Institute for Balkan Studies, Belgrade
STUDYING THE MINORITY GROUPS’ IDENTITIES
IN THE BALKANS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
Absract: The study of linguistic ideology, which can be defined as sets of beliefs about language articulated by users and observers as a rationalization or justification of perceived language structure and use, could be a source of valuable information on identity strategies in the Balkans. I will try to determine the relation between linguistic ideologies of „Balkanism“ formed by Western scholars and observers and that one formed by scholars coming from the region, as well as to explore the ways how these ideologies are reflected in the linguistic ideology of the members of small ethnic groups in the Balkans. Such an approach can essentially contribute to understanding of the identity strategies of such groups. It makes a researcher aware of broader ideological frames of interpretation to which the „outside“ expert discourse of small ethnic groups and their language belongs; on the other hand, an „inner“ perspective provided by exploring the linguistic ideology of speakers themselves provides her or him with the first-hand information on the links between macro-processes such as economic and social changes, life of group’s members in their micro worlds. Considering the perspective of language ideology would help a researcher to avoid the danger of considering only one side of the story and by that reproducing discourse which is also ideologically loaded.