A new sociolinguistic study “Language ideology and mass media (television)” is available electronically

tvThe aim of study is to analyse the demonstration of official language ideology of state in television, taking into account that it is the most popular medium. The aim of the official language policy in Latvia is to ensure the protection and development of the Latvian language, the sole official language of Latvia, paying attention that it should serve as the common language of mutual communication of all inhabitants of Latvia. The results of interviews with experts and representatives of television stations were analysed having regard of data of quantitative researches.

In order to facilitate the development of Latvian and its use in every domain of life, the Latvian language should be at the top of the language hierarchy in all domains, including the mass media. The latter, especially television that is the most popular medium, have a significant role in forming and influencing public opinion in Latvia.

This research indicates that on television Latvian is not used enough. Thus in this domain the official language is not at the top of language hierarchy. According to the interviewed specialists, this problem arises from liberal regulations and minimal state interference that allow private businesses to focus on making profits, even at the expense of the Latvian language.

The specialists interviewed in this research point out two aspects that link language ideology to television. Firstly, it is clear that Latvian is not used enough on television at the moment. Secondly, language use on television is often not considered qualitative enough, especially by journalists. The Latvian language situation is such that it would not be enough to use good language on television in order to broaden the use of Latvian in society. As long as Latvian is not used enough in the mass media, full attention cannot be paid to the issues of language quality.

This study is published in Latvian, but it is accompanied by a summary in English.

The study is available here.