safeguarding its supremacy over Russian — has been a priority here since the Soviet occupation ended two decades ago. Those efforts face their biggest test yet on Saturday, in a referendum on whether to make Russian the country's second official language."  What historical, political and demographic factors shape this cultural issue of language?  Why is language often seen as so crucial to cultural identity?  

 

The Latvian voters have spoken: in a massive voter turn-out, they struck down the referendum that sought to make Russian an official language.  "Latvia is the only place throughout the world where Latvian is spoken, so we have to protect it," said Martins Dzerve, 37, in Riga, Latvia's capital. "But Russian is everywhere."  For more on the vote, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17083397    


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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:14 AM
It is definitely important for Latvians to hold on tightly to their culture. However, the Soviet Union caused Russian culture and language to spread throughout the USSR and countries are feeling the effects today. There are millions of Russians in former satellite nations who hold on to their Russian culture. At the same time, these nations wish to regain their national pride especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a difficult conundrum, but I do agree with the Latvians' decision.
Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 2014 8:37 PM

It was interesting to read that in order to become a Latvian citizen you need to speak Latvian.I can see the point of view from both sides.Russian speaking residents want to be treated equally and Latvian citizens want to keep their cultural identity. However it does seem that there may be some deeper issues of discrimination that a unified language may not eliminate completely.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 5, 4:54 PM

About 35 percent of Latvia's population (5,000,000) contains Russian ancestors. Russia does not want to give Latvia credit for practicing Russian languages and the Russian heritage because Russian feels like since they take up about 11% of the world, they don't need to share their heritage with any other country. It's kind of like copyright laws that Russia seems to have.

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Visualizing Regional Population Statistics

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.

 

This is an excellent video for population and demographic units, but also for showing regional and spatial patterns within the global dataset (since terms like 'overpopulation' and 'carrying capacity' inherently have different meanings in distinct places and when analyzed at various scales). It is also a fantastic way to visualize population data and explain the ideas that are foundational for the Demographic Transition Model.

 

Tags: population, scale, visualization, Demographics, models, unit 2 population, sustainability, regions, spatial.


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Sarah Ann Glesenkamp's curator insight, September 17, 2014 7:55 PM

Unit 2

Mohamed Mohamed's curator insight, October 13, 2014 4:03 PM

This video describes and explains how we got to a population of 7 billion people so fast

Mohamed Mohamed's curator insight, October 13, 2014 4:04 PM

It also uses water to demonstrate it.

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Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid

Over 27 and unmarried? In China, you’re an old maid | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

January and February are sweet times for most Chinese — they enjoy family reunions during the spring festival, which this year fell on January 23, and they celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is well-liked in China.

 

Gender roles in cultural norms change from country to country.  What also needs to be understood is how the demographic situation of a given country influences these patterns. 


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Marissa Roy's curator insight, December 5, 2013 1:32 PM

It is interesting to see this as in American culture, marrying in your 20s is not a necessity anymore, it's almost unexpected. With so many men to choose from, these girls have time to find a man. The culture is going to shift as these ladies get married later in life.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 14, 2014 9:13 PM

Being 27 years old and unmarried in China considers you to be an old maid? I had to do a double take when I saw this. In the United States, 27 years old is around the average age a couple decides to get married. In China, Valentine's day is a really well liked holiday. Therefore, you would think that there would be excessive amounts of marriages, especially around this time. However, we know about the one child policy put into place at China. I can imagine that this might play a role because of the gender imbalances. As horrible as this sounds, in China, they call the women who are thirty and single "leftovers". During the season of the Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, the "leftovers" just get questioned about their relationship status or go to matchmaking parties. However, the "leftovers" are said to have three good things; good career, good education and good looks. This is interesting because if they had all these good qualities, why would they still be single at 30 years old? As the article continues, we talk about true love and believe it or not, some "leftovers" still believe in true love and that they may experience that one day.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, December 15, 2014 4:14 PM

The fact that success relatively young women are seen as leftovers in China is a completely foreign idea to me.  n the United States we are seeing that more and more women are marrying later in life after they have received an education, higher education and have been established in a career.  Emily Liang is an extremely successful women who should be proud of her accomplishments, yet has to declare herself as "divorced" in order for men to think something isn't "wrong" with her.  It is extremely obvious that the role and view of women in China is significantly distorted.