Language Use and Language Attitude among Ukrainian Canadians on the Prairies: An Ethnographic Analysis


  • Ashley Halko-Addley University of Alberta
  • Natalia Khanenko-Friesen St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan



Utilizing an ethnographic perspective and oral history interviews, the article examines Ukrainian language usage among Ukrainian Canadians in Western Canada based on a content analysis of one hundred extended “life histories” recorded in Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2002-03 for the project Sociocultural Change amongst the Ukrainian Canadians on the Prairies: An Oral History. The discussion here focuses on language use and language attitude among the English-speaking participants. This article considers the entire project data but focuses on a pre-selected sample of ten interviews and examines the correlation between language attitude and community participation. It is asserted that increased community participation brings about changes in the attitudes held by Ukrainian Canadians toward the Ukrainian language in Western Canada. The authors argue that the use of the Ukrainian language in Western Canada unfolds within two domains of cultural practice—habitual and performative, and two functions of language use are identified and discussed—practical/pragmatic and symbolic/ideological.


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