SUKHUM / AQW'A — 27th October, Abkhazia - On the occasion of the Day of the Abkhazian language, Gunda Kvitsinia, the head of the State Department for State Language Policy, emphasised that every day should honour the Abkhazian language and not just once annually.
Kvitsinia expressed concerns about the dwindling use of the Abkhazian language due to a strong influence from the Russian language and associated challenges. She believes these issues have also affected the country's national identity and demographic structure. She commented, "Our small population, strong influence of the Russian language and all related problems have led to this state of affairs with the Abkhazian language."
However, under Kvitsinia's leadership, the State Department for State Language Policy, established in February 2023, has been proactive in its approach to promote the language. Since its inception in May, the department has developed a comprehensive programme to encourage the study and usage of Abkhazian. Kvitsinia stressed the importance of residents understanding the state language, even at a basic level. To achieve this, the department has initiated accelerated language courses and plans to open language learning centres across the republic by 2024.
In a commendable initiative, the department offers free courses at an elementary proficiency level. Kvitsinia highlighted that many enrol to learn the language to clear citizenship exams. With an engaging methodology, the first batch of students is set to complete their training by the end of October.
+ Cabinet Approves State Language Development Plan for 2023
+ Hewitt: Language is the foundation, without which it will be impossible to preserve the identity of the Abkhaz
+ Increasing funds to develop the Abkhaz language will enable enlargement of existing programmes
+ Abkhazian Parliament Adopts Resolution for Accurate Representation of Geographical Names
Despite the department's fervent efforts, challenges persist, particularly the lack of funds and specialists. Kvitsinia stated, "Our state does not have such funds that all document circulation, all business correspondence should be conducted in the Abkhazian language." Furthermore, she indicated the need for simultaneous translation in Parliament for those unfamiliar with Abkhazian.
The department also recognises the importance of media in language propagation. Thus, it's been focused on dubbing cartoons into Abkhazian and exploring the creation of original Abkhazian animations. They also have a significant emphasis on publishing a range of materials, from children's fiction and audiobooks to visual aids and interactive educational tools. A special focus has been given to toponymy, ensuring geographical names reflect Abkhazian culture and heritage.
Kvitsinia concluded by highlighting the department's projects for 2023, encompassing a wide range of publications, audiobooks, and dubbing initiatives aimed at strengthening the presence of the Abkhazian language among the youth.
The active measures adopted by the State Department for State Language Policy reflect the urgency and determination to restore and preserve the linguistic heritage of Abkhazia, ensuring future generations continue to cherish their unique identity.
In 2023, the State Department for State Language Policy implemented several significant projects:
- Accelerated training courses for the Abkhazian language.
- Translation of official documentation, office work, and specialised terminology into Abkhazian.
- Creation of an electronic version of the alphabet book titled "Abkhazian for the Youngest Children: Talking Alphabet."
- Development of programmes, interactive textbooks, and technical teaching aids, including the textbook "Abkhazian Language" (elementary basic level).
- Production of audiobooks for children of preschool and primary school age.
- Dubbing of cartoons and feature films.
- Publication of an illustrated dictionary titled "My First Book."
- Publication of visual aids in Abkhazian, including "Children's Posters."
- Publication of a collection of poems for children in Abkhazian, "The Sun Shines," authored by P. Bebia.
- Publication of a story-play by A. Mukba titled "Hero Hare."
- Publication of the illustrated collection "Clocks and Time" by G. Kvitsinia for pre-school children.
- Publication of an illustrated collection of poems "The Sun of My Homeland" by V. Tsvinarii for children of primary school age.
- Publication of an illustrated collection of fairy tales by G. H. Andersen, translated into Abkhazian by S. Zukhba.
- Publication of an illustrated collection of children's poems titled "Song of Flowers" authored by G. Sakania.