LINGUIST List 2.842

Thu 05 Dec 1991

Disc: Pidginized Afrikaans, Cuban Spanish, Serbo-Croat

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  1. , Pidginized Afrikaans
  2. "SUSAN SOTILLO", Cuban Spanish
  3. Martin Wynne, Serbian and Croatian

Message 1: Pidginized Afrikaans

Date: Mon, 18 Nov 91 13:11:01 CST
From: <GA3662SIUCVMB.bitnet>
Subject: Pidginized Afrikaans
The thesis on pidginized versions of Afrikaans is a
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale MA thesis
by Dennis Makhudu. Information is available from
Glenn Gilbert at the address below. He is not on the
net but has an e-mail address: GA3591SIUCVMB.BITNET
 or Department of Linguistics
 Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
 Carbondale, IL, 62901, USA.
 from: Geoff Nathan <ga3662siucvmb>
 (same address)
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Message 2: Cuban Spanish

Date: 4 Dec 91 17:38:00 EST
Subject: Cuban Spanish
Carlos Otheguy has done work on Cuban Spanish (Que tu quieres?) and
this is very common among Caribbean speakers. I believe he is at
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Message 3: Serbian and Croatian

Date: Mon, 25 Nov 91 18:03:58 GMT
From: Martin Wynne <>
Subject: Serbian and Croatian
Firstly, thanks to all those that took the trouble to reply to my
original posting on Serbian and Croatian. I would like to take the
opportunity to reply to some of the criticisms:
Stavros Macrakis:
> So what's new? Playing games with standard languages, dialects, and
> ethnonyms (ethnica?) for political reasons seems to be a constant in
> ethnic struggle, sometimes splitting, sometimes joining, depending on
> the political goal.
Yes, but let's not let this knowledge lead us to ignore the details of
what's happening in Yugoslavia. I realise that it is the norm that
definitions of language and dialect are subjective and determined by
social factors. Pointing to the social roots of the identification of
Croats with the Croat language was not intended to imply that this is
an unusual or inauthentic process. Saying "people define languages
for their political ends", should not be a substitute for
sociolinguistic investigation. The other point is that many people
seem to want to believe that Serbo-Croatian has never existed, and
that there has only ever been Serbian and Croatian.
Joe Stemberger:
> I don't think that this is related to the recent military conflicts.
> When I was visiting relatives in Slovenia back in 1973, I was warned
> to call Serbo-Croatian "Croatian" when talking to a Croat and "Serbian"
> when talking to a Serb.
This a point worth pursuing: what were the perceived linguistic
identities of Serbs and Croats before the current conflict? While
there will always be elements of continuity from older conflicts (some
people never want to forget the Second World War, as we know here in
Britain), and individuals have always had differing ideas of their
cultural identity, I would suggest that the current conflict has it's
roots in the 1970's, (so examples from before then would be
interesting!) when in response to the economic crisis the leaders of
the local bureaucracies in the republics began to promote nationalism
as part of the struggle to secure their share of diminshing resources.
In a stable political system with economic growth, the ethnic
conflicts were individual prejudices with no greater social
significance. However, with the collapse of the stalinist system and
the uneven development of the market in Yugoslavia, a struggle for
economic resources escalated and assumed a nationalist form. Suddenly,
cultural and linguistic differences assumed a new significance, and
became the alibi for for an economic dispute.
I would like to thank the author of the anonymous tirade forwarded by
Mike Migalski, which serves to prove that the ideas I identified are
really with us, viz:
> As to the difference in language between
> Croats & Serbs, put it this way, there is
> not such language as Serbo-Croatian!
What currency did this idea have pre-1990? Certainly all the standard
textbooks I have looked at recently just mention Serbo-Croat. Did Tito
fool all of us for so long, or is it now the case, as I have argued,
that previously inconsequential differences are now being raised to a
new inflated status, with their whole history rewritten. The Serbo-
Croat language was forged by the South Slav nationalists of Serbia and
Croatia in the 19th century, a 'national' language that was the
product of the joint struggles against the Austro-Hungarian and
Ottoman Empires. There are now new realities, and the linguistic map
will inevitably be redrawn, but let us not rewrite history as well.
> As to the use of the word "barbarian", any persons and/or
> government responsible for the deaths of nearly 5,000 people,
> direct cause for over 500,000 refugees to flee, hundreds of thousand
> wounded people, destruction of the economy of Croatia and the
> intentional destruction of the land including
> historial sites and cities ("jewel of the Adriatic") are,
> and should be labeled, barbarians. In case you have not
> watched the news lately, this is exactly what the communist Serbian
> government and army is doing to the Croatian people on their own soil!
Briefly, and finally (so just skip this if you're not interested),
if I might just have the right to reply to the non-linguistic
Suffice to say that it is the Croats who have sought to break away
from the federation in order to protect their economic advantage over
the remaining republics, and the Croats who at every stage have
attempted to escalate the conflict in order to draw the Western powers
in to 'defend' them. Frankly, I would not wish to take sides in what
is a squabble between rival sections of the old stalinsit bureaucracy
(it's not "the communist Serbian government" against "the Croatian
people") over who will control the mess created by the introduction of
the market. What I do take issue with is the way that the West is
attempting to demonise the East, and to erect a new Iron Curtain.
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