Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. Juni 2006

1.4. Reproduktionen und Innovationen in Sprache und Kommunikation verschiedener Sprachkulturen / Reproduction and Innovation in Language and Communication in different Language Cultures
Herausgeber | Editor | Éditeur: Rudolf Muhr (Universität Graz)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

English In Croatia: Past And Present

Lelija Sočanac [BIO], Anja Nikolić-Hoyt [BIO]
(Linguistic Research Institute, Zagreb, Croatia)



The article is divided chronologically into two main parts. The first section discusses the English linguistic influence in Croatia from its beginnings in the nineteenth century, while the second part focuses on the most recent period, starting from the 1990s, which is marked by an unprecedented impact of English on other languages as a result of globalisation.


1. Introduction

The rise of English as a language of international communication has affected European languages in similar ways. Since the common trends are well known, it is more interesting to explore features which are specific for individual languages as a basis for a wider comparative approach.


2. Historical Overview

For most European languages, including Croatian, the beginnings of the English language’s impact can be traced back to the nineteenth century. At that time, Croatian was exposed to strong influences exerted by neighbouring languages: primarily Italian and German and, to a lesser extent, Hungarian. In this respect, there were strong regional differences resulting from historical divisions, Italian being dominant in the south and German in the north. Con­tacts with other Slavic languages grew particularly intense with the growing influence of the pan-Slavic ideal. Thus, in the effort to develop new terminologies, words were often borrowed from Russian and Czech as genetically related languages in preference to those from other languages. The Croatian spelling reform was carried out under a strong Czech influence. Above all, however, the nineteenth century was a period of language reform with the aim of bringing Croatian and Serbian closer together by stressing similarities and disregarding differences between the two languages - as a result, a common language, Serbo-Croatian was eventually created which became the official language of the South Slavic state that emerged after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the World War I.

Throughout the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, English was still a far-away and rather exotic language that few Croatian speakers were familiar with. At the time, most English loanwords entered Croatian through German mediation. The main foreign languages taught at Croatian schools were French and German. Italian remained the language of instruction in coastal Croatia until World War I, so that it functioned as the second, rather than foreign, language in the area.

English was first introduced as a foreign language at the Naval Academy in Bakar in 1882. It was sporadically taught at some private schools in Zagreb at the end of the nineteenth century. A. Lochmer wrote the first English grammar published in Croatia in 1889, and the same author compiled the first English-Croatian dictionary in 1906 (Filipović 1980). English studies at the university level were established in 1935 within the Department of Germanic languages at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb.

A massive influx of Anglicisms began after World War II, the period in which Europe came to be divided by the Iron Curtain. The growing prestige of Anglo-American civilization was evident in the West, and suppressed in the East, without much success - Coca-Cola and jeans were objects of desire, symbolizing a different world. However, barriers to this new influence were far stronger in the East than in the West. In the West, English expanded from the north to the south, and with the growth of proficiency, became the European lingua franca, used for international communication. In some countries, it entered some internal domains such as higher education and science. In the East, Russian functioned as the lingua franca in the Soviet Union. In spite all the efforts, it never fully acquired this status in the East European countries belonging to the Soviet bloc, where it was taught as the only compulsory foreign language in the schools. While attitudes towards English were positive, since it was largely seen as the language of democracy and progress, attitudes towards Russian, an imposed language, were expressly negative in the countries of the Soviet bloc.

After Tito's break with Stalin and the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia became one of the few Communist countries in Europe outside the Soviet bloc, and was open to a large extent to Western influences. Thus, starting from the 1960s, English became the first, and certainly the most popular, foreign language learnt in schools. Anglo-American pop culture was widely popular, English and American films and TV broadcasts were watched with enthusiasm, and the preference for subtitling rather than dubbing contributed to the frequency of direct contact with the language. English and American newspapers and magazines could easily be found at Yugoslav newsstands, while specialized bookshops offered English and American literature. Thus, Anglicisms started pouring into Serbian and Croatian, which were officially considered to be varieties of one single language in spite of their differences - notably, the use of different alphabets, which affected the orthographic adap­tation of English loanwords in the two varieties to a large extent. The language question, however, has always been a highly charged political issue.

With respect to Anglicisms, one can discern two basic trends: descriptivist, trying to approach the phenomenon in a detached and objective way (see Filipović), and ideological, i.e. purist, demanding the purging of foreign, especially English, influences from the language (see Babić). Purist efforts, however, have never been institutionalised.

When Croatian became the official state language of Croatia in the 1990s, purist campaigns grew especially strong in the first post-war period. The prime purist targets were Serbian linguistic elements, primarily lexical and syntactic forms - thus, the long period of convergence between Croatian and Serbian was followed by a radical divergence. The other target of purist attacks was Anglicisms, as the strongest foreign influence, which was per­ceived as a threat to the Croatian language as a powerful symbol of national identity. The initial purist campaigns gradually diminished, although efforts along these lines are still present.

The "objective" approach characterizes the linguistic descriptivist tra­dition, which has produced substantial results in Croatian linguistics. In this context, it should be pointed out that contact linguistics in Croatia developed quite early: its beginnings can be traced back to etymological studies, dealing to a large extent with contacts between Croatian and other, primarily Romance, languages. Rudolf Filipović was the founder of modern contact linguistics in Croatia, and he published his first studies in the field in the 1950s, closely following Weinreich and Haugen. In the 1960s, a large international project, "The English element in European languages," was initiated in Zagreb. Work on the compilation of a multilingual corpus of Anglicisms in European languages began; its representativeness did not de­pend on the number of languages included but rather on the variety of their systems and structures. Once the criteria according to which a language quali­fied for inclusion were defined, twenty-two languages were chosen: Albanian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Rumanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. The corpus of Anglicisms in each language was to become a source of information on the specific adapta­tion of Anglicisms in particular receiving languages, and would provide material for a dictionary of Anglicisms in that language. In the final stage, results were to be compared in an effort to find universal features of linguistic borrowing. The ambitious project, however, was never brought to completion due to practical reasons, primarily financial difficulties. However, a number of articles on the adaptation of Anglicisms in the above languages were published in two volumes of reports and studies entitled "The English Element in European Languages," edited by R. Filipović (Filipović 1982; 1991). These texts discussed problems of adaptation on the orthographic, phonological, morphological, and semantic levels and gave valuable data for each language. In addition, a number of MA and PhD theses focussed on different aspects of the English influence on Croatian and other languages. (Muhvić-Dimanovski 2003)

Anglicisms in Croatian belong to a wide range of semantic fields:

articles of clothing

E. baby-doll > C. bebi-dol

E. mackintosh > C. mekintoš

E. blazer > C. blejzer

E. outfit > C. outfit

E. body shirt > C. bodi

E. outfit > C. outfit

E. cardigan > C. kardigan

E. pyjamas > C. pidžama

E. dress > C. dres

E. plaid > C. pled

E. jeans > C. džins

E. redingote > C. redingot

E. jumper > C. džemper

E. short > C. šorc

E. Levi's > C. levisice

E. slip > C. slip

E. trench coat > C. trenčkot

E. twin set > C. set

computer technology

E. assembler > C. asembler

E. joystick > C. džojstik

E. back-up > C. back up

E. megachip > C. megačip

E. buffer > C. bafer

E. microchip > C. mikročip

E. bug > C. bag

E. modem > C. modem

E. byte > C. bajt

E. off-line > C. off-line

E. compiler > C. kompajler

E. on-line > C. on-line

E. computer > C. kompjutor

E. re-set > C. resetirati

E. file > C. file, fajl

E. save > C. sejvati

E. floppy disk > C. flopi

E.scanner > C. skener

E. hacking > C. hacking, heking

E. software > C. softver

E. hard disk > C. hard disk

E. spelling checker > C. speling čeker

E. hardware > C. hardver

E. text processor > C. tekst procesor


E. break dance > C. breakdance, brejkdens, brejkdans, brekdens

E. quickstep > C. quickstep

E. charleston > C. čarlston

E. shimmy > C. šimi

E. fox trot > C. fokstrot

E. step > C. stepati

E. hully gully > C. hali-gali

E. twist > C. tvist

E. madison > C. medison

E. two-step > C. two-step

dog breeds

E. airedale terrier > C. erdel terijer

E. dog > C. doga

E. bobtail > C. bobtejl

E. fox terrier > C. foksterijer

E. bulldog > C. buldog

E. poodle > C. pudl

E. cocker spaniel > C. koker španijel

E. spaniel > C. španijel

E. collie > C. koli

E. terrier > C. terijer


E. brandy > C. brendi

E. juice > C. džus

E. Coca-Cola > C. kokakola

E. long drink > C. long drink

E. cocktail > C. koktel

E. milk shake > C. milk shake, milk-šejk

E. drink > C. drink

E. punch > C. punč

E. gin > C. džin

E. scotch > C. skoč

E. grog > C. grog

E. whiskey > C. viski


E. anti-dumping > C. antidamping

E. dumping > C. damping

E. barter > C. barter

E. joint venture > C. joint venture

E. broker > C. broker

E. leasing > C. leasing

E. budget > C. budžet

E. management > C. menedžment

E. business > C. biznis

E. market > C. market

E. cash > C. keš

E. marketing > C. marketing

E. check > C. ček

E. revolving credit > C. rivolving kredit

E. clearing > C. kliring

E. trust > C. trust

E. consulting > C. konzalting



E. clown > C. klaun

E. disco > C. disko

E. cover-girl > C. cover girl, kaver gerl

E. drive-in > C. drive-in

E. disc jockey > C. disk džokej

E. fan > C. fan

E. festival > C. festival

E. quiz > kviz

E. front man > C. frontman

E. show > C. šou

E. gag > C. geg

E. showman > C. šoumen

E. go-go girl > C. go-go gerla

E. sketch > C. skeč

E. happening > C. hepening

E. soap-opera > C. soap-opera

E. hit > C. hit

E. star > C. star

E. jukebox > C. džuboks

E. starlet > C. starleta

E. light show > C. lajt šou

E. striptease > C. striptiz

E. live show > C. live show, lajv šou

E. talk show > C. tok šou

E. musical > C. mjuzikl



E. beefsteak > C. biftek

E. cornflakes > C. kornflejks

E. brunch > C. brunch

E. cracker > C. kreker

E. cakes > C. keks

E. dressing > C. dresing

E. cheeseburger > C. čizburger

E. fast-food > C. fast-food

E. grapefruit > C. grejp

E. pudding > C. puding

E. ham-and-eggs > C. hemendeks

E.roast beef > C. rostbif

E. hamburger > C. hamburger

E. rump steak > C. ramstek

E. hot dog > C. hot dog

E. sandwich > C. sendvič

E. jam > C. džem

E. toast > C. tost

E. lunch > C. lanč

E. topping > C. toping

E. popcorn > C. popkorn



E. bridge > C. bridž

E. jackpot > C. jack-pot

E. flipper > C. fliper

E. puzzle > C. pazl

E. flush > C. fleš

E. poker > C. poker

E. frisbee > C. frizbi

E. whist > C. vist

E. full house > C. ful



E. barrel > C. barel

E. kilowatt > C. kilovat

E. bushel > C. bušel

E. newton > C. njutn

E. decibel > C. decibel

E. ounce > C. unca

E. gallon > C. galon

E. rutherford > C. raderford

E. inch > C. inč

E. yard > C. jard


E. acid rock > C. acid rock

E. new wave > C. new wave

E. afro-beat > C. afro-beat

E. pop-rock > C. pop-rok

E. beat > C. bit

E. punk > C. pank

E. band > C. bend

E. ragtime > C. regtajm

E. bebop > C. bi-bap

E. reggae > C. reggae

E. blues > C. bluz

E. rhythm and blues > C. rhythm and blues

E. boogie-woogie > C. bugi-vugi

E. riff > C. rif

E. country > C. kantri

E. rock > C. rok

E. crooner > C. kruner

E. soul > C. soul

E. funk > C. fank

E. sound > C. sound, saund

E. gospel > C. gospel

E. spiritual > C. spiritual

E. hard rock > C. hard rok

E. swing > C. sving

E. heavy metal > C. heavy metal

E. jazz > C. džez


E. apartheid > C. aparthejd

E. meeting > C. miting

E. appeasement > C. epizment

E. summit > C. samit

E. impeachment > C. impičment

E. tory > C. tori

E. lobby > C. lobi

E. whig > C. vig

E. Maccarthyism > C. makartizam



E. car ferry > C. car-ferry

E. hovercraft > C. hoverkraft

E. cargo liner > C. kargo

E. liner > C. lajner

E. carrier > C. carrier

E. schooner > C. škuner

E. clipper > C. kliper

E. skiff > C. skif

E. coaster > C. koster

E. steamer > C. steamer

E. cruiser > C. kruzer

E. trawler > C. troler

E. cutter > C. kuter

E. yacht > C. jahta

E. ferryboat > C. feribot



E. advantage > C. edvantidž, advantedž, adventidž

E. boxing > C. boks

E. back > C. bek

E. center forward > C. centarfor

E. back-hand > C. bekend

E. center halfback > C. centarhalf

E. base-ball > C. bejzbol

E. change > C. čendž

E. bob > C. bob

E. clinch > C. klinč

E. coach > C. kouč

E. net > C. net

E. corner > C. korner

E. off side > C. ofsajd

E. crawl > C. kraul

E. open > C. open

E. cricket > C. kriket

E. playmaker > C. plejmejker

E. cross-country > C. kros-kontri

E. play-off > C. plej-of

E. derby > C. derbi

E. pole position > C. pole position

E. dribble > C. driblati

E. polo > C. polo

E. fitness > C. fitnes

E. rally > C. reli

E. footing > C. futing

E. rugby > C. ragbi

E. forehand > C. forhend

E. serve (v.) > C. servirati serve (n.) > C. serva

E. forward > C. forvard

E. set > C. set

E. foul > C. faul

E. shoot > C. šutirati

E. full contact > C. ful kontakt

E. smash > C. smečirati

E. game > gem

E. sport > C. sport, šport

E. goal > gol

E. sprint > C. sprintati, šprintati

E. golf > golf

E. squash > C. skvoš

E. grand slam > C. grand slam

E. tennis > C. tenis

E. half > C. half

E. tie-break > C. tajbrejk

E. hockey > C. hokej

E. time-out > C. tajmout

E. jog > C. džogirati

E. train > C. trenirati

E. knockdown > C. nokdaun

E. trekking > C. treking

E. knockout > nokaut

E. lob > C. lobovati

E. masters > C. masters

E. match > C. meč

E. water polo > C. vaterpolo

E. welter > C. velter

E. motocross > C. motokros

E. volley > C. volej


E. cashmere > C. kašmir

E. oxford > C. oksford

E. flannel > C. flanel

E. shetland > C. šetland

E. jersey > C. džersej

E. tweed > C. tvid


E. airbus > C. airbus

E. charter > C. čarter

E. airlift > C. erlift

E. jumbo-jet > C. džambo džet

E. apex > C. apeks, apeksica



E. browning > C. brauning

E. tank > C. tenk

E. colt > C. kolt

E. torpedo > C. torpedo

E. pershing > C. peršing

E. winchester > C. vinčesterka

The above examples comprise Anglicisms that were adopted in Croatian before the 1990s (Filipović 1991). Most of these loanwords were orthographically, phonologically, and morphologically adapted. The most frequent semantic change is the restriction of meaning; as is well known, in cases of polysemy, loanwords do not retain all the meanings they had in the donor language. In rare cases the meaning of some Anglicisms has become specialized in Croatian due to the specific social context. Thus the word miting (< meeting) was used mostly in the meaning of ‘political assembly of people’ - the meaning was common in all the Communist countries. Accord­ing to Görlach (2001 : 198), this meaning spread as a result of Russian me­diation. In the post-Communist period in Croatia, the word is used very rarely, mainly with negative connotations.

With time, some loanwords have become completely integrated into the language as indispensable lexical items, such as film and sport, while some have disappeared from use. It is interesting to note, however, that some An­glicisms which were borrowed and adapted in earlier periods, today appear in the non-adapted, "English" form, which is characteristic of recent borrowings from English into Croatian starting from the 1990s.


3. English in Croatia today

The spread of English usually means the adoption of English as a second or additional language in various parts of the world. Nevertheless, as far as the current English-Croatian contact situation is concerned, English has the position of first foreign language. Otherwise, it has no official standing, that is, it does not have a formal status or function within the Croatian sociolinguistic community. On the other hand, in contrast with the common status of foreign languages which are used primarily for international purposes, that is, for communication with speakers from other countries, English in Croatia (and elsewhere) is used both for international public communication and terminology, and for intranational conversational communication, especially among young people in urban settings, the so-called global teenagers (Schwartz 1996: 120-1), who are especially fond of using Anglicisms.

As centres for the flow of people, goods, and ideas, urban settings provide the kind of environment where social and cultural practices are transformed and where new language varieties and speech habits emerge (Graddol 1997: 27). It is not surprising that the spread of English is felt first in urban areas. At the same time, global teenagers are the greatest consumers of English language and culture; as a result, they are the key agents for language change caused by the infiltration of English elements and the implementation of new speech habits. Finally, global teenagers participate very frequently in new media practices, which are also one of the most important instruments of language change. The Internet and mobile telephones, with their possibilities of sending short text messages (SMS), have both proved to be of profound significance to teenage life. By condensing the distance and the linking of dispersed 'discourse communities' based on shared interests such as music, computers, fashion, and sports, new electronic media have made expressing one's self and one-to-one communication among teenagers more easy and dynamic. It is interesting to note that young people tend to adopt English, which has been the dominant language of youth style since World War II, as an important driver of their feelings and thoughts.

Croatian Internet forums, particularly those of teenage participants, abound in English loanwords and code-switched utterances in which English becomes an in-group marker of global youth (teenage) identity. Although much more prevalent in bilingual communities, code-switching in monolingual societies serves an expressive function and has pragmatic meaning (Gumperz 1982). The most common type of triggering of code-switched utterances in the examples below is contextual, which means that the code-switching is usually triggered by the context of communication. In other words, as soon as the conversation touches a certain subject matter, for instance music, fashion or the Internet, or level of formality, there may well be more or less automatic code-switching (Görlach 2003: 33):

slušate li iron maiden,koja vam je najdraža pjesma,a ako ne imate li neko mišljenje o toj grupi?

čuj dobio bi više odgovora da si stavio IM pod glazba al ok..najbolja stvar ....out of the silent

planet je krejzi totalno i trooper i bog zna...

a znam malo sam se zeznula bdw ja sam žensko

sori sori osobno mrzim zamjenu spolova

no problem, samo da se zna

No. 1 band in d world (, 31. 8.-9. 9. 05)

Ne postoji žanr gothic rock,samo gothic metal,ali nema veze...Ja volim najviše black metal. (, 19. 11. 05)

ja slusam glazbu 24 h na dan, nrmrem zivit bez nje!!!

najvise slusam rock, ali uz to jos i punk, metal,(vecinom heavy metal) grunge, reggae.... dalo bi se jos nabrajat.

naj bendovi: azra obavezno, bijelo dugme, prljavci, nirvana, hammerfall, iron maiden(iako njih u posljednje vrijeme bas i ne slusam),beatlesi

e da, nevolim bas britney i te fore, iako sam to prije ful puno slusala... (>Forum )

treniram street plesove (hip hop i disco dance) i to je jedna od stvari bez kojih nemrem zamislit svoj život. Slušam brokenbeat, future jazz, nu-soul, jazzy-deep-house i sve druge 'mekše' elektorničke stilove. (>Forum )

My boyfriend ...Tip je darker,Metallica fan#1 i savrsenstvo u pravom smislu

A ovako...Dont know...Poznati mi nisu nesto privlacni...(, 16. 01. 05)

Naravno ja mislim da je green day the best grupa na svijetu, ma oni su jednostavno zakon,a tek billie hot!!!!!!!!!! ( )

nema seksi metalaca. šta je seksi na tipu koji se oblači u crno ili onu kožu? šta je seksi na tipu koji na sebi ima dredlockse ili piercinge i koji je cijeli istetoviran? NIŠTA. meni su ipak sportaši najbolji. nogometaši su super, ali imaju one krive noge (xxxxxxxx ljubavi, sorry), ali su mi rukometaši zato zakon (, 21. 10. 05).

mislim ako sam samo ja to primjetio,da je multiplayer stranice zadnji put uploadana 11.5,mora da ste malo zakazali,koliko novih igara je izaslo a t-com nudi samo malo od njih...mislim bilo bi super kada bi podigli raven shield server,itd itd -.-' (, 8. 10. 05)

Trebala bi ti podržati jer je jača, a ako ne skini nove drivere ili patch za igru!! (, 5. 10. 05)

Tamo gdje spameri ne idu

Eh, tko zna, tema možda čak i postoji

Ali ne znamo gdje može biti

Nitko ne zna zapravo

Enter i enter, ali nema i nema

Pola ovog prelijepog foruma mogu pretražiti

Searching for this topic

Tražit ću do smrti

Oko će bijelo postati

Jako ćete se razočarati

I shokirati ako početna slova svakog reda pročitate!ole! (>Forum, 25. 2. 06)

Even though the linguistic characteristics of teenagers, who form a distinct age cohort and are a more or less no-access social group, are usually age preferential, or preferred by a certain age group, but also age exclusive, or used exclusively by members of a certain age group (Coulmas 2005: 58), the increased use of English in Croatian does not exclude members of other age groups, but is less frequent among them.

The spread of English also means the diffusion of English vocabulary into other languages. The presence of English in Croatian today is documented by an increase in the use of English words in various Croatian functional styles, as well as by a growing enthusiasm for the language. Although they can be found in practically all styles and registers, English words are most frequent in journalistic and colloquial styles, and the least in administrative style. Recent English loanwords in Croatian belong to the second period of intensive (in fact, massive) influence of English on Croatian and other languages, which has lasted since the global changes of the early 1990s until today, when English dominates the scientific, cultural, and sub-cultural discourse of the contemporary world and adapts less to the norms and limitations of the receiving language, in this case, Croatian. Often keeping the features of the English model, especially phonologically and orthographically, these recent English loanwords form a stratum of unadapted and non-integrated words. Actually, they are non-loanwords, since by definition true loanwords imply at least a certain degree of adaptation and integration. What is more, a considerable part of the contemporary corpus of Anglicisms in Croatian consists of foreign words, a large portion of which are not only English, but belong to a corpus of internationalized words that were originally English, but now are common to many languages. Most of them belong to a select number of semantic domains which provide insights into the preoccupations of globalised consumer culture. It seems clear that words relating to computers and the Internet outnumber all others: computer technology and the Internet (attachment, bookmark, browser, chat, chat room, cookie, cyber café, driver, download, e-mail, emoticon, explorer, font, forward, home page, host, hyperlink, hypertext, Internet/Internet, keyboard, laptop, log on, mail box, mailing list, memory stick, monkey, MP3, news groups, password, power point, roaming, screen saver, search engine, site, surf, spam, user, web), pop music (black metal, boy band/bend, brokenbeat, cover band/bend, demo, gabba, glitch, gothic metal, groove, grunge, hip hop, house, nu-soul, post-rock, rave, r'n b', session, synth core, techno, unplugged), trend sports (base jumping, bungee jumping, cardio, kick boxing, paint ball, paragliding, pilates, power walking, snowboard, workout), fashion, advertising and entertainment (accessories, after work party, backstage, blockbuster, brand-name, cover-girl, dress-code, event, flash, foto-session, makeover, military look, personality, prime time, reality show, show room, styling, trendsetter, vintage), beauty and health (body-painting, body wrapping, fat-burning, hotstone, implant, nail art, oil-free, power nap, piercing, push-up, skin friendly, slow food, wellness) etc. It is interesting to note that a great number of these words, which have been rapidly disseminated due to the new media technologies, are also new words in English, although not totally new because they are compounded of existing components (e.g. cyber + land = cyberland).

The prestigious position of the English language worldwide favours both the increasing tendency of keeping English words in their original form, as well as the playful use of English and the hyperproduction of pseudo-Anglicisms, words that look like English words, but are actually not to be found in English (Sa ovakvim uber cool odazivom i prijedlozima sve se ovo čini kao... loša ideja ; sad svi imaju mišljenje o tebi da si ti jedna kewl osoba koja je jako zrela i pri zdravoj pameti ). As an issue of new, hybrid forms of languages (and cultures), pseudo-Anglicisms are a result of global influences meeting local traditions.

Finally, it is important to note that the nature of language contact between the two languages, at first via written texts or through the mediation of other languages (mostly German), changed due to the role of new consumer technologies. English comes in particular via electronic media: TV, radio and the Web, which carry western culture, explicitly western youth culture, to the far corners of the globe.

In spite of the large proportion of Anglicisms (as well as pseudo-Anglicisms) in Croatian spoken and written texts, people in Croatia, not even young people, do not speak English instead of Croatian. Because the knowledge of English words does not have to be - and most often is not - the result of the speakers' knowledge of the English language as a whole. On the other hand, purists who are concerned about the claimed anglophonisation of the Croatian language are aiming at combatting English or at least reducing the influx of Anglicisms. Last of all, the Croatian purist tradition based upon the idea of using a native word whenever possible has always been rather strong. However, as was mentioned earlier, the attempts at purism have no legal support and are usually restricted to linguistic circles and occasional disputes. In spite of this resistance in the Croatian language policy, the general public attitude towards the use of Anglicisms in Croatian is rather positive. Therefore, due to the English influence upon Croatian, some structures are beginning to change native patterns of syntactic forms in Croatian, namely noun phrases whose heads are premodified by other nouns. "Noun + Noun" structures like I/internet bankarstvo (instead of "internetsko bankarstvo"), Mango traperice, Billa usluge, Volvo limuzina, DVD uređaj. These new syntactic structures seem to be very productive in the Croatian language today.

Today's position of English in Croatia is, therefore, not the result of explicit historical/political circumstances. It is an outcome of the current sociolinguistic situation caused by the global character and prestigious position of the (American) English language and its culture (as well as sub-cultures), which symbolizes a modern, successfull and, in any case, better way of living. The idea of American lifestyle as being better is disseminated internationally and is still at work:

"English and American English seem to embody from men and women throughout the world - and particularly for the young - the 'feel' of hope, of material advance, of scientific and empirical procedures. The entire world image of mass consumption, of international exchange, of the popular arts, of generational conflict, of technocracy, is permeated by American-English and English citations and speech habits." (Steiner 1975: 469)

© Lelija Sočanac / Anja Nikolić-Hoyt (Linguistic Research Institute, Zagreb, Croatia)


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1.4. Reproduktionen und Innovationen in Sprache und Kommunikation verschiedener Sprachkulturen / Reproduction and Innovation in Language and Communication in different Language Cultures

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