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Bunjevac Cultural Heritage - Speech & Tradition

Bunjevac dialects in Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia. There is a diversity of Bunjevac dialects in Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia. A few Bunjevac leaders and political activists, who are influential in the Bunjevac National Council, are strongly involved in developing a "national" identity of Bunjevci: stimulating folklore activities and searching for political and linguistic support to transform Bunjevac dialect in to a distinct language. The leadership of the Croat Bunjevci and Croatian minority in Serbia, has presented the "standard of the Bunjevac language" as an attempt to abolish the dialect of Bunjevac Croats from the Croatian cultural heritage. The Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian authorities do not recognize a distinct Bunjevac/Bunjevci language/nationality. BEC

School textbooks in a standardized Bunjevac dialect/speech variety in Serbia. The Serbian government insisted that school textbooks in a Bunjevac dialect/speech appeared in the Cyrillic script for the first class of primary school, despite the fact that the use of the Latin script is dominant in the Bunjevac community. And it is noteworthy that school textbooks were published (Serbia, 2014), in a variety of a Bunjevac dialect/speech (ethnolect), before an official scientific standardization of a Bunjevac dialect/speech variety was finalized (Serbia, 2018). BEC

Cikerija, Bunjevacko Prelo, Hungary, 2019

Library in Subotica/Szabadka, Serbia, 2014

Tavankutski malisani Svatovi, Serbia

Bunjevac dialect in education, Croatia, 2018

"The subject Bunjevac Speech with Elements of National Culture (Bunjevački govor s elementima nacionalne kulture) continues  to be taught at primary schools, but Bunjevac is not present at pre-school or secondary levels." (Chapter 2 Conclusions of the Committee of Experts on how the Serbian authorities have reacted to the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, Recommendation, Chapter 2, no.2:22, pp.7) MINLANG(2015)20rev 3rd Eval Report Serbia for plenary - Coe. The subject 'Mother tongue with elements of National Culture' is arranged by the national minorities in Serbia ( BEC

Importance of state language proficiency for bi-lingual students: Dejana Milijić-Subić, advisor at the Institute for the Improvement of Education and co-ordinator of the working group in Serbia, advises schools with bi-lingual students to encourage learning Serbian to: "Not being able to function in the state language puts members of national minorities at a great disadvantage. Due to their poor knowledge of Serbian, they are practically unable to exercise their civil rights and responsibilities." Integration starts with a common language - Enhancing state language proficiency of national minority students in Serbia - OSCE (2017)

Political sociolinguistic situation of Bunjevci in the Republic of Serbia: "The Bunjevci are an South Slavic ethnic minority living on the territory of four countries: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Hungary. Originally they were recognized as a part of the Croatian nation, however because of a specific political situation in Serbia shortly after the breakup of Yugoslavia they were given an opportunity to declare themselves as a separate minority group in the 1991 census. After gaining a minority status, they have started to standardize their own language. In 2014, after a long years of work, the textbooks for teaching Bunjevian ethnolect were published. The aim of the article is to present the complex sociolinguistic situation of Bunjevci and analyze grammatical and orthographical content of textbooks as well as the metalanguage used to describe the language processes." Socjolingwistyk XXX, 2016. pp.39-51. Dudek, Anna.

Serbian political motivation to separate Bunjevci and Šokci from the Croatian people: "In Vojvodina, attempts to divide Bunjevac and Šokac from Croatian ethnicity were launched in order to create two separate Bunjevac and Šokac ethnicities. This resulted in the revision of choices for ethnic affiliation in the 1991 Yugoslavian census. The categories of Bunjevac and Šokac were introduced as the new categorization of ethnic affiliation for the purpose of reducing the number of Croatian population inside the Socialist republic of Serbia. Although Bunjevci were officially recognized as a separate ethnic group beginning in 1991, there are many Bunjevci who question the new categorization and continue to identify themselves not as a separate ethnicity from Croatian but simply as Yugoslav, or, as a part of Croatian ethnicity in the frame of “Vojvodina Croats” (which includes Šokci)." Kameda, Masumi (2013). pp. 96. Language Ideologies of the Bunjevac Minority in Vojvodina: Historical Backgrounds and the Post-1991 Situation

Standardized dialect: "In every region there is a linguistic variation. This linguistic variation has to be respected, because it is the identity of people. That is where differentiation between the culture is. Dialect standardization only happens when the people involved have enough or modify their identity to that or affiliation associated with a larger group, standardization is possible and often occurs. Before a standardization process, speaker use their dialects for all of their speech functions. After a standardization process, speaker use the standardized variety for at least some of their speech functions. For example, reading and writing and conversation in formality situations often call for use of standardized variety. Thus, the standardization process is fundamentally a shift in language use patterns." Mark E. Karan, Kerry M. Corbett (2014). The Importance of Identity and Affiliation in Dialect Standardization. pp. 55-61. Dialogue on Dialect Standardization. University North Dakota. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN (10):1-4438-666-1X.

Disputes about the national status and historical origins of the Bunjevci - "Bunjevac Question": Both the Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian authorities do not recognize a distinct Bunjevac/Bunjevci language/nationality. Some Bunjevci in Hungary and Serbia, who are gathered around the Bunjevac National Council (Vojvodina/Serbia), claiming they are an autochthonous ethnic group (Bunjevac nation/tribe/people,, while most of the Bunjevci in the Bačka region identifying themselves as a Croatian sub-ethnic group – an integral part of the Croatian national corpus (Statement by the Presidency of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts regarding Bunjevci Croats. Bunjevci belong to Croatian Nation. Glasnik-Broj-2. pp.53., represented by the Croat National Council (Vojvodina/Serbia). The Republic Serbia is using in Vojvodina a "segregated model of multiculturalism" (Žarković, Sara). Most people who declare that they belong to a specific ethnic/minority group, already come from families with mixed family backgrounds (e.g. mixed marriages between different nationalities/ethnicities, interreligious marriages). BEC

Theories about the Bunjevac origin"‘Bunjevci are people of Norman origin.’ ‘Bunjevci are indigenous pre-Slavic population of the Roman province Transdanubia, at the time called Dardans.’ ‘Bunjevci are Ilirs. They are catholici Valachi alias Bunievczi.’ ‘The core of Bunjevci people are old Roman inhabitants.’ ‘Bunjevci are Morlachs or Vallachs from Dalmatia and Herzegovina, who were Slavenized and accepted the Catholic faith.’ ‘Bunjevci originated from Bosnia and were members of the Bosnian Church, so called Bogumils, led to Vojvodina by Franciscan monks under the condition of accepting Catholicism.’ ‘Bunjevci are Serbs from Bosnia, converted by force to Catholicism, who then migrated to Vojvodina.’ ‘Bunjevci have always been Catholics, they are a Croat tribe, dispersed in Herzegovina, Dalmatia and Vojvodina.’ ‘Bunjevci are the fourth South Slav nation, besides Slovenes, Croats and Serbs.’" Todosijević, Bojan (2002). Why Bunjevci did not become a nation:  A Case Study. East Central Europe,Vol. 29, No.1-2, pp.59-72

Minority politics - "divide et impera principle": "Cultural autonomy, reflected in a form of self-government in the areas of education, use of language and media control, establishment of specific associations, foundations, etc. transform into a relevant flow of financial means. In effect, leading a minority council stands for disposal of finances, governing various institutions and controlling minority's media. Therefore the leaders within one minority group are likely to turn against each other, rather then cooperate. The financial and economic benefits may constitute a strong argument for a leadership and influential tools in an impoverished society. Competition there is also very likely to happened, with all of it consequences." Muś, Jan (2013)

Bunjevačka Matica - International Expert Seminar - 13 minorities - Serbia 

With the support of the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning of the Fryske Akademy, and the Bunjevac European Center from the Netherlands, Bunjevačka Matica from Subotica (Serbia) organized an international expert seminar under the working title "Languages at risk of extinction and the digitization of educational materials for minority education". The two-day Seminar has brought together an excellent opportunity for real-life dialogues between researchers from The Netherlands, Portugal, University of Novi Sad and members of 13 minority communities from Vojvodina/Serbia. Research papers were submitted, focussing on the language policy and aspects of linguistic diversity along the lines of education; E-learning and access to knowledge in the broadest possible sense. The event took place on 24th and 25th of November 2015 in Subotica, Serbia. BEC

© Stichting Bunjevac European Center, 2015