Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croat and Its Disintegration / Edition 1

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Against a backdrop of the ethnic strife in the Balkans and the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, Robert Greenberg describes how the languages of Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro came into being and shows how their genesis reflects ethnic, religious, and political identity. His first-hand observations before and after Communism offer insights into the nature of language change and the relation between language and identity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robert Greenberg's book is, first and foremost, a strong scholarly analysis of the linguistic history and evaluation of Serbo-Croatian. However it contains much more than the story of this language and its breakup into Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, and, ultimately, Montenegrin. It is likewise a humanistic exposition of the acuity and profundity with which people react to a challenge to their identity and ethnicity through the naming of the language they speak. The book is beautifully written, with an elegant style and a probing manner. The book's value is truly substantial and far-reaching for both the specialist and the novice." —Anthropological Linguistics

"This is...the first monograph to discss the disintegration of the unified Serbo-Croatian language as a result of rising nationalism and conflicts in the area. ... A huge amount of research has gone into Greenberg's fine important contribution to Balkan studies and South Slavic linguistics."—Slavic and East European Journal

"A treasure trove of information about the painful and confusing process of the former Yugoslavian successor states' linguistic self-definition. ... The value of this work extends beyond its narrow subject: by implication, the material presented here bears on linguistic issues in US Anglo-Hispanic tensions. Recommended."—Choice

"A coherent, detailed, and original contribution to scholarship in South Slavic studies, Balkan studies, sociolinguistics in general, and the intersection of language and identity, in particular. ...accessible and relevant to a wide range of readers. ...a detailed and insightful exploration of the strug gles over language that have been intertwined with the military, political, and diplomatic conflicts in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. ...highly recommended."—Linguist List

"Robert Greenberg's new book moves provocatively between the poles of difference and commonality among the varied communities. He offers a highly relevant analysis of the language question.... Greenberg's trained focus on the language debates in the region is a welcome and worthy addition to the corpus of material on the end of Yugoslavia and the unitary language formerly known as Serbo-Croatian."—Slavic Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199258154
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/3/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Serbo-Croat: United or Not We Fall
3. Serbian: Isn't My Language Your Language?
4. Montenegrin: I Have Rights Too!
5. Croatian: We are Separate but Equal Twins
6. Bosnian: A Three-Humped Camel?
7. Conclusion

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