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Open Linguistics

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Language Orientations and the Sustainability of Arbanasi Language in Croatia – A Case of Linguistic Injustice

Klara Bilić Meštrić / Lucija Šimičić
Published Online: 2017-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0008


Despite numerous positive aspects of the global development of language-as-right orientation, we argue that its application is rooted in methodological nationalism, i.e. the idea of society being equal to a nationstate (Chernilo 2006), and the monoglot ideology based on the idea of one proper version of a historically and politically privileged dialect carrying the status of a language. This dominant preconception of social phenomena thus leaves many varieties in a legislative vacuum. As a consequence, language rights, often in the form of more or less mandatory legal instruments, concern only a (politically established) few. When this institutional inadequacy is paired with the existing orders of indexicality, then these varieties face marginalisation processes that render language use even more unsustainable. To address the issue of language sustainability, we analyse the language-as-right, language-as-resource and language-as-problem orientations in Croatia on the case of the Arbanasi, a community of descendants of Catholic albanophones who settled in the periphery of Zadar in the 18th century and whose group identity is marked by significant language loss. We analyse how speakers and community members themselves perceive marginalisation processes, especially concerning linguistic (in)justice that stems from the policies that hinder sustainability of Arbanasi language use in the long run.

Keywords : language sustainability; language orientations; language policy and planning; Arbanasi


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About the article

Received: 2016-10-22

Accepted: 2017-03-01

Published Online: 2017-06-01

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 145–156, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0008.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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