A. Sujoldžić: Molise Croatian Idiom, Coll. Antropol. 28 Suppl. 1 (2004) 263-274



processes of social and cultural reproduction within specific historical and sociopolitical circumstances that contributed to its consolidation.

There is no doubt that the revitalization of the local language in its current condition and demographic context requires standardization of the written lan­guage and the inclusion of this language in Croatian schools22. But the codification should take into account identity feelings of these communities and their reluctance either to change their language or to learn a new one as Standard Croatian for them is with major differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. Recognizing Standard Croatian therefore as a standardized language of Na-našo is not necessarily what is needed to preserve this variety and may only hasten the demise of Na-našo as the spoken idiom by putting it under pressure from a better established and more prestigious language to lose its claim to linguistic independence in spite of its substantial differences from that language. Introducing literacy to the vernacular language through the medium of another cultural or politically dominant language always seems to be socially, culturally and ideologically charged. This has been recently illustrated by the attempt to introduce Standard Albanian into an Arbresh speaking minority in Sicily which might only contribute to the further decline of the spoken idiom23, as the adult Arbresh speakers do not identify themselves with Albania and refuse Standard Albanian, stressing the relevance of the introduction of Arbresh against Standard Albanian, while the youngest speakers, mostly monolingual in Italian, identify themselves neither with Arbresh people, nor with Albanians. It is clear that other options should be considered as well in standardization of such idioms.

The other possibility is to elaborate the current mixture of Croatian and Italian

in a way that will create a new functioning language from a decaying one. Such options are perhaps more difficult to realize but would perhaps better satisfy the communicative needs of these communities, as shown by the example of Croats in Burgenland, Austria. The Croat spoken there has its origin in the dialects of central Croatia and Bosnia which have developed since the 18th century within a German and Hungarian language environment without contact with the country of origin. As all the Croats of Bur­genland also speak German, the spoken language displays many interference phenomena with German. The written lan­guage is based upon the Croat dialects of Burgenland and reveals grammatical changes in relation to standard Croat, the tendency to preserve archaic forms, as well as innovations based upon the language contact model, German and Hungarian. The linguistic differences between stan­dard Croat and the Croat of Burgenland, especially by reference to the written form, are marked, but this idiom is accepted by its speakers as a medium of education in schools which has considerably contrib­uted to its preservation.



We have seen that Na-našo idiom is based on one grammar with inherent variation allowing them to express both Slavic/Croatian and Italian aspects of culture. This omnipresent variation can be analyzed in two ways: as competition between multiple grammars or as one grammar with inherent variation (allowing both Molise Croat-like and Italian-like forms)This latter option would allow the expression of a unique identity, that of a bilingual and bicultural person, rather than suggesting that the speaker is continually (sometimes within a sentence or even a word) switching from one identity to another. At present Na-našo






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