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

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OUP Oxford, Mar 25, 2004 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 200 pages
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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1 Introduction
United or not we fall
Isnt my language your language?
A mountain out of a mole hill?
We are separate but equal twins
A threehumped camel?
7 Conclusion
Text of the 1850 Literary Agreement
Text of the 1954 Novi Sad Agreement
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About the author (2004)

Robert Greenberg is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1991 where he taught 1991-1992. He then taught at Georgetown University before taking up his current position in 1994.

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