The 5th international Croatian as a Second & Foreign Language symposium (HIDIS V) event was staged from December 18th to 20th at the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The event was organised by the department for the culture of the Croatian language and the department for Croatian as a second language of the Croatian Philological Society with co-organisers the Croatian Heritage Foundation, which has been a partner of the event from its inception. HIDIS is involved in the teaching and study of Croatian for people who learn it as non-native speakers. It also pools a wide range of experts involved in this interdisciplinary field of study – teaching and language adoption theoreticians, lecturers and teachers of Croatian as a foreign and second language at Croatian and foreign education institutions.

On hand for the formal opening at the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences to greet the participants were professor Vlatko Previšić DSc, dean of the Faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences; Marin Knezović MSc, director of the Croatian Heritage Foundation; senior lecturer Anita Skelin DSc, president of the Croatian Philological Society; Milan Bošnjak, head of the sector for the implementation of the programmes and projects of Croatians abroad and professor Zrinka Jelaska DSc, deputy president of the organising committee of HIDIS V.

This year’s HIDIS pooled some seventy participants from eight countries (the USA, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Macedonia and Croatia), including forty lecturers who discussed the structure of the Croatian language; dictionaries and grammar books; Croatian as a second, inherited and foreign language; a comparative description of Croatian and other languages; mastering Croatian abroad; teaching Croatian and textbooks; mastering Croatian and new technologies; assessing, testing and evaluating the mastery of Croatian; the psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research of Croatian as a second language and individual differences between pupils and teaching strategies.

Again this year this specialised symposium demonstrated that Croatian language instruction as a second and foreign language is garnering ever-greater attention, and that the experts active in this field are still in anticipation of more exhaustive and systematic research. As in previous HIDIS events, the latest incarnation will certainly make a significant contribution to the instruction of Croatian as a second and foreign language, and thereby also contribute to the further nurturing and preservation of the Croatian linguistic identity in the world.

Text and photos by: Lada Kanajet Šimić