Revisiting Language, Ethnicity, and Identity in the Former Yugoslavia

Robert Greenberg

This special edition on the language issues in the former Yugoslav space (AWPEL 2.1) provides some new perspectives and approaches to the study of the interplay of language, ethnicity and identity among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. When I first began focusing on this topic in the early 1990s, the sociolinguistic and ethnographic linguistic literature on the peoples and languages of this multi-ethnic space seemed to be in its infancy. This volume reveals that the case of the former Yugoslavia has proven to be a fruitful field for scholarship in these areas of linguistic inquiry. It is pleasing to see here how younger researchers approach the complex issues arising from the breakup of Yugoslavia and the disintegration of the joint language formerly known as Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian. [...]

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Author Biography
Robert Greenberg, University of Auckland

Robert Greenberg is currently serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Auckland. He previously was a Dean and Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and for ten years a Professor (adjunct) in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. His PhD is from Yale University in 1991, and he has held teaching positions at Yale, Georgetown, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a specialist in South Slavic languages and linguistics, and has worked primarily on sociolinguistic issues in the former Yugoslavia. He has explored issues of language, nationalism, and ethnic identity both in Tito's Yugoslavia and in the years following Yugoslavia's breakup. His publications include numerous books and articles on South Slavic and Balkan Slavic topics. His book, Language and Identity in the Balkans (Oxford University Press, 2004, second revised and expanded edition, 2008), received an award in 2005 for the best book in Slavic Linguistics from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. In 2010 he was the recipient of the William Clyde DeVane medal for excellence in teaching and scholarship at Yale University.

Declaration on the Common Language. 2017. Available at: (last accessed: February 2019).
Greenberg, R. 2016. “The language situation for the Bosniaks on both sides of the Serbian/Montenegrin border.” In T. Kamusella, M. Nomachi & C. Gibson (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Slavic Languages, Identities and Borders. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 330-46.
Greenberg, R. 2018. “Language policies on both sides of the Slovenia/Croatia border: Ongoing challenges regarding minority populations.” In S. Dickey & M. Lauersdorf (eds.), V zeleni dr eli zeleni breg: Studies in Honor of Marc L. Greenberg. Bloomington: Slavica, 91-104.
Greenberg, R. & M. Hristova. 2015. “Language and conflict: Minority rights in contemporary Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia.” Balkanistica 28: 201-24.
Jukić, E. 2015. “Bosnian schools boycott over language row spreads.” Balkan Insight. Available at: (last accessed: September 2015).
Kamusella, T., Nomachi, M. & C. Gibson (eds.). 2016. The Palgrave Handbook of Slavic Languages, Identities and Borders. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kovačević, D. 2018. “Bosnian Serbs to adopt same school curriculum as Serbia.” Balkan Insight. Available at: (last accessed: January 2019).
Milekić, S. 2017. “Post-Yugoslav ‘Common Language’ challenges nationalism.” Balkan Insight. Available at (last accessed: April 2017).
Panić, K. 2015. “Bosnian Serbs’ renaming of language angers Bosniaks.” Balkan Insight. Available at: (last accessed: May 2016).