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Burgenland Croatian: An Old Language on a Do-it-Yourself Border with a New Name

  • E. Browne

Abstract

The present writer cannot claim previous expertise in border studies.1 I am, rather, a linguist specializing in Slavic languages (especially Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian) and in syntax. Let me briefly explain how linguistic questions brought me to border studies. In recent work (Browne 2008, 2010) I have considered the problem of the ordering and placement of clitics (enclitics) in Slavic sentences. These are words that have special limitations and rules governing their placement. Many readers will be most familiar with Russian, which in fact has no clitics, except for zhe ‘emphatic particle’, li ‘yes-no question particle’, and by ‘marker of the conditional mood’. These three Russian words are not usually thought of as belonging to the same class, but they have in common that they cannot be the first word of a sentence. West and South Slavic languages have many pronouns and auxiliary verbs that (similar to zhe, li, and by) need to come after some other word in a sentence, that is, in second position in the sentence. Only in Macedonian is their position sometimes governed by a different principle, namely that they come before some other word (i.e. before the finite verb). After having compared clitics in all the well-known West and South Slavic languages, I wanted more languages to compare, so I looked at two very ‘small’ languages (tens of thousands of speakers): Burgenland Croatian in Austria, and Vojvodina Rusinski in northern Serbia. I also began to study the political and cultural situation of these ‘small’ languages. This made me conscious that Burgenland Croatian is precisely on an interesting borderland. This article will present some of my observations and, I hope, provide material for comparison with other border situations. I will need to return to the clitics in a later section, in order to discuss the relationship between Burgenland Croatian and the Croatian language of the mother country (standard Croatian of Croatia).

Keywords

Slavic Language German Word Auxiliary Verb Peace Conference Boundary Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

References on the culture, history, and geography

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Web resources for information on BC include

  1. Hrvatsko kulturno društvo: http://www.hkd.at/index.php/hr/
  2. Hrvatsko štamparsko društvo: http://www.hrvatskenovine.at/
  3. News, Radio, TV: http://volksgruppen.orf.at/hrvati/
  4. The Burgenland Bunch organization in the U.S.: www.the-burgenland-bunch.org
  5. Znanstveni institut Gradišćanskih Hrvatov: http://www.zigh.at

Copyright information

© E. Wayles Browne 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Browne

There are no affiliations available

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