SOAS University of London

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Status and protection of linguistic minorities in Croatia


Date: 24 October 2018Time: 3:30 PM

Finishes: 24 October 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

Speaker: Lucija Šimičić, Department of Linguistics, University of Zadar (Croatia)


Croatia is often perceived as nationally and linguistically largely homogeneous country. This is true to some extent: only up to 8% of the total population is made up of those ethnolinguistic groups that officially count as minorities. On the other hand, it is extremely diverse in terms of its dialectal variability, the number of constitutionally recognized national minorities and their languages, and the number of languages / varieties protected as intangible heritage. The aim of the talk is to give an overview of the linguistic diversity in Croatia, the legal framework for its protection, as well as the factors that render (some) minorities invisible.  After a general discussion of the topic, two case studies will be presented: 1) the diversified treatment of Italian minority/-ies, and 2) the discussion of the status of Arbanasi linguistic minority. The purpose of the presented case studies will be to illustrate some of the major challenges faced in the realm of linguistic minority recognition and protection in Croatia.

About the speaker:

Lucija Šimičić is associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Zadar (Croatia) where she teaches the following courses in the MA programme in Linguistics: Sociolinguistics, Language Typology, Corpus linguistics, Linguistic Geography, Language Policy and Planning, Pragmatics, Educational Linguistics, and Semantics. She is also actively involved in the organization and teaching of several courses in a new BA program “Language and Communication in a Multilingual Society” starting at the Department of Linguistics in 2018. Before moving to Zadar in 2012, she worked as a research assistant in the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, and was involved in the teaching of two courses (Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology and Society and communication) in the BA and MA programmes in Anthropology at the University of Zagreb.

Her research is focused on non-standard varieties, dialects and minority languages, with special interest in language and migration, language sustainability and language management (both in institutional and local community contexts), esp. in minority and endangered language contexts. Her doctoral research on the sociolinguistic situation on the Island of Vis (Croatia) was focused on the analysis of linguistic variation and change in local varieties of Čakavian, and the influence of socio-psychological factors – attitudes and identification processes – in language change, shift and maintenance. These topics were further developed in the framework of numerous Croatian and international projects including „Languages in a Network of European Excellence – LINEE“ (FP6-015127, 2006-2010) and especially the two most recent projects she led / supervised: Promoting multilingualism in Zadar: ethnolinguistic vitality of Arbanasi (ProViZA) (HR 3.2.01-0347, European Social Fund, 2015-2016) and Factors of sustainability of linguistic minorities in the Adriatic region: comparative study of sociolinguistic profiles of Molise Croatian, Zaratin and Arbanasi communities (Adris Foundation, 2015-2017).


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