Language—A Symbol of the Identity of Ethnic Croatians in Other European Countries and Our Oversees Diaspora

9 Min Read

This year’s Croatian Emigrant Almanac was presented by the volume’s editor V. Kukavica, associate professor B. Skoko of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Political Science, and M. Bošnjak of the State Office for Croats Abroad. On hand to welcome everyone were CHF director M. Marić and Z. Milas, state secretary at the State Office for Croats Abroad, attending as the representative of Prime Minster Andrej Plenković.

This year’s Croatian Emigrant Almanac was presented in Zagreb on the 7th of February by associate professor Božo Skoko of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Political Science, Milan Bošnjak of the State Office for Croats Abroad, and the volume’s editor for the past twenty editions Vesna Kukavica. The promo event was moderated Ljerka Galic, the head of the CHF emigrant heritage department.

On hand to welcome everyone were Croatian Heritage Foundation director Mijo Marić and Zvonko Milas, state secretary at the State Office for Croats Abroad, attending as the representative of Croatian Prime Minster Andrej Plenković. Guests of the event included Božo Ljubić MP, chair of the parliamentary committee on Croats abroad, Željko Raguž MP, a parliamentary delegate representing the diaspora communities, Vinko Ljubičić representing the foreign affairs minister, Nataša Jovičić representing the mayor of Zagreb, CHF board of directors chairman Milan Kovač and members of the board Hrvoje Hitrec and Đuro Vidmarović, contributing authors and associates of the yearbook and returnees to our beautiful homeland. Also on hand were representatives of the leading culture and research institutions in the country, our universities and the broader academic community.

In his address CHF director Marić noted that this year’s edition of the CHF’s yearbook is an authentic reflection of the linguistic and cultural achievements in the homeland and of current creative work in the diaspora in the various domains of human endeavour, from literature to the natural sciences. He further pointed to the fact that the yearbook drew on the efforts of some three hundred associates in the homeland and abroad—excellent chroniclers of the societal and cultural achievements of the Croatian people in the homeland and in the diaspora. The yearbook, he added, looks at Croatian linguistic heritage in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Romania, with interesting papers on Croatian language instruction abroad, from Boston to Brazil, penned by young experts in the field, viewing language as the core symbol of the Croatian ethnic identity in the diaspora. Director Marić also noted that leading figures of the Croatian political scene have always found solid support in the diaspora communities, pointing to the example of Vladimir Šeks, who toured the Croatian communities in Australia exactly thirty years ago in the period immediately preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mr Šeks was, unfortunately unable to attend the presentation at the CHF.

The latest edition of the CHF yearbook, with summaries in English and Spanish, puts language at the heart of the Croatian ethnic identity in our minority enclaves in the European neighbourhood and among the diaspora communities oversees. The authors convincingly tear down the stereotypes associated with our diaspora, presenting an authentic mosaic of their creative work in the 21st century. The diverse content of this year’s yearbook covers 436 pages and bridges four continents, featuring thirty-two papers in eight thematic sections.

Presenting this year’s edition B. Skoko and M. Bošnjak (State Office for Croats Abroad), also authors of papers in the yearbook, offered a concise overview of the content. Skoko spoke of the thematic sections on Signs of the Times, Bridges, A History, and Heritage, while Bošnjak discussed the sections on Croatian Philological Horizons, Spirituality, Science, and New Books.

In the Signs of the Times section editor V. Kukavica writes of the fruits of the integration processes at work in the homeland and the diaspora, Tado Jurić discusses the nature of current Croatian emigration to Germany and what motivates Croatians to move there, and Tuga Tarle rounds out the topic with her paper on The Ethical Issues in the Mass Exodus out of Croatia. In the Croatian Philological Horizons section Željko Jozić looks at the achievements and role of the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics in the classic and Internet environments, Milan Puh discusses Croatian language instruction in Brazil, Vladan Čutura delves into Croatian language at the academic level in Austria’s Burgenland (Gradišće) region, while Ana Čagalj, Aleksandra Ščukanec and Anita Skelin Horvat present a sociolinguistic picture of the Croatian diaspora in Slovakia. Petar Hategan and Sanda Lucija Udier offer an excellent treatment of bilingual education among Romanian Croatians. Stjepan Blažetin, a professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Pécs, has penned a fascinating paper on Croatian language prose, theatre and children’s literature in Hungary. Jelena Šesnić PhD of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences writes of American Croatian literature in the global context, while Irena Stanić Rašin discusses a decade of the Croatian school in Boston. In the Bridges section Walter F. Lalich writes of contemporary Croatian expatriates in Australia—the departures and returns. In her interdisciplinary paper Marijeta Rajković-Iveta offers a summary of the Croatian presence in Boka Kotorska, discussing shifting polities, migration and the disappearing Croatian identity. Dubravko Barač writes of the culinary aspects of food science in the research work of Hrvoje Fabek, a native Croatian now resident in the Canadian province of Ontario. Barač has also penned a paper on Nikola Demarin, a leading promoter of Croatian culture in Canada. Returning to European waters is dialectologist Sanja Vulić with her paper on the silver jubilee of the Pannonian Institute of Pinkovac and journalist Snježana Herek with her contribution on a Croatian aristocrat and musician in Vienna. In the Heritage section Mirjana Ana Maria Piskulić, the head of the Croatian Heritage Foundation’s diaspora information department, with many years of experience working in the Croatian diplomatic corps, writes of a homeland tour of the Cultural Federation of the CFU of America and of other tours across our beautiful homeland undertaken by culture associations in the diaspora communities. The A History section offers fascinating and informative papers penned by Ivica Maškulin, Kristijan Lončarić, Ivan Čizmić and Gojko Borić.

In the Spirituality section Danijel Labaš writes of the print and electronic editions of the Živa zajednica magazine, while Inoslav Bešker provides an ecumenical glossary for Easter. In the Science section Tanja Rudež tells of Swedish roboticist of Croatian roots Danica Kragić and of the green chemistry of Monteal resident Tomislav Friščić. In the New Books section Igor Marko Gligorić looks at a new textbook for Croatian language instruction abroad, Ivo Banac delves into one Croatian conspiracy of silence detailed in Wollfy Krašić’s The Croatian Spring and the Croatian Political Emigration, and Ivo Lučić looks at three decades of the reception of the book Mediterranean Breviary. This section also includes language specialist Marko Samardžija’s look at Živko Mandić’s philological gem from the Bačka region, i.e. his dictionary of the local dialect of the Croats of Santovo (Hercegszántó) in Hungary.

Closing the event, the volume’s tireless, agile and capable editor Vesna Kukavica noted that the CHF’s Croatian Emigrant Almanac has bridged the culture and research communities of the homeland and diaspora for the past sixty-four years and will continue to do so with equal élan in the future. She thanked the gathered promoters, authors, members of the board of directors, her colleagues at the CHF and at the State Office for Croats abroad.

By: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek; Photography: Snježana Radoš

The gallery was not found!
Share This Article
Skip to content