Linguistic diversity in media and state language proficiencies: evidence from Hungarian minority regions in central-Eastern Europe

The new article by Zsombor Csata, Attila Papp Z. and their co-authors is now published online in Regional and Federal Studies, and is available at HERE.

Abstract. Can linguistic diversity in the media impede state language proficiency? In this paper, we test the extent to which the availability of minority languages in the media affects state language proficiency for ethnic minorities. We take advantage of an exogeneous development: The rapid expansion of Budapest-originating media outside Hungary in the mid-2000s transformed the media landscape in neighbouring states. Using an original survey data of ethnic Hungarians in minority regions in four Central-Eastern European states over two waves, we find (1) the availability of minority language media means minorities are consuming less media in the state language, which in turn induces low levels of state language proficiency – i.e. through an exogeneous exposure mechanism; and (2) minorities with weaker state language proficiency choose to consume minority language media – i.e. through an endogenous selection mechanism. The results suggest a strong relationship between the language of media consumption and linguistic proficiency.