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The politics of teaching a language which is "simultaneously one and more than one": the case of Serbo-Croatian

Calic, Jelena; (2018) The politics of teaching a language which is "simultaneously one and more than one": the case of Serbo-Croatian. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the current understanding of the post-Yugoslav questione della lingua with regards to the Serbo-Croatian language and its teaching as a foreign language. The thesis is centered upon exploring the possibility of a different conceptualisation of Serbo-Croatian as the common language used in the central South Slavonic space, currently predominantly perceived as fragmented into national languages of ethnic/national communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. The study takes as its starting point a critical presentation of the main stances in the scholarly debate that have shaped the representations of the relationship between national varieties of Serbo-Croatian as complementary and harmonious or conflicting, discordant and even unrelated. Given that the term pluricentric language has recently been reintroduced into the debate as an alternative view to the one that argues for a greater divergence between the varieties of Serbo-Croatian, the thesis extensively discusses the sociolinguistic and cultural circumstances that determine the pluricentric type of language standardisation. The elaboration of the changing and challenging attitudes to the pluricentric model served as a theoretical framework for the empirically grounded survey- and case study-based research into different institutional and individual approaches to the teaching of Serbo-Croatian as a foreign language. The exploration of the divergent attitudes and teaching practices at the institutions in the Yugoslav successor states and abroad suggests that in spite of the abandonment of the glottonym Serbo-Croatian and despite ensuing changes in how the curricula are framed, and the language modules named, varieties of Serbo-Croatian are still overtly or covertly considered and taught as part of one linguistic system. Additionally, insights into how the discourse on language disintegration has been institutionalised since the 1990s, show that there is a growing tendency that questions the raising of linguistic and cultural boundaries. This study thus provides an original contribution to knowledge by probing the nexus between the different approaches to the common language issue and institutional frameworks established after the collapse of the common state, often premised on the separation of national philologies and on the erasure of the relatedness of the national varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The politics of teaching a language which is "simultaneously one and more than one": the case of Serbo-Croatian
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042265
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