Snježana Kordić

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Snježana Kordić
Snjezana Kordic3.JPG
Snježana Kordić (2010)
Born (1964-10-29) 29 October 1964 (age 52)[1]
Osijek, Yugoslavia (present-day Osijek, Republic of Croatia)
Residence Zagreb, Croatia
Nationality Croatian
Education MSci, DPhil (Zagreb), Dr habil. (Münster)
Alma mater University of Osijek
University of Zagreb
University of Münster
Occupation Linguistics
Years active 1990–present
Employer Joseph George Strossmayer University of Osijek
University of Zagreb
Ruhr-University Bochum
Westphalian Wilhelms-University of Münster
Humboldt University of Berlin
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Notable work Relativna rečenica (1995)
Riječi na granici punoznačnosti (2002)
Jezik i nacionalizam (2010)
Website snjezana-kordic.from.hr

Snježana Kordić (pronounced [sɲěʒana kôːrdit͡ɕ]; born 29 October 1964) is a Croatian linguist.[1] In addition to her work in syntax, she has written on sociolinguistics. Kordić is known among non-specialists for numerous articles against the puristic and prescriptive language policy in Croatia.[2] Her 2010 book on language and nationalism popularises the theory of pluricentric languages in the Balkans.[3]

Biography[edit]

Education[edit]

Snježana Kordić obtained a degree from Osijek University (1988) and an M.Sci. in Linguistics from the Faculty of Philosophy at the Zagreb University (1992). She earned her Ph.D. in Zagreb (1993).[4] In Germany she obtained a habilitation in Slavic Philology (qualification at professorship level) from the University of Münster in 2002.[5]

Academic appointments[edit]

Kordić taught and conducted research at a number of Croatian and German universities. From 1990-91 she was an assistant at the Osijek University, and from 1991-95 she was an assistant at the Zagreb University.[6] Then she moved to Germany[7] and was a lecturer at the Bochum University from 1993-98.[8] She later served as an associate professor at the Münster University from 1998-2004. After that, she was a visiting professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin from 2004-05.[citation needed] From 2005-07 she was a lecturer at the Frankfurt University.[9]

Works and reception[edit]

Snježana Kordić’s main focal points in research and teaching are grammar, syntax, text linguistics, pragmatics, lexicology, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics[10] and language policy.[11] She has authored over 150[12] linguistic publications, among which are a textbook, a grammar book, and three monographs, which have been translated into English, German or Spanish. Each of her books on syntactic issues has gotten more positive reviews from around the world than any other linguistic book published in Croatia.[3][13][14]

Monograph on relative clauses in Serbo-Croatian (1995)[edit]

Her first monograph on relative clauses[15] was well received.[8] Many reviewers commented favourably on it.[3] Ian Press wrote:

This comprehensive study of relative clauses in Serbo-Croatian is a model of scholarly thoroughness and intellectual balance. [...] The work as a whole is most highly to be recommended to anyone studying relative clauses.

Hans-Peter Stoffel underlined:

This excellent and informative monograph should form part of the personal library of all those interested in this field. The book answers questions which have always been asked but to which one never seemed to obtain a satisfactory answer. Kordić’s book fills this lacuna in a commendable way.

— New Zealand Slavonic Journal[17]

Monograph on Serbo-Croatian words on the border between lexicon and grammar (2002)[edit]

In her second monograph,[18] which has also been reviewed with approval, Snježana Kordić examines Serbo-Croatian words that oscillate between having a full lexical status and a functional grammatical status, a factor that has complicated their lexicographic and grammatical description in dictionaries and grammars. These are mainly lexemes which have a high frequency usage and are used in many different ways. The monograph provides information on the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of the usage of selected pronouns, nouns, particle, conjunctions and verbs.[19] Matthew Feeney concluded his review by saying:

Kordić provides much new information about the selected forms. This work will be of use to those who write in Croatian and Serbian, those who are writing grammars of the language, lexicographer, translators, students and teachers of the language, Slavic linguists and general linguists.

— Slavic and East European Journal[20]

Peter Herrity emphasised that:

In all the chapters of this book the author has thoroughly researched the existing literature on the points covered and provided a conclusion on modern usage which will be invaluable for grammarians and lexicographers who often treat these subjects in a cursory fashion. This book will be a welcome addition to the field of Serbo-Croatian scholarship.

Frequency of relativizers (Kordić)

Wayles Browne, an American expert on relative clauses, commented both of the books. He noted that Kordić's first book on relative clauses is:

a valuable and thorough study of the grammar of relative constructions, drawing theoretical-linguistic inspiration from a number of sources and citing statistical results based on a large representative corpus.

— Canadian Slavonic Papers[19]

In the same review article, Browne pointed out that Kordić's second monograph

shares the virtues of her work on relative clauses, being empirically well supported and making references to a variety of traditions in linguistics. One is impressed to see, on its pages, apposite quotations from independently developed German, Russian, Polish, Czech, and English-American scholarship converging on similar views.

— Canadian Slavonic Papers[19]

Monograph on language and nationalism in Croatia (2010)[edit]

Chapter titles of Kordić’s book

Snježana Kordić's third monograph[22] deals with sociolinguistic topics, such as language policy in Croatia,[23] theory of pluricentric languages,[24] and how identity,[25] culture,[26] nation,[27] and history[28][29] can be misused by politically motivated linguists.[4][30][31][32] Kordić ascertains that since 1990, purism and prescriptivism have been the main features of language policy in Croatia.[33][34][35][36][37] A ban on certain words[38][39] perceived as "Serbian" (which were for the most part merely international) and the idea that a word is more "Croatian" if fewer Croats understood it,[40] resulted in the widespread impression that no one but a handful of linguists in Croatia knew the standard language.[41][42][43][44]

Snježana Kordić 2011 and her book, Jezik i nacionalizam

With a plethora of quotations[28][31][45] from German, French, Polish and English linguistic literature, Kordić demonstrates that the language of Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and Montenegrins is a polycentric language, with four standard variants spoken in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[24][46][47][48][49]

These variants do differ slightly, as is the case with other polycentric languages (English, German, French, Portuguese, and Spanish,[31][50] among others),[51] but not to a degree which would justify considering them as different languages.[52][53][54][55] This fact suggests by no means a re-establishment of a common state, since standard variants of all other polycentric languages are spoken in different countries, e.g. English in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, German in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.[41][56][57][58] The above examples demonstrate that the pluricentricity of language does not imply linguistic unification.[59] Each nation can codify its variant on its own.[59][60]

Kordić criticizes a romantic view of language and nation, which is very widespread in Croatia.[42] The romantic idea that the nation and the language must match has its roots in 19th century Germany, but by the middle of the 20th century, the scientific community abandoned that idea.[28][56][57][61] She also argues against political interference in linguistics.[30][62][63][64][65]

As regards the name of the language, Kordić discusses only the name to be used in linguistics, leaving non-linguists to name the language any way they prefer.[57][59][66][67]

Snježana Kordić and Aleksandar Stanković talk about the book Jezik i nacionalizam, 2014

The monograph generated significant media coverage.[52][56][68][69][70] Kordić gave over forty interviews[71] discussing her book.[72] Some prominent Croatian intellectuals have praised the book.[24][26][41][73] The book also received negative criticism, in both Croatia[74] and Serbia, where Serbian weekly journals opined that the book is "far more dangerous for Serbian linguistics than for Croatian [linguistics]";[75] it is "destructive for the Serbs" because it "makes the language free from the Serbian tradition, it reduces the language to a symbolic-neutral communication tool, it encourages the indifference towards naming of the language and towards the number of different names given to the Serbian language".[76] In Croatia, a group, Hitrec, tried to file a lawsuit against the then active minister of culture arguing that the state should not sponsor that book.[77][78] However, the State's Attorney of Zagreb declined to prosecute.[79] The attempt itself to file the lawsuit was criticised as a "witch hunt" in parts of the Croatian media.[27][80][81][82][83][84]

In his review of the monograph on language and nationalism (Jezik i nacionalizam), Zoran Milutinović commented:

Jezik i nacionalizam is a thorough, well-argued and passionately written critique of linguistic nationalism, rooted in the fear that the nation will disappear unless it has a language of its own, and of its main features: the celebration of purism, the obsession with etymologies, the equation of nation with language, the falsification of history, revisionism, and political disqualification of one’s opponents. Having been for years politically disqualified and professionally defamed herself, with this book Kordić offers an exemplary gesture of how linguistics can maintain its independence, dignity and high academic standards against political manipulation.

Reviewer Goran Miljan wrote:

Kordić elaborates the ideas of language, linguistics, politics, history, culture, etc. in a well-structured and academically highly laudable manner. [...] The fierce reactions to the book cannot surprise: Whilst some intellectuals praised the book, more deemed it necessary to engage into battle against such heresy. [...] Such statements exactly demonstrate the prevailing discourse against which Kordić critically engages in her book, namely that Croatian identity, language, culture, and nation are viewed and explained as inseparable. If one tries to scientifically question one of these ‘core elements’ of nationhood, and tries to deconstruct them, she/he risks the possibility of becoming ostracized.

Selected publications[edit]

See also Complete list of publications by Snježana Kordić

Monographs[edit]

Other books[edit]

Media interviews[edit]

In Croatia
In Bosnia
In Serbia
In Montenegro

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

a. ^ The Durieux-Editor Nenad Popović was honored by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung as one of the six persons that rendered outstanding services to peace in the world in 2010.[87] The newspaper wrote that Nenad Popović published Snježana Kordić’s book Jezik i nacionalizam in 2010. The original text is as follows: "In diesem Jahr machte Popovićs Verlag mit einem Buch der Autorin Snježana Kordić auf dem ganzen Balkan Furore. In ihrem Werk ‘Die Sprache und der Nationalismus’ kommt die in Zagreb und Münster ausgebildete Sprachwissenschaftlerin zum Schluss, dass die südslawischen Völker – Serben, Kroaten, Bosnier und Montenegriner – eine gemeinsame Standardsprache haben. Die Studie war ein Schlag ins Gesicht der Nationalisten, die nach der staatlichen Unabhängigkeit nun versuchen, das Serbokroatische, die Lingua franca der Region, zu begraben und eigene Sprachen zu erfinden."[68]

b. ^ In Croatia, Jezik i nacionalizam was among the five titles nominated for book of the decade[88] in the field of peacebuilding, nonviolence and human rights.

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b Autograf.hr (12 June 2014). "Obavezna lektira: Jezik i nacionalizam (isječci iz novinskih prikaza)" [Required reading: Language and Nationalism (Excerpts from newspaper book reviews)] (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Autograf. ISSN 1849-143X. Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
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  7. ^ 2015 forum "Književni petak" in Zagreb on YouTube (96 mins) (in Serbo-Croatian)
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  32. ^ Vučić, Nikola (10 June 2016). "Knjiga "Jezik i nacionalizam" Snježane Kordić kao manifest otpora" [The book "Language and Nationalism" by Snježana Kordić, as the resistance manifesto] (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Autograf. ISSN 1849-143X. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
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  39. ^ 2012 video on Croatian Television on YouTube (1 min) (in Serbo-Croatian)
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  53. ^ Mappes-Niediek, Norbert (19 January 2011). "Jezik srpskohrvatski" [Serbo-Croatian Language] (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: H-alter. ISSN 1847-3784. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  54. ^ Kordić, Snježana (2 February 2012). "Nacionalisti su sebi osigurali toliku moć da mogu zahtijevati čak i ovakve iracionalnosti" [Nationalists have provided so much power to themselves that they can demand irrationalities] (in Serbo-Croatian). Sarajevo: Slobodna Bosna. p. 60. ISSN 0354-1436. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  55. ^ Deranja, Franjo (4 August 2014). "Protiv kulturološkog primitivizma" [Up against cultural primitivism] (in Serbo-Croatian). Rijeka: Novi list. p. 24. ISSN 1334-1545. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
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