Factors affecting the knowledge of Chuvash language amongst school students in Russia


  • Hèctor Alòs i Font Chuvash State Institute of Humanities
  • Edgar Demetrio Tovar-García National Research University Higher School of Economics




Chuvash language, bilingual, socioeconomic status, settlement, Russia


This paper empirically studies the impact of socioeconomic status and type of settlement on Chuvash language knowledge in the Chuvash Republic, Russia. In addition to presenting our survey results of 2,848 schoolchildren from September, 2012 to October, 2013, this research uses logit regressions to test the effect of social class, family income, parental education, rural origin, ethnicity, parental language proficiency, population size and distance to the capital city (Shupashkar/Cheboksary) on Chuvash language knowledge. In contrast to most of the previous literature, we do not analyze the effect of migration on language; the surveyed schoolchildren were usually born in Chuvashia, Russia. Our findings suggest that socioeconomic status, embodied principally in schoolchildren’s rural origin, has a negative impact on Chuvash knowledge. Schoolchildren living and studying in bigger towns and cities, and near the capital, are less likely to have a good Chuvash knowledge. These results are robust to different indicators of the key explanatory variables and econometric methods.

Author Biographies

Hèctor Alòs i Font, Chuvash State Institute of Humanities

Hèctor Alòs i Font is a staff member of the Chuvash State Institute of Humanities, Shupashkar/Cheboksary, Chuvashia, Russia, where he is doing research on the language situation in Chuvashia, especially in family language transmission, language attitudes, language-in-education policies, and linguistic landscape. Up to now most of his publications have been in Russian. Recent publications in English include “Chuvash Language in Chuvashia’s Instruction System: An Example of Educational Language Policies in Post-Soviet Russia” (Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe 13(4), 2014) and “Education in Udmurt and Chuvash as minority languages of Russia” (InterDisciplines 5(2), 2014, with E. Protassova and E. Bulatova).

Edgar Demetrio Tovar-García, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Edgar Demetrio Tovar-García holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Barcelona, later he made a postdoctoral stay at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has worked as Short Term Consultant of the World Bank. Nowadays, he is working as Associate Professor at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia. He has more than 20 publications in respectable journals, and his interests include economics of education, education policy, and econometric modelling, particularly regression analysis with panel data.



How to Cite

Alòs i Font, H., & Tovar-García, E. D. (2015). Factors affecting the knowledge of Chuvash language amongst school students in Russia. Sociolinguistic Studies, 9(4), 345–372. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v9i4.26771