Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Reproduktionen und Innovationen in Sprache und Kommunikation verschiedener Sprachkulturen
<< Reproduction and Innovation in Language and Communication in different Language Cultures

English in Contact in Croatia: Past and Present

Anja Nikolic-Hoyt / Lelija Socanac (Linguistic Research Institute, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia)



This paper will present the growing lexical impact of English on Croatian in different domains within a changing social context, taking into consideration language attitudes indicative of the language symbolism in the pre-transitional and transitional periods. Although significant contact between Croatian and English is fairly new, the history of the Croatian language's linguistic borrowing from English is divided into two different periods. The first period of intensive contact between these two languages began at the end of the Second World War, as a result of the stronger influence of English language and culture in general. Linguistically, this new influence was characterized by a process of adaptation of the borrowed English elements. On the other hand, recent English loanwords belonging to the second period of intensive (in fact, massive) influence of English on Croatian and other languages, which has lasted from the early 1990s, and the transitional changes of that time, until today, when English dominates the scientific, cultural, and sub-cultural discourse of the contemporary world and adapts less to the norms and limitations of the receiving language, that is, Croatian.

Often keeping the features of the English model, especially phonologically and orthographically, these recent English loanwords form a stratum of unadapted and unintegrated words, actually non-loanwords (a considerable part of the contemporary corpus consists of foreign words, a large portion of which are citational ad hoc loanwords) that, by means of various audio-visual and computer media, penetrate to all levels and styles of the contemporary Croatian language, though not evenly. That is, many of the new English words in Croatian belong to the realm of professional jargon or some specific sociolect, particularly the language of young people in urban communities, who are the most active initiators of change and the greatest consumers of English language and culture. The mass adoption of English elements by Croatian (and other languages) is a direct consequence of the growth in the number speakers of English as a foreign language the world over, and of the prestige of English (Anglo-American) language and culture.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-12