Accepted Paper:

Language attitudes and identity  


Olga Orlic (Institute for Anthropological Research)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the role of language attitudes in research on the identification processes. The comparison is made between the Istria region (the only officially bilingual Croatian region) and Korčula Island (a seemingly homogenous linguistic area).

Paper long abstract:

Research dealing with identity has been proliferating in past decades. Notions that reality without language does not exist (Berger and Luckmann, 1985) and that language and identity are intrinsically connected (Joseph 2004) are widely accepted. However it is also true that the role of language/s in identity construction and representation is quite often taken for granted, or simply not emphasized enough, as if it is something that is self-evident and self-explanatory. In the past decade researchers from the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb have carried out two research projects that showed to what extent the language and cultural identity are inherently interconnected. One example is from Istria - the only officially bilingual Croatian region - where the Croatian and Italian standard varieties are (in some parts) official languages, and where their variants play a significant role in the process of constructing a regional Istrian identity. The other example is from the Island of Korčula, where it seems, at least at first glance, that local varieties could not possibly play such an important role in constructing local island identity. The matched-guise test was carried out among high school students on the Korčula Island and in several Istrian towns. Although different to some extent, the role of the language(s) in the construction of different levels of identity points to an important overlap between linguistic and identitarian practices in both areas due to multidimensional nature of language and its intersections with nation, region and other forms of social differentiation.

Panel P072
Linguistic anthropology: contributions to the future (Commission on Linguistic Anthropology)