The CHF director met with the president and secretary general of the Croatian Centre in Vienna and with the editor of Hrvatske Novine. He also participated in a presentation of the award-winning book Germano-Croat Linguistic Contact in Gradišće, jointly published by the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Gradišće Croat Institute of Sciences in Trajštof.

Croatian Heritage Foundation director Marin Knezović and aids paid a one-day working visit to the Croatian Centre in Vienna this May 22nd to meet leading representatives of the Centre and to take part in the presentation of Aleksandra Ščukanec’s book Njemačko-hrvatski jezični dodiri u Gradišću (Germano-Croat Linguistic Contact in Gradišće).

Our hosts, Croatian Centre president Tibor Jugović, general secretary Gabrijela Karall-Novak and renowned publicist and editor of the Croatian News (Hrvatske novine) Petar Tyran spoke of the dominant challenges facing the indigenous Croatian minority in Austria. They emphasised the education initiative aimed at the instruction of Standard Croatian, i.e. a Croatian language school in Vienna.

The Croatian Centre is the chief social and cultural venue for Gradišće (Burgenland) Croatians in the Austrian capital, located in a functional multi-storey building in Vienna’s 4th district. It has achieved affirmation as the key culture venue and meeting place for all Croatians living in Vienna. The Centre is also home to the Croatian Academic Club, the Gradišće Croatian Culture Society in Vienna and the Viverica multilingual kindergarten. 
The Croatian Centre also has a residential area serving student and pupil mobility needs and currently housing three students attending the University of Vienna on exchange programmes. Along with a small gallery, currently exhibiting traditional jewellery from the broader Zagreb region, the Croatian Centre is also the proud home of its own Croatian public library, opened in 2010. 

CHF director Knezović presented general secretary Gabrijela Karall-Novak with a gift set of books for the library. The library, named after Gradišće linguist and writer Franjo Rotter (1970–2002) currently has over three thousand titles, and its founders hope to continually enrich this fund of books. Croatian Centre president Tibor Jugović presented the CHF director with the first blueprints for the Croatian bilingual school in Vienna project.

Director Knezović expressed his support for this education initiative on the part of the Croatian Centre in Vienna to launch a school that would teach Standard Croatian in the Austrian capital. Our hosts noted that all local Croatian organisations are on board for this project. The initiative has also shown itself to be—it was noted at the meeting—very interesting in terms of the preservation and development of the Croatian language in the European Union, of which it shall be the 24th official language as of July 1st 2013.
That evening the Croatian Centre played host to the gala presentation of Aleksandra Ščukanec’s book Germano-Croat Linguistic Contact in Gradišće, jointly published by the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Gradišće Croat Institute of Sciences in Trajštof (Trausdorf). Speaking about the book were CHF director Marin Knezović, academician Nikola Benčić of the Gradišće Croat Institute of Sciences, the volume’s editor Vesna Kukavica, and the book’s author Aleksandra Ščukanec DSc from the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The presentation was moderated by Croatian News editor Petar Tyran. 

This award winning linguistic monograph of Germano-Croat Linguistic Contact in Gradišće, academician Nikola Benčić noted, offers a comprehensive overview of the current state of Gradišće Croat linguistic heritage and the dominant processes in its cultural dimension in the early 21st century within the Germanophone community of Austria. The analysis covers linguistic material ranging from written sources to Internet blogs and fora, noted the book’s editor Vesna Kukavica, underscoring the value of the monograph in the frame of literature in the field of contact linguistics. In her brief address Aleksandra Ščukanec thanked all those in Gradišće and Austria as a whole who helped her see through the research that preceded the publication of the book. Ms Ščukanec noted that she has set up a Gradišće Croatian course in the previous and current academic year in the frame of the German language department of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The course is targeted to students interested in the impact of the German language in the Gradišće dialect of Croatian.
Ms Ščukanec’s brilliant ecolinguistic study treats language contacts in Gradišće from several perspectives: linguistic systems, sociolinguistics and language biography, concluded academician Nikola Benčić. Aleksandra Ščukanec’s Germano-Croat Linguistic Contact in Gradišće spans eight comprehensive chapters and a list of German loanwords with 1,200 entries.

Text by: Vesna Kukavica; Photos by: Petar Tyran