Linguistic integration policy and its impact on the construction of language identity: Vietnamese migrant community in Czechia

Melissa Shih-hui Lin


In the 1970s and 1980s the Vietnamese arrived in Czechoslovakia as a group of guest-workers. According to the census in 1985, there were 19,350 Vietnamese living in the Czech territory (Heroldová & Matějová, 1987), but the number decreased to approximately 8,000 by 1994 (Mladá Fronta Dnes, 8th October 1994). However, based on the census data from CZSO (Czech Statistical Office) in 2014, due to changes in the political and economic environment, the number of the Vietnamese in Czechia increased remarkably from 18,210 in 2001 to 52,612 in 2011. Nevertheless, even this figure greatly underestimates the real number of the Vietnamese in the Czech Republic, mainly due to numerous illegal migration. According to CZSO, the Vietnamese community constituted 12.5% of immigrant population in Czechia in 2014, as the third biggest migrant community in this territory.

This paper is set to explore the role of current linguistic integration policy in the construction of language identity, mainly related to the migration of language communities in the period of globalization in Central and Eastern Europe contexts, by examining the case of a non-European language community, Vietnamese, in Czechia. The data served for discussion in this paper considers censuses and surveys conducted by several different researchers and official state bodies. The conclusion of this paper emphasizes the fact that the identity construction of Vietnamese and their second generation develops reversely mainly due to two reasons: the internal cultural isolation and the education level which is supposed to be influenced by the current linguistic integration policy.


migration, integration, language policy and planning, Vietnamese, Czech

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