Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian
Cover for first edition of Na Drini ćuprija (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1919, following World War I and the Paris Peace Conference, the country later called Yugoslavia came into existence in Southeast Europe. However, the country’s name from 1918 to 1929 was the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After World War II, this country was renamed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946. It included the republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia, and the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. The language that was known as Serbo-Croatian was spoken in nearly all of Yugoslavia. In 1991, in the aftermath of the dissolution of Yugoslavia  after a period of protracted civil war, all of these constituent parts eventually became independent. First, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina became independent in 1991. Serbia and Montenegro were joined, under the name Yugoslavia in 2003 and under the name Serbia-Montenegro in 2006. Thus Serbia as such became a separate country only in 2006 when Montenegro proclaimed independence. Kosovo proclaimed independence in 2008 with the support of the United States and allies. Slovenian and Macedonian were already separate languages. However, outside the formerly united country, the name Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS) became accepted to denote three different languages that are nearly identical to each other in grammar and pronunciation. However, there are some significant differences in vocabulary. Bosnian and Croatian use a Latin based script while Serbian uses both this alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet. The term BCS was in fact established at the Hague tribunal (ICTY), and the legitimacy gained in this way allowed its  widespread acceptance.

The study of Serbo-Croatian, later BCS, began at UC Berkeley in the aftermath of World War II. Since then the Library’s collections in these languages have been growing steadily and now represent one of the stronger components of Library’s Slavic collections. At UC Berkeley, the situation dramatically changed with the arrival of Professor Ronelle Alexander in 1978. She has been instrumental in helping the Library build up its exemplary Balkan Studies collections for the last four decades. The diversity of her teaching and research expertise ranges from South Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Macedonian, BCS), literatures of former Yugoslavia, Yugoslav cultural history, South Slavic linguistics, Balkan folklore to East Slavic folklore. Although her primary research accomplishments are in South Slavic linguistics, she has also published research on the most widely known and translated Serbian poet, Vasko Popa, and Yugoslavia’s only Nobel prize winner, the prose writer Ivo Andrić.[1]

It is challenging to find one single work that would represent the complex nature and relationships between Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. However, one must note that to this day, the Balkans represent a constantly evolving dynamic mosaic of linguistic diversity that shares a relatively compact geographic topos. For this exhibition, I chose one work that theoretically presents a complicated relationship in Balkans—Ivo Andrić’s prize-winning novel Na Drini ćuprija (“The Bridge on the Drina”) published in 1945.

This historical fiction novel by the Yugoslav writer, Ivo Andrić, revolves around the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad. This bridge is located in Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Drina River.[2] It was built by the Ottomans in the mid-16th century, and was damaged several times during the wars of the 20th century but each time rebuilt. It was never entirely destroyed and the “original bridge” remains, and is now on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.[3]

The novel chronicles four centuries of regional history, including the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian occupations. The story highlights the daily lives and inter-communal relationships between Serbs and Bosniaks. Bosnian Muslims-Slavs, now also called Bosniaks. Ever since the end of World War II when three major works of Ivo Andrić (The Bridge on the Drina, Bosnian Chronicle, and The Woman from Sarajevo) appeared in print almost simultaneously in 1945. The Woman from Sarajevo has not stood the test of time, though the other two are major works. A later novel, The Damned Yard, is considered much more important. He has been hailed as a major literary figure by both his country’s reading public and by the critics. His reputation soared even higher when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961.[4] The Bridge on Drina has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Contribution by Liladhar Pendse
Librarian for East European and Central Asian Studies, Doe Library

Source consulted:

  1. Ronelle Alexander authored an article on Andric titled “Narrative Voice and Listener’s Choice in the Prose of Ivo Andrić” in Vucinich, W. S. (1995). Ivo Andric Revisited: The Bridge Still StandsResearch Series, uciaspubs/research/92. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8c21m142 (accessed 7/26/19).
  2. Ronelle, Alexander. “What Is Naš? Conceptions of “the Other” in the Prose of Ivo Andric.” スラヴ学論集 = Slavia Iaponica = Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures. 16 (2013): 6-36. (accessed 7/26/19)
  3. UNESCO World Heritage. “Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre, whc.unesco.org/en/list/1260.
  4. Moravcevich, Nicholas. “Ivo Andrić and the Quintessence of lpendTime.” The Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 16, no. 3, 1972, pp. 313–318. (accessed 7/26/19)

~~~~~~~~~~
Title: Na Drini ćuprija/ На Дрини ћуприја
Title in English: The Bridge on the Drina
Author: Andrić, Ivo, 1892-1975.
Imprint: Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1946.
Edition: 1st
Language: Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS)
Language Family: Indo-European, Slavic
Source: Biblioteka Elektronskaknjiga
URL: https://skolasvilajnac.edu.rs/wp-content/uploads/Ivo-Andric-Na-Drini-cuprija.pdf

Other online editions::

Print editions at Berkeley:

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Czech

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

R.U.R. : Rossum's Universal Robots
Karel Čapek (9 January 1890 – 25 December 1938) was a Czech writer of the early 20th century. He had multiple roles throughout his career, including playwright, dramatist, essayist, publisher, literary reviewer, photographer and art critic. Nonetheless, he is best known for his science fiction including his novel War with the Newts and the play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which introduced the word “robot” for the first time in the English language.[1] He also wrote many politically charged works dealing with the social turmoil of his time. Largely influenced by American pragmatic liberalism, he campaigned in favor of free expression and utterly despised the rise of both fascism and communism in Europe.

A funny and surreal story of servitude and technology, R.U.R. was Čapek’s first major work for the stage. The play is a gloriously dystopic science-fiction fantasy about robots and the brave new world of the men who mass-produce them. Robots multiply, are bought and sold and gradually take over every aspect of human existence. As people grow idle and stop procreating, the robots rebel and destroy almost the entire human race. The play was first performed in Prague in 1921.

UC Berkeley professor Ellen Langer describes the novel and the title as follows, “The word robot was derived from the Czech robota, which means “forced labor” like the French word corvée. The play was an instant hit in Europe and was acclaimed in the United States, perhaps because it captured the terror of those times. World War I had barely ended when the Bolshevik Revolution made Europeans fear an uprising by factory workers. To Čapek, an impassioned democrat, the dictatorship of the proletariat seemed as abhorrent as the recently overthrown Austro-Hungarian autocracy. R.U.R. expressed an idealistic yearning that mass production would free people from want, but realism cautioned that industrialization could also usher in an even more powerful tyranny.

The play seems preachy by current standards, but, as Langer says, “this was an era of polemical plays.” It caused such an intellectual stir in London that Čapek sought to explain its message in an essay published in 1923: “We are in the grip of industrialism; this terrible machinery must not stop, for if it does it would destroy the lives of thousands. It must, on the contrary, go on faster and faster, even though in the process it destroys thousands and thousands of other lives . . .  A product of the human brain has at last escaped from the control of human hands. This is the comedy of science.” Thus was born a term that promised either service or subjugation, and, over time, robots migrated from fictional characters to functional creations.[2]

The history of teaching Czech at UC Berkeley is closely tied to the history of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Currently, each year, Dr. Langer offers courses in Basic and Continuing Czech. Besides, the language teaching Professor John Connelly of the Department of History specializes in the Modern East and Central European Political and Social History and History of Catholicism. His groundbreaking research on the history of education came to fruition in his critically acclaimed book Captive University: The Sovietization of East German, Czech, and Polish Higher Education, 1945-1956.

Contribution by Liladhar Pendse
Librarian for East European and Central Asian Studies, Doe Library

Sources consulted:

  1. Čapek, Karel, Peter Majer, and Cathy Porter. R.U.R. [London] : Bloomsbury, [2015], 2015. .
  2. Abate, Tom. “The Robots Among Us.”  SFGate, 9 Dec. 2007.

~~~~~~~~~~
Title:
R.U.R (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti)
Title in English: R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
Author: Čapek, Karel, 1890-1938.
Imprint: V Praze: Vydalo Aventinum, 1920.
Edition: unknown
Language: Czech
Language Family: Indo-European, Slavic
Source: The Internet Archive (University of Toronto)
URL: https://archive.org/stream/rurrossumsuniver00apekuoft#page/n0/mode/2up

Other online editions:

Print editions at Berkeley:

  • There many original Czech editions and English translations in OskiCat.

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
previous | about | next post

The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

Follow The Languages of Berkeley!
Subscribe by email
Contact/Feedback
www.ucblib.link/languages

What’s your favorite language?