Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration
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 drama and 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 also provides a uniquely vivid perspective on nationalism and identity politics in the former Yugoslavia.
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Albanian alphabet Balkans Belgrade Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosnian language Bosnian Serb Bosnian standard Brboric Central South Slavic codiﬁers Constitution controversies Croat linguists Croatian language Croatian linguistic Croatian standard language Croato-Serbian cultural Cyrillic script Danicic deﬁned dictionary Eastern variant ekavian ﬁnal ﬁrst former Yugoslavia grammar grapheme Halilovic Herzegovina identity ijekavian ijekavian dialect ijekavian pronunciation Illyrian Illyrian Movement inﬂuence issues jezika joint language joint literary language Kajkavian and Cakavian language planners language policy language unity Latin script lexical Macedonian Matica srpska Matica srpska manual Montenegrin language Muslim Slavs nationalist Neo-Stokavian Neo-Vukovite manual Nikcevic Njegos norms Novi Sad Agreement ofﬁcial language orthographic manual Pavle Ivic phoneme phonological political Pravopis reﬂected Republic Republika Srpska Sarajevo separate Montenegrin language Serbian language Serbian standard Serbo-Croatian language Serbs and Croats signiﬁcant speakers speciﬁc status quo linguists Stokavian dialects successor languages Tito’s Yugoslavia uniﬁed language Vojvodina Vuk Karadzic Vuk’s Western words writing system Yugoslav Zagreb