Language and Identity in the Balkans:Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration

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OUP Oxford, Mar 25, 2004 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 200 pages
2 Reviews
Language rifts in the Balkans are endemic and have long been both a symptom of ethnic animosity and a cause for inflaming it. But the break-up of the Serbo-Croatian language into four languages on the path towards mutual unintelligibility within a decade is, by any previous standard of linguistic behaviour, extraordinary. Robert Greenberg describes how it happened. Basing his account on first-hand observations in the region before and since the communist demise, he evokes the dramaand emotional discord as different factions sought to exploit, prevent, exacerbate, accelerate or just make sense of the chaotic and unpredictable language situation. His fascinating account offers insights into the nature of language change and the relation between language and identity. It alsoprovides a uniquely vivid perspective on nationalism and identity politics in the former Yugoslavia.

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About the author (2004)


Robert Greenberg is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Haven and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1991 where he taught 1991-1992. He then taught at Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before taking up his current position in 2003.

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