This article presents an interdisciplinary study of the Croatian minority in Hanover (Germany), exploring these speakers’ identity as a phenomenon constituted in and between multiple locations, as well as through the use of two languages. An introduction to the historical, geographic, and demographic background of the Croatian community in Germany and specifically in Lower Saxony/Hanover serves as the starting point. On this basis, the concepts of spatial and translocal as well as bi-/multilingual identity are presented and exemplified by the case of the Croatian minority speakers in Hanover. The geographic basis of the Croatian minority’s identity is explored and contextualized by mapping the translocal network of a selected family of Croatian immigrants in Hanover. Insights into aspects of the minority language’s maintenance are described on the basis of a questionnaire study. Factors such as participation in heritage language classes and trips to the homeland are detected as important for the occurrence of a translocal and multilingual identity. Linguistic and communicative means for the expression of this specific type of identity are then explored by means of a qualitative analysis of data collected through five semi-structured interviews and a focus group conducted with members of the Croatian minority in Hanover. We conclude with a summary of our findings and an outlook on future research issues.
- Zvjezdana Vrzić
- De Gruyter | 2019