UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Language policy and linguistic activism: Fighting prescriptivism and toxic ideologies in Croatia

26 May 2021, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth

A UCL SSEES South-East European Studies Seminar with Daliborka Sarić, Anđel Starčević and Mate Kapović, and discussants Dr Tanja Petrović and Dr Petar Vuković

This event is free.

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Linguistic prescriptivism and purism have been on the rise in Croatia in the past 30 years, resulting in a hyperproduction of usage advice in the form of usage guides, radio and television segments, as well as school textbooks. Prescriptivists' insistence on language ‘purity’ and ‘correctness’ has contributed to the stigmatisation of linguistic variation and has provoked speakers' linguistic insecurity. The recently published book Jeziku je svejedno [Language could care less] is the first comprehensive attempt to critically examine the impact of the standard language ideology and other prescriptivist conceptualizations and strategies in the past 30 years in Croatia. Who decides on the language norm and what is popular usage advice on ’pure’ and ‘proper’ Croatian based on? Why is the view that the standard dialect is ‘better’ and ‘worthier’ than regional varieties so prevalent in Croatia today? What is linguistic violence and what is the role of linguists in the highly politicised debate on language? Join the authors of Jeziku je svejedno and the panel of discussants who will present their views on these and other issues which seek to examine the intersection of language, politics and education.


Daliborka Sarić Lecturer (Teaching), Departement of Romance Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Anđel Starčević Assistant Professor, English Launguage Sections, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Mate Kapović Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb


Dr Tanja Petrović Research Advisior, Institute of Culture and Memory Studies, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Dr Petar Vuković Professor, Department of Czech Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Image credit: Doris Salcedo, Shibboleth, 2007-08, Tate Modern (photo: Wonderferret, CC BY 2.0-altered)
Image source: https://smarthistory.org/doris-salcedo-shibboleth/)
License terms https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB