Only 5% of Lithuanians in big cities don't know Russian

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's a link to an article on a fairly recent survey on how many people in the three largest cities in Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda) know Russian - only 5% don't. This compared with Uzbekistan where the number of those that know it has dropped to about 70%, and Estonia where it's around 68%. Latvia...there doesn't seem to be any exact numbers for Latvia, but Latvia has the largest Russian population per capita and so that would skew the numbers a bit anyway.

3 comments:

lyzazel said...

Living there myself, I would say this looks very counter-intuitive.

I guess it depends on what part of the population they are considering, though. People over 30 do know Russian.


I could believe in these figures for Vilnius which is one of the two cities I live in. However, for Kaunas or Klaipeda, it seems that 5% is extremely low. But, for example, originally I'm not from the capital and out of my class of around 30 people I am, to my knowledge, the only one who can effectively communicate in Russian (let alone I don't know it anywhere as well as to consider it my native language or to be fluent in it). I could generalize it to my whole school which would be around 100 people graduating this year without any considerable Russian knowledge.

I also know a lot of people who don't speak Russian and they are below 25. I don't think I have met many over 30 who don't speak it, though.

I think quite a lot of people would say they speak Russian even though they don't. Almost everybody knows a couple of words here and there and I guess it looks good on surveys so they say they do have some knowledge of it.

I could see this low 5% figure happening if the question was formulated as "Could you say you have absolutely no knowledge/command and are absolutely unfamiliar with the Russian language at all?" or something like that.

Otherwise, it's strange.
Yet, I might be wrong.

데이빛 / Mithridates said...

I thought it was a bit low myself and was kind of hoping that you or someone else might be able to give some perspective on it (or even a link to the original poll). You might be right that the 5% could just mean those with no familiarity at all.

lyzazel said...

Living there myself, I would say this looks very counter-intuitive.

I guess it depends on what part of the population they are considering, though. People over 30 do know Russian.


I could believe in these figures for Vilnius which is one of the two cities I live in. However, for Kaunas or Klaipeda, it seems that 5% is extremely low. But, for example, originally I'm not from the capital and out of my class of around 30 people I am, to my knowledge, the only one who can effectively communicate in Russian (let alone I don't know it anywhere as well as to consider it my native language or to be fluent in it). I could generalize it to my whole school which would be around 100 people graduating this year without any considerable Russian knowledge.

I also know a lot of people who don't speak Russian and they are below 25. I don't think I have met many over 30 who don't speak it, though.

I think quite a lot of people would say they speak Russian even though they don't. Almost everybody knows a couple of words here and there and I guess it looks good on surveys so they say they do have some knowledge of it.

I could see this low 5% figure happening if the question was formulated as "Could you say you have absolutely no knowledge/command and are absolutely unfamiliar with the Russian language at all?" or something like that.

Otherwise, it's strange.
Yet, I might be wrong.

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