This article analyses the effects of individual, family, community, and societal factors on language socialisation in Russian-speaking (RS) families from Russia and Latvia in Ireland. Sixty semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2008–2011 with RS parents and their children between 10 and 19 years of age. The analysis reveals that the Russian and Latvian cultural groups have different status in Ireland as well as different attitudes to their languages, which result in different approaches to language maintenance. The observed dissimilarities in the two cultural groups problematise studying Russian speakers as one group. Furthermore, the current study provides evidence that the family level is seen as crucial for heritage language maintenance by the adult participants, but it is the societal level that creates an impetus for the RS adolescents to learn Russian through the opportunity to sit a high-stakes language exam.
Source: Russian Journal of Communication, first published online 22 May 2015.