Panel Discussion "Language – National Language – Dialect" (Serbia)

Interviews with people from German-speaking Switzerland are frequently played back on German television with subtitles because otherwise many Germans wouldn’t be able to understand them. In linguistics one talks of German as a pluricentric language, but it would certainly be possible to regard Austrian and Swiss German as languages in their own right. What distinguishes a language from a dialect and how (perhaps it would make more sense to ask: why) does a language become a national tongue?

Discussion of these questions against the background of the German language(s) throws an interesting light on how the language question is being handled in the region whose language was previously known as Serbo-Croat. The discussion was between Prof. Ulrich Ammon (Germany), Prof. Rudolf de Cillia (Austria), Prof. Georges Lüdi (Switzerland), Prof. Ivan Klajn (Serbia) and Daniel Grabic MA (Germany).

In collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Swiss Embassy.

Participating Speakers:

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ammon is Professor of Germanic Linguistics focusing on sociolinguistics at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He was Guest Professor i.a. in the USA, Australia, Japan and Austria. His major publications (14 monographs and approx. 250 essays) include: "Dialect, Social Inequality and School" 1972; "The International Status of the German Language" 1991; "The German Language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland" 1995; "Is Germany still an international scientific language?" 1998 and – together with Hans Bickel, Jakob Ebner i.a. – "Variants Dictionary of German. The German language in Austria, Switzerland and Germany and in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and South Tyrol" 2004. In the last few years he has devoted himself more to questions of language policy, e.g. in the volume "Language Promotion. The Key to Foreign Cultural Policy" 2000.

Prof. Dr. Rudolf de Cillia read German studies, Romance studies and linguistics. He is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching Research at the Institute for Linguistic Science at the University of Vienna. His research and publications encompass foreign language didactics and language teaching research, language policy, language minorities, migration research, language and politics, critical discourse analysis and research into linguistic prejudice.
Prof. Dr. Ivan Klajn (* 1937) studied Italian language and literature at the Philological Faculty in Belgrade. His master's thesis deals with the subject of "Words of Foreign Origin in Post-war Italian", and in a doctoral thesis he is concerned with the "Influence of the English Language on Italian". As an Ordinary Professor he taught contemporary Italian language, historical grammar of the Spanish language and comparative grammar of Romance languages. Since October 2002 he has been Professor emeritus. In 2000 He was elected a corresponding member and in 2003 an ordinary member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences. Prof. Klajn has been a member of the Commission for the Standardisation of the Serbian Language since its foundation in 1997 and since 2000 he has been its Chair. In the "Matica srpska" he has been Editor in Chief of the journal "Sprache heute" since the first issue appeared. Since 1974 Prof. Klajn has written small weekly contributions for "Borba", "Ilustrovana Politika" and "Politika", and in the last fifteen years also for "NIN".

Prof. Dr. Georges Lüdi (* 1943) is Director of the Institute for French Linguistic and Literary Studies of the University of Basle. He read Romance Studies and Linguistics in Zürich, Madrid and Montpellier. In 1971 he obtained a doctorate from the University of Zurich and in 1976 he was awarded the title of Professor in French and Spanish Linguistic Science. Since 1982 he has held the Professorship of French Linguistic Science at the University of Basle. In 1994/95 he was Dean of the Philosophical-Historical Faculty. 1996-2002 President of the Planning Commission of the University of Basle. Since 1985 President of the Foundation for the FEW Since 1994 Member of the Science Policy Council for the Social Sciences of the Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 1998 Chair of the Experts Group for and Overall Language Concept of the Elementary School of the EDK (Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education) Since 1997 Scientific Adviser to the European Council in matters of language policy.

Daniel Grabic (*1979) grew up in Mönchengladbach, where he concluded his schooling with the "Abitur". In 2005 he was awarded the title of 'Magister Artium', graduating in "International Information Management" at the Institute of Applied Linguistic and Information Sciences of the University of Hildesheim. Within the framework of his studies, he was concerned among other things with the language policy aspects with respect to the origins, development and end of the "Serbo-Croatian language community". Since October 2005 he has worked on a doctoral thesis under Prof. Dr. Stefan Troebst at the Centre for Higher Studies of the University of Leipzig. Daniel Grabic is examining in his thesis the identity discourse of the pro-Montenegrin elite with reference to a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the Montenegrin journal 'Monitor' in the period 1990 to 2007.


17:00 h Welcoming Address

17:15 h Prof. Ulrich Ammon, University of Düsseldorf: "German as a language with multiple centres – the linguistic relationships between Germany, Austria and (German-speaking) Switzerland.

17:40 h Prof. Rudolf de Cillia, University of Vienna: "Language/s – National Language – Dialects in Austria "

18:00 h Prof. Georges Lüdi, University of Basle: "The Linguistic Landscape of Switzerland "

18:30 h Coffee Break

18:45 h Daniel Grabic MA, University of Leipzig: "Montenegrin as Part of the Identity Discourse in Montenegro Today"

19:15 h Prof. Ivan Klajn, Serbian Academy of Sciences, Belgrade: "Purism and Antipurism in the Serbian Language "

19:45 h Open Discussion with the Audience

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