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

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 205 pages
Language rifts in the Balkans are endemic and have long been a symptom of ethnic animosity and a cause for inflaming it. But the break-up of the Serbo-Croat language into four languages on the path towards mutual unintelligibility within a decade is, by any previous standard of linguisticbehaviour, extraordinary. Robert D. Greenberg describes how it happened. Basing his account on first-hand observations in the region before and since the communist demise, he evokes the drama and emotional discord as different factions sought to exploit, prevent, exacerbate, accelerate, or just makesense 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 also provides a uniquely vivid perspective on nationalism and identity politics in the former Yugoslavia and itssuccessor states."The book will become a classic reference for those who wish to study the dramatic rise and fall of the language-formerly-known-as-Serbo-Croatian." Award citation

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About the author (2008)

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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