The tenth issue of the Croatian Studies Review (CSR 10, 2014), published by the Croatian Studies Centre of Macquarie University, was released recently, with a publishing delay common among Croatian periodicals. It reaffirms the contemporary linguistic theories describing the Croatian language, offering a window to Croatian linguistics to the foreign English-language readership.
The tenth issue of the Croatian Studies Review (CSR 10, 2014), published by the Croatian Studies Centre of Macquarie University, was released recently, with a publishing delay common among Croatian periodicals. It reaffirms the contemporary linguistic theories describing the Croatian language, offering a window to Croatian linguistics to the foreign English-language readership. Of particular interest are articles penned by the younger generation of Croatian linguists from the universities in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Sydney and Melbourne and the culturological studies on linguistic contact in the migrant context penned by more established researchers with deep erudition (Charles Barnett, Aleksandra Šćukanec, Vice John Batarelo, Peter M. Hill, Diana Stolac, Rebeka Mesarić Žabčić and others). The previous ninth issue, which also appeared recently, offered encouraging articles by authors such as Igor Vranić, Walter F. Lalich and Dragan Komadina. The journal is edited by prominent Croatist Luka Budak, a Canadian Croatian who has lived in Australia for some time now working as director of the Croatian Studies Centre, and by recognised philologists such as Boris Škvorc and Danijel Džino of Sydney and Jim Hlavac from the respected Monash University of Melbourne.
The first issue of the Croatian Studies Review appeared in 1997 and the tenth in mid 2015. The first ten issues in its eighteen-year history have seen the CSR undergo positive changes in design and editorial concept. The first issue positioned the CSR somewhere between a bulletin, scientific journal and publication featuring Croatian-Australian and Croatian prose and poetry in English, notes Luka Budak. Since the fifth issue, published in 2008, the journal has shifted to the wholly scientific sphere and publishes exclusively research papers. From the eighth issue published in 2013 the CSR is published in English only with Croatian language summaries. The editorial board adopted a concept of open Internet access to the journal. Publication on the Internet made the CSR globally accessible with the aid of the Hrčak portal of scientific journals of Croatia, the Central and Eastern European Online Library and the Croatian Studies Review profile on the academia.edu site. The readership of this periodical has seen continued growth and the editors note that the start of this year saw 50,877 hits – confirming the large reader interest for the topic of Croatian linguistics in the English language and justifying its further development on the global linguistic scene. The CSR would never have reached this milestone without the financial assistance provided by the Croatian Studies Foundation, which has supported the journal from its inception. The past three issues, happily, have also been co-financed by the State Office for Croats Abroad, signalling a bright future for this journal.
Rijeka-based philologist Diana Stolac PhD has made a valuable contribution to Croatian linguistics by way of the CSR in her article Expressing Croatian Identity Through Language Designations (CSR, No. 10, pp. 105 – 131.
An overview is provided of the divers designations/appellations associated with Croatian language related studies at universities around the world, often of compound formation (Croatian language; Croatian and Serbian language; Serbo-Croatian language; Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian languages; Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian language; Bosnian-Montenegrin-Croatian-Serbian language), with a critical commentary. This befuddled appellation of the language tells of a lack of acceptance of Croatian as an independent language, all rationalised by alleged significant financial savings in organising studies by grouping multiple languages from the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
In stark contrast to this cynical sentiment expressed by power brokers, the article’s author advocates the single word appellation Croatian, used uniformly among the emigrant communities in all contexts. The successful effort of the Croatian community of Australia in winning recognition of the distinct nature of the Croatian language in 1979, a full decade prior to Croatian secession from the defunct Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the constitutional determination of the appellation in Croatia in 1990. Ms Stolac offers a descriptive overview of the appellations for the Croatian language from the first written records to the twenty-first century, showing conclusively that the language was, in fact, the common attribute among the administratively fragmented historic Croatian lands. Her diachronic overview identifies three core appellations: Croatian (Hrvatski), Slavonic (Slověnski) and Illyrian (Ilirski) and clearly shows that the designation of the language was single-word up to the middle of the nineteenth century. It also notes that the designation Croatian language is used systematically from the first written records to the present day. The article details the sociolinguistic considerations underlying the use of the euphemistic term “our language” (naš jezik) in various periods of Croatian history. The use of compound, two-part appellations (such as Croato-Serbian language) appear in the mid nineteenth century and are characteristic of almost the entire twentieth century. In the late twentieth century we see the emergence of tri-part designations in the European sphere (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian language) and at the dawn of the twenty-first century even four-part designations (Bosnian-Montenegrin-Croatian-Serbian language). With Croatia’s accession to the European Union the Croatian language was recognised as one of the equal languages of the EU. The article examines the real and formal status of the Croatian language among the twenty-four official languages in the European Union. Accession to the EU has also seen a renewed and disturbing politicisation of the name of the Croatian language.
The article warns of new unacceptable European proposals to include the Croatian language within a Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian or Bosnian-Montenegrin-Croatian-Serbian syntagm and details the reactions in both the broader and specialist public.
Text by: Vesna Kukavica