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Linguistic landscape of the city of Rijeka between past and present


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Rončević, Marina. (2019). Linguistic landscape of the city of Rijeka between past and present. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Linguistics.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij lingvistike) [mentor Sujoldžić, Anita and Piškorec, Velimir].

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Through an interdisciplinary approach, in this thesis we are striving to provide a comprehensive overview of the linguistic landscape of the city of Rijeka in different historical and social circumstances of its development, analysing the way this landscape developed and changed in the last hundred and fifty years. Researching language in the public space, with emphasis on multilingualism, we have endeavoured to establish the interconnectedness of language, social processes and practices, especially so the way in which linguistic landscape contributes to the construction of social reality that, in turn, contemporaneously forms it. In this hundred and fifty year long period, Rijeka has changed politically, socially and in economic terms, which has been reflected on the lives of different language communities in this space, namely, on the language itself. The city has developed in multicultural surroundings where all languages have not had the same status so that it has been inevitable to have an unequal distribution of the language capital. Rijeka is also an earthquake zone, an ambivalent space that has often changed states and authorities, while its symbolic landscapes underwent drastic changes that reflect economic transitions as well as local, national and cosmopolitan aspirations and ideologies. The thesis focuses on contemporary linguistic anthropological and sociolinguistic researches that deal with the issue of cultural and language diversity of multicultural and multilingual environments. The interrelationship of language and social phenomena is what linguistic anthropology is based on, emphasising the need of teaching a language in its social and cultural context, synchronically and diachronically. Socio-political and economic processes that take place in a specific social community form the language itself and have impact on its use and role in the society. Researching the use of languages can thus contribute to a better understanding of different aspects of social life, namely, social and cultural phenomena, as well as processes reflected in it. One of the suitable methodological approaches in the analysis of the dynamics of language practice is the research of the linguistic landscape, which regards written language in the public space, language choices and their motivations (Gorter, 2006). The dialectics between the society and linguistic landscape does not reflect the pragmatic social situation only, but, at the same time, it symbolically forms it by expressing and maintaining the relationship between power and identity. As Rijeka changed in economic terms, this was also reflected on the life of different language communities in that area. As in the period of Austro-Hungarian Empire all languages did not have an equal status, an uneven distribution of the language capital was inevitable in such a multicultural surroundings. A distinct multilingualism favours in comprehending language as a capital, the language policy itself indicating the relations of power in a society, so that it is quite important to know who it is that invests in a specific language market in order to obtain favours in a society, both economic and political. However, although Rijeka was under Hungarian authorities, the implementation of Hungarisation did not prove to be very successful. On the other hand, the use of Italian language in everyday social practice was represented on a much bigger scale, having also been recognised by the authorities on an equal footing with Hungarian. The status itself of a language and the attitude toward it can also tell us about the status of its speakers in a society. In contrast to Hungarian, Italian and German as preferred languages, the status of Croatian was made marginal, which reflects attitudes toward the Croats. Signs of the linguistic landscape prefer Hungarian, Italian and German language, which points to the multilingualism and multiculturalism, while, on the other hand, relegating Croatian language to a marginal status shows who is dominant and what the political, thereby also the linguistic ideology is, which is at odds with the demographic picture of population, as there is a significantly bigger number of Croats with regard to the Hungarians. The period after World War I is the time of a pronounced Italianisation of Rijeka, carried out by reprisals, making local population emigrate and Italian immigrants settle. Multilingualism is not manifested on the signs of linguistic landscape; however, it is present in the lives of people, which also indicates the presence of different individual identities. The period after World War II represents the beginning of an absolutely new state structure, thereby also the birth of a new collective identity, the author of which is the state. Signs of the linguistic landscape reflect political and language ideology, being the example of its active implementation. Here it is not national but class-consciousness that plays the key role. Multilingualism is not represented as there is no longer much variety in the population of Rijeka. The starting bilingualism (Croatian-Italian) in the public space gradually disappears due to the small number of Italians. On the basis of the analysis of signs, we can establish that the linguistic landscape reflects languages that are used in the language community of Rijeka. For the most part, we can speak of bilingualism and not of multilingualism of the population. The situation changes again in the beginnings of nineties, that is, with the aggression against Croatia and the breakup of the Yugoslav state. What now becomes prominent is the manifestation of Croatian national identity, while it is Croatian language that is preferred. It is no longer due to the existence of other language communities that multilingualism is felt, but due to the possibility of communication (pronounced use of English language), of special importance nowadays in the process of globalisation. We can conclude by saying that Rijeka has remained on open city where differences are accepted, however, with a pronounced Croatian identity with elements of the local one, which can be confirmed by the interview with the contemporary inhabitants of Rijeka. The interview features comments of Rijeka contempo-raries on the aspects of Rijeka multilingualism and multiculturalism from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until nowadays.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: multilingualism, multiculturalism, linguistic landscape, language capital, preferred languages, identity, language communities
Subjects: Linguistics
Departments: Department of Linguistics
Supervisor: Sujoldžić, Anita and Piškorec, Velimir
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij lingvistike
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 09:34
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 09:34

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