Rechte Spalte


HELD IN ZADAR, CROATIA, 19-22 September 2002


Eurolinguistics has been established in the past few years as a new orientation in linguistics that places the multilingual individual in the centre of research. On a wider basis, its focus is on the linguistic and cultural divergence or convergence that arises through the effects of multilingualism. Its task is to describe historical and contemporary contact typologies of the European languages taking into account the historical, political, social and economic factors giving rise to such typologies. Eurolinguistics is thus involved in in-depth studies of the whole historical and social context that has given rise to the network of similarities and dissimilarities in European languages. The insights into the common linguistic and cultural basis of European languages should foster a sense of European identity, counteracting nationalistic tendencies in the science of language. As such, eurolinguistics is an integral part of a new interdisciplinary branch of the humanities - European studies (Europaistik).

It is along these lines that four symposia on Eurolinguistics have been organised: in Glienicke, Germany (1997), Pushkin, Russia (1999), Mannheim/Strasbourg (2001) and Zadar, Croatia, (2002). The aim of these symposia has been to provide insights on various language contact phenomena in order to liberate linguistics from narrow national and monolingual perspectives and establish a new, Europe-wide view of European languages and their mutual contacts.

The Fourth International Eurolinguistics Symposium in Zadar, Croatia, was organised by Eurolinguistischer Arbeitskreis Mannheim (ELAMA), the Faculty of Philosophy, Zadar and the Linguistic Research Intstitute of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb. It was supported by the University of Mannheim and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Zagreb. It was attended by 23 speakers from eleven countries: Germany (1), Switzerland (2), Italy (1), Russia (1), Great Britain (2), Belgium (1), Sweden (2), Latvia (2), USA (1), Slovenia (1), and Croatia (9). The topic of the symposium was “A typology of language contacts around the Baltic and Adriatic seas”.

The symposium was opened by Sture Ureland (Mannheim) who gave an overall view of the development of Eurolinguistics between 1997 and 2002. In the presentations that followed, participants focused on various aspects of language contacts, with several attempts to compare the patterns of language contact in the Adriatic and Baltic areas. Some participants focused on general aspects of language contact. Remigio Ratti and Alessio Petralli (Lugano) discussed the role of the media in overcoming of borders and barriers in the light of globalization vs. fragmentation processes, focusing on the case of the Italian radio-television in Switzerland. Maja Bratanic (Zagreb) discussed language contacts in EU legal terminology stressing the importance of translation and the role of multilingualism as the basis of the common European heritage. Vincenzo Merolle (Rome) spoke about Europe as a linguistic unit and the legacy of Latin as the source of a large number of internationalisms in European languages.

In the section of Eurolinguistics north (The Baltic sea area) Jurij Kusmenko (St Petersburg) focused on the emergence of the suffixed definite article in Scandinavia and the Balkans as a result of language contact arising from the same borrowing patterns. Stefan Pugh (St Andrews, Scotland) compared the Baltic and Adriatic regions with respect to structural and sociological aspects of language contact, taking into account language typology, degree of relatedness, time of contact, contiguity, social/cultural position of languages in contact, their literary, political and religious status, language attitudes etc. Sture Ureland (Mannheim) focused on contact typology and multilingualism in an effort to compare the Baltic and the Mediterranean areas, taking into consideration both the geographical characteristics and a wide historical, social and political context. Ludger Kremer (Antwerp) gave a detailed analysis of Low German in contact with other languages both from the diachronic perspective, involving various diglossic situations, and the synchronic perspective, including phenomena such as codeswitching, interference and transference on the lexical, grammatical and pragmatic levels. Erling Wande (Stockholm) analyzed the Baltic-Finnic syntax in Sweden, concentrating on the grammatical cases in Meankieli, Sweden-Estonian and Sweden-Finnish. Eric de Geer (Uppsala) discussed the exodus of the Ingrian Finns from the St Petersburg area during World War II, taking into consideration the distribution of a population as an important factor in language maintenance. Ojars Buss (Riga) discussed German elements in the place-names of the Baltic area, while Laimiute Balode (Riga), spoke about language contacts on the basis of Latvian hydronyms.

In discussing Eurolinguistics South (the Adriatic and Mediterranean Areas), participants focused on a number of topics from synchronic and diachronic perspectives. Wayles Brown (Cronell, USA), spoke about purism in the South Slavic languages as a part of the tradition of language standardization, showing that languages which are typologically similar can have different degrees of purism. Slobodan Cace (Zadar) presented the evidence of the earliest language contacts in the Adriatic Illyricum between the 4th and 1th century BC based on the early inscriptions. Žarko Muljacic (Zagreb) spoke about Vegliotic, an autochtonous Romance idiom which was spoken on the island of Krk before the end of the 19th century, and the influence exerted on its phonology by Greek, Croatian and Venetian. Branko Franolic (London) discussed loanwords of the Arabic, Persian and Turkish origin in Croatian. Vlado Skracic (Zadar) spoke about different linguistic layers in the Adriatic toponymy. Dunja Brozovic (Zagreb) spoke about the Croatian language island in Molise, Italy, focusing on place-names and proper names. Lelija Socanac (Zagreb) presented the language contacts in the Ragusan Republic, with a special emphasis on the Italian influence on Croatian. Vesna Muhvic-Dimanovski (Zagreb) spoke about similarities and differences between the Italian and German influence on Croatian. Dunja Jutronic (Maribor) drew a picture of the Cakavian dialect through two generations illustrating various aspects of dialect change in contact with the dominant standard language. Goran Filipi (Pula) discussed the linguistic situation in Istria, while Robert Blagoni (Pula) focused his interest on present-day language contacts in the same area.

The symosium has opened a number of new and challenging questions which will provide a starting point for future research with the aim of establishing language typologies in the Adriatic and Baltic areas. The symposium has also given an important contribution to the development of the postgraduate program of "European Studies: Languages and Cultures in Contact" which has been initiated as a Tempus project at the Faculty of Philosophy, Zadar.

Lelija Socanac
The Linguistic Research Institute
The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb