LINGUIST List 26.3303

Wed Jul 15 2015

Diss: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian; Anthropological Ling, Applied Ling, Discourse Analysis, Socioling, Text/Corpus Ling: Adnan Ajsic: 'Language Ideologies, Public Discourses, and Ethnonationalism in the Balkans...'

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 14-Jul-2015
From: Adnan Ajsic <>
Subject: Language Ideologies, Public Discourses, and Ethnonationalism in the Balkans: A Corpus-Based Study
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Institution: Northern Arizona University
Program: Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2015

Author: Adnan Ajsic

Dissertation Title: Language Ideologies, Public Discourses, and Ethnonationalism in the Balkans: A Corpus-Based Study

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Bosnian (bos)
                            Croatian (hrv)
                            Serbian (srp)

Dissertation Director:
Douglas Biber
Mary McGroarty
Randi Reppen
Jim Wilce

Dissertation Abstract:

Language ideologies have been closely related to nationalist discourses since the inception of nationalism and the one-nation-one-language-one-territory trope, and continue to be important for the construction and maintenance of national identities in Europe and elsewhere. Although recent research has examined language debates and the links between language ideologies and national identities in plurilingual and multicultural societies (e.g., Canada, Vessey, 2013a; Spain/Catalonia, Pujolar, 2007), little attention has been paid to contexts with minimal linguistic differences between groups such as the West Central Balkans. Public language-related discourse in the Central South Slavic area in the last twenty years has been dominated by a fierce debate over the ownership of the common language (formerly known as Serbo-Croatian) and the concomitant contestation of ethnolinguistic identities. The principal goal of this study, therefore, was to identify dominant language-related discourses and language ideologies on the basis of an empirical, mixed methods approach, and investigate the links between language-related discourses, language ideologies, and ethnonationalist discourse in the mainstream press published in Serbia as the largest Central South Slavic nation.

To investigate language-related discourses and language ideologies in the mainstream Serbian press two comprehensive, specialized research (11,656,247 words from 16,148 articles) and comparator (22,493,804 words from 37,227 articles) corpora were compiled from relevant articles published in four leading Serbian dailies and weeklies. Following recent developments in mixed methods research into discourses and ideologies (Baker et al., 2008), the data were analyzed using a combination of quantitative (corpus linguistics) and qualitative (critical discourse analysis/discourse-historical approach) methods. The second major goal of this study, therefore, was to compare quantitative methods employed in terms of their usefulness and effectiveness for the identification of language-related discourses and language ideologies.

The findings suggest the existence of pervasive language-related discourses of endangerment and contestation which are based on an essentialist language ideology with a long history and crucial function in Serbian nationalism. The methodological comparison suggests different roles for different quantitative methods (e.g., micro- and macroscopic analysis), as well as an overall complementarity of the quantitative and qualitative methods. Crucially, however, exploratory factor analysis is shown to be the most effective analytical method for the purposes of corpus-based investigations of discourses and ideologies. Finally, despite some synchronic and diachronic variation in (small ā€˜dā€™) discourses suggested by factors, the discursive and ideological profiles of the mainstream Serbian press are shown to be fairly uniform and stable, suggesting broad acceptance and naturalization of dominant language-related discourses and language ideologies in Serbian society.

Page Updated: 15-Jul-2015