A Fresh Look at the Heritage Language of the Tatars of Dobrogea: Recovery, Identity, and Transformational Leadership
by Barry Francolino
June 26th, 2021
Languages, like clouds, are always on the move. Among nearly 7000 languages spoken, the number of those that are going out of use or eventual existence is at a rate never before seen in history. For this reason, it was imperative to research possible interventions for preserving the severely endangered heritage language of the Tatars of Dobrogea (TD), Romania. Through individual and group interviews as well as a survey, the TD provided information necessary to support such discoveries as classic language obsolescence, the negative impact on a minority community within and a dominant culture, and a plethora
of interventions able to help create healthy identity for sustainable heritage language (HL) preservation. I modeled Transformational Leadership and introduced conceptual frameworks such as Appreciative Inquiry and Asset-Based Community Development among the TD community. These approaches inspired members of the TD community toward considering the use of effective motivational and educational language
preservation interventions. The significance of this project is both locally and universally practical. TD is not unique relative to language endangerment. What is unique is the opportunity to use this urgent situation to see themselves as a people loved, so their HL can remain a mark of their unique identity.