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ERIC Number: ED533129
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 301
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-2034-4
Language Names and Norms in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Swagman, Kirstin J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
The institutionalization of separate standard varieties for Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian in the 1990s was hailed by many Bosnians as the long-denied recognition of the Bosnian idiom as distinct from the Serbian and Croatian varieties it had so often been subordinated under. Yet the accompanying codification of Bosnian standard language forms has been highly controversial in Bosnia, and debates continue today about how to define the Bosnian language. My dissertation explores the paradox that while many Bosnians support the Bosnian language as a name , they often do not support it as a norm . To explore this paradox, I undertook 12 months of fieldwork in four different middle schools in Bosnia. Education is a domain in which linguistic norms are highlighted. In Bosnia, it is also an area in which language variation is deemed to be particularly problematic by observers, participants, and commentators both locally and abroad. The decentralized nature of education in Bosnia means that classrooms are often ethnically segregated and curricula in use across the country are not harmonized. Language standardization has often been analyzed as a state-sponsored process that works through official institutions to reduce heterogeneity and promote uniform understandings of linguistic forms and their semiotic meanings. This dissertation explores ongoing language standardization campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina and argues that traditional ways of understanding the role of institutions in language standardization don't explain why standardization has been so unsuccessful in the post-war Bosnian state. My research challenges the idea that institutions must be engaged in drawing rigid us/them boundaries to be thought of as representative or legitimate, instead pointing to the possibility that ambiguity can be a marker of legitimacy rather than a threat to it. This dissertation explores how ideologies of heterogeneity and free choice in language work against the imposition of a standard norm at the same time as European aspirations and ideas about post-socialist normalcy push many Bosnians to believe their country should have such a standard. The resulting tension is the space in which choice between standard variants takes on social meaning and contributes to emerging definitions of what it means to be Bosnian. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina