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Bunjevac dialect

Will the Council of Europe decide whether Bunjevac is a dialect or a language?

Classification of Bunjevac dialects (ethnolect): A dialect is a regional speech pattern. Bunjevac speech is categorized as a New-Štokavian Young Ikavian dialect of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language (Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian: BCMS). And an ethnolect is a variety of a language spoken by a certain ethnic/cultural subgroup and serves as a distinguishing mark of social identity. The term combines the concepts of an ethnic/cultural group and a dialect. BEC

Serbo-Croatian: "The language continuum known as Serbo-Croatian was the most widely spoken language in the former Yugoslavia, at its peak counting as many as 20 million speakers. Culturally, Yugoslavia’s eastern region — consisting of present-day Serbia, Montenegro and parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina — was separated both religiously and linguistically from its western region consisting of present-day Croatia and parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina. As a result, the Serbian and Croatian official languages as they exist today are based on distinct dialects and are written with different alphabets, although because of their close similarity, some still consider the languages as a unit called ‘Serbo-Croatian’. Because of their shared development, portions of this profile must refer to Croatian, as well as Serbian."

Dialects can be classified into two categories: standard and non-standard. A standard dialect is a dialect that is approved and supported by institutions. Likewise, non-standard dialects are those that are not supported by institutions. For example, some dialects of English include American English, Indian English, and Australian English, etc. There are sub-dialects within these dialects as well. There is no globally accepted standard to distinguish the difference between language and a dialect of a language. One of the most common ways of identifying the difference is their mutual intelligibility. If two speakers of two varieties can understand each other, then it is accepted that the two varieties are two dialects; if not, they are considered to be two different languages.

BCMSConstitutional language of Bosnia (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. They all developed their own standardized dialect variety of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language, and registered it legally as constitutional language of their country. BEC

Slavic languages

EU will decide: language or dialect 

Croatian: stadardized Serbo−Croatian 

European languages 

Ekavian and Ijekavian Dialects

Serbian: standardized Serbo−Croatian 

Bunjevac dialects (ethnolect) in Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia. There is a diversity of Bunjevac dialects in Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia. Institutions of Serbia developed a standardized Bunjevac dialect variety in Serbia, 2018. A few Bunjevac leaders and political activists, who are influential in the Bunjevac National Council, are strongly involved in developing a "national" identity of Bunjevci: stimulating folklore activities and searching for political and linguistic support to transform Bunjevac dialect in to a distinct language. The leadership of the Croat Bunjevci and Croatian minority in Serbia, has presented the 'standard of the Bunjevac dialect' as an attempt to abolish the dialect of Bunjevac Croats from the Croatian cultural heritage. BEC

School textbooks in a standardized Bunjevac dialect variety in Cyrillic script in Serbia. The Serbian government insisted that school textbooks in a Bunjevac dialect variety appeared in the Cyrillic script for the first class of primary school, despite the fact that the use of the Latin script is dominant in the Bunjevac community. It is noteworthy that school textbooks were published (Serbia, 2014), in a variety of the Bunjevac speech (ethnolect), before an official scientific standardization of the Bunjevac dialect variety was finalized (2018). BEC.

Status of Bunjevac dialect according to Aleksandar Raičh and Suzana Kujundžić Ostojić: Bunjevac speech is in Serbia officially recognized as a dialect. "Bunjevački jezik u javnoj upotribi. Dakle, za onaj jezik za koji mi kažemo jezik, a zvanično je priznat ko dijalekat." Bunjevci izmed asimilacije i nacionalne zajednice. Udruženje građana "Bunjevci". 2013. pp. 144.

Political-linguistic dispute 'Bunjevac dialect vs. Bunjevac language': "It appears that the concept of standardization, whatever it may mean to the various parties involved, occupies a central position, or – actually – the central position in the Bunyev language debate, for it looks as though it is only thanks to standardization that a speech variety may gain the label of language." Belić, Bojan (2014). изворни научни чланак УДК 81'27(497.113) Bunyev(s): linguistic frontier to be? pp.613

Standardized dialect: "In every region there is a linguistic variation. This linguistic variation has to be respected, because it is the identity of people. That is where differentiation between the culture is. Dialect standardization only happens when the people involved have enough or modify their identity to that or affiliation associated with a larger group, standardization is possible and often occurs. Before a standardization process, speaker use their dialects for all of their speech functions. After a standardization process, speaker use the standardized variety for at least some of their speech functions. For example, reading and writing and conversation in formality situations often call for use of standardized variety. Thus, the standardization process is fundamentally a shift in language use patterns." Mark E. Karan, Kerry M. Corbett (2014). The Importance of Identity and Affiliation in Dialect Standardization. pp. 55-61. Dialogue on Dialect Standardization. University North Dakota. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN (10):1-4438-666-1X.

Disputes about the national status and historical origins of the Bunjevci - 'Bunjevac Question': Some Bunjevci in Hungary and Serbia, who are gathered around the Bunjevac National Council (Vojvodina/Serbia), claiming they are an autochthonous ethnic group (Bunjevac nation/tribe/people,, while most of the Bunjevci in the Bačka region identify themselves as a Croatian sub-ethnic group – an integral part of the Croatian national corpus (Izjava Predsjednistva HAZU o hrvatskoj etnickoj skupini Bunjevci), represented by the Croat National Council (Vojvodina/Serbia). Both the Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian authorities do not recognize a distinct Bunjevac/Bunjevci language/nationality. BEC

Serbian state support of the division of the Bunjevac community: "Amongst the population that is identified as Bunjevac, there are some who declare their ethnic and national identity to be Bunjevac, while others declare their nationality to be Croat with Bunjevac as a ‘sub-ethnic identity’. These correspond to two officially recognised (by the Republic of Serbia and the AP of Vojvodina) national councils, both with their seats in Subotica, the Croat National Council and the Bunjevac National Council. Formal recognition and the financial benefits of establishing a national council should certainly not be neglected in this case. National councils not only receive funds from the state/autonomous province but have extensive powers over cultural and educational institutions. By providing structural, formal and financial support, the host state recognises these divisions and arguably sustains them." Stjepanović, Dejan. The Claimed Co-ethnics and Kin-State Citizenship in Southeastern Europe. University of Edinburgh, UK Published online: 08 Jan 2015. pp.152.

Political motivation to separate Bunjevci and Šokci from the Croatian people: "In Vojvodina, attempts to divide Bunjevac and Šokac from Croatian ethnicity were launched in order to create two separate Bunjevac and Šokac ethnicities. This resulted in the revision of choices for ethnic affiliation in the 1991 Yugoslavian census. The categories of Bunjevac and Šokac were introduced as the new categorization of ethnic affiliation for the purpose of reducing the number of Croatian population inside the Socialist republic of Serbia. Although Bunjevci were officially recognized as a separate ethnic group beginning in 1991, there are many Bunjevci who question the new categorization and continue to identify themselves not as a separate ethnicity from Croatian but simply as Yugoslav, or, as a part of Croatian ethnicity in the frame of “Vojvodina Croats” (which includes Šokci)." Kameda, Masumi (2013). pp. 96. Language Ideologies of the Bunjevac Minority in Vojvodina: Historical Backgrounds and the Post-1991 Situation

Political questions concerning language and EU integration: "While language previously had been a means to unite Balkan Slavs, it became an instrument of nationalism wielded by politically motivated actors to widen the division among the ethnicities. Language disputes did not destroy Yugoslavia, but they may hinder recovery and modernization. As each Yugoslav successor state strives toward integration into the European Union, political questions concerning language may polarize domestic politics and inhibit regional cooperation, thereby hampering efforts to carry out needed economic and political reforms." Rice, Eric A. (2010). Language politics in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia - Calhoun: The NPS


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