Re: Latin digraph characters (was: Re: Klingon silliness)

Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 04:04:44 EST

Doug Ewell frug:

> Aren't Serbian and Croatian the standard example of two "languages" that are
> really the same language but are treated separately (a) for political reasons
> and (b) because Cyrillic is used to write the former and Latin to write the
> latter? Are there any linguistic or vocabulary differences between them?

The matter is much more complicated here. Linguistically speaking,
there is a south slavonic dialect continuum from slovenian to bulgarian
with no sharp language boundaries. There are, of course, many feature
boundaries and isoglosses, as usual in dialect continua.

Any national language is a contruction (where the degree of contructedness
varies considerably). Serbocroatian (as a single language) is essentially
a 19th century construction and became the national language of Yugoslavia
after WW I. Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian (and maybe Montenegrin soon) are more
recent constructions before and after the split of Yugoslavia into parts.

There is lot of prescriptive language planning going on in order to make
the three languages more different form each other. The national languages
do not map the major dialect boundaries in the dialect continuum.

If you can read german, I recommend to you the book of

Detlev Blanke, Internationale Plansprachen, Akademie-Verlag Berlin

whch contains lots of examples how national languages contained
planned elements. I proceeds with a survey of planned languages and
Esperanto. Did you know, the Slovak was reconstructed in the 19th century
in order to make it more different from czech?

--J"org Knappen

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