Thanks to Alexandra Rebic for the heads-up on this:

Twitter project will mark 100th anniversary of assassination that sparked World War I (University of Kansas News, June 11, 2014)

Lawrence – On June 28, [2014] the event that unleashed World War I and forever shaped history will unfold through 140-character tweets in an elaborate e-reenactment featuring more than 25 historical figures and multiple languages.

Students, staff and faculty at the University of Kansas, as well as local community members, have taken on the Twitter personas of significant and minor participants in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which occurred 100 years ago in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914. These characters will tweet as though the events were occurring in real time.

Twitter users can follow along through the hashtag #KU_WWI, which will provide dozens of historical perspectives – ranging from world leaders to members of The Black Hand terrorist group – on the assassination that launched Europe into total war…

Thanks to KU foreign language classes, select tweets have been translated into German, Bosnian and Serbian. [MULTIPLE languages — I see here only two, not three or more.]

Among the project partners is Slavic languages and literatures lecturer Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, who had her intermediate Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language students translate the tweets into Bosnian and Serbian… [But not into “Croatian”?]

“Equally exciting for students as creating the tweets in Bosnian and Serbian was using their language skills in the medium that is part of their everyday communication in English, as well as the prospect of showcasing their language work,” Pirnat-Greenberg said.

Sounds like they need more work. Or a different professor.

In closing, I should have included this item when illustrating a few months ago that languages are used as political tools in the Balkans:

New Montenegrian language ‘discriminates against Serbs’ (Balkan Insight, Sept. 23, 2010)

“The adoption of a new style of Montenegrin grammar has been criticised as a ‘classic form of discrimination’ against Serbs in Montenegro, the country’s Serbian National Council, SNS, opposition party has declared. Critics believe the changes to the language are politically motivated, aimed at forging a separate Montenegrin identity following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

They claim the recent official adoption of ‘Montenegrin Grammar’ is designed to expel the Serb language and discriminate against the large Serbian minority and those who, until recently, claimed Serbian as their native language…

Over the border in Serbia, linguist Ivan Klein dubbed the Montenegrin language ‘an artificial creation and a political decision.’

One of the authors of the Grammar, Montenegrin linguist Adnan Cirgic, denied claims by the Serbian and Montenegrin opposition that archaic forms of words were being revived, saying the new grammar only included words that were still in use. He said: ‘The archaic forms that local ‘experts’ have quoted in the media haven’t been included. This is just propaganda conducted to prevent the use of the new spellings.’

The beginning of a new term in educational institutions in Montenegro have marked the begining of the new Montenengrin language being adopted. The government approved The Grammar of the Montenegrin Language as the country’s official grammatical code last month. The first edition of a book on it appeared in bookstores on September 4 and a lexicon of the Montenegrin language was published days later.

According to a recent poll conducted in 2010, 41.6 per cent of respondents claim Serbian to be their native language and 38.2 per cent Montenegrin.”


Montenegro Says Farewell to ‘Mother Tongue’ (Balkan Insight, Sept. 20, 2010)

With the official introduction of a new Montenegrin dictionary and grammar, the country has taken further steps to consolidate its own language – much to the annoyance of the Serbian community.

Montenegro’s pro-Serbian opposition parties are threatening to appeal to the Constitutional Court over the government’s drive to establish the official language of the country as “Montenegrin”.

“The authorities… have started a project to delete the Serbian people from the Montenegrin map,” Ranko Kadic, head of the Democratic Serbian Party, declared. “This is the beginning of our extinction.”

As recently as 2003, an outright majority claimed Serbian as their native language. According to the most recent census, in that year, only 21.53 per cent of the population declared “Montenegrin” as their native language, whilst 59.67 per cent named Serbian.

Before the collapse of Yugoslavia, four of the six constituent republics, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, shared a common language, then known as Serbo-Croatian.

After independence, however, Croatia made strong efforts to highlight the distinct aspects of its language, which was now called “Croatian”. Bosnian Muslims have made similar efforts in Bosnia Herzegovina, promoting official use of a codified “Bosniak” language.

At the time, Montenegro, which remained in a state union with Serbia until 2006, appeared content not to have its own separate language.

But as the movement for independence gathered strength, the authorities started to promote linguistic changes. In 2004, the government changed the school curriculum, so that mandatory language classes were no longer labeled “Serbian” but as “Mother Tongue (Serbian, Montenegrin, Croatian, Bosnian).”

Later, following the independence referendum, a new constitution on October 22, 2007 named the official language as Montenegrin.

Its orthography was not established until July, 2009, with the addition of two letters, ‹ś› and ‹ź›, to replace the digraphs ‹sj› and ‹zj›. Using the old 30-letter alphabet, the word for tomorrow was spelled “sjutra”. The correct form is now “śutra”, for example. The new alphabet has 32 letters.

After the government’s Council for Education last month adopted the Grammar of the Montenegrin language, this year will be the last in which language students study “Mother Tongue”.

The involvement of a Croat in the newly published grammar meanwhile has further fuelled Serbian suspicions that there is a political agenda behind the language drive, which is to push Serbia and Montenegro further apart.

Work on the grammar, which lasted two years, was led by Montenegrin linguist Adnan Cirgic and Croats Ivo Pranjkovic and Josip Silic.

Cirgic defended their involvement, saying Croats were established experts in the field of Slavic languages, as is Ljudmila Vasiljeva from Ukraine, who co-authored the lexicon along with Milenko Perovic and Jelena Susanj.

But some locals have continued to object, criticising what they call artificial revivals of archaic forms and an excessive reliance on Croatian grammatical forms.

The new grammar “takes us back several centuries,” the socio-linguist Slavica Perovic scoffed in the opposition newspaper DAN. “It’s hard to imagine a modern speaker, talking about business, clothing or car brands, using the same words as his great-grandfather.”

Perovic dismissed the new grammar – and the two new letters - as forced attempts to create differences to other languages in the region.

“To merit being called a language requires greater differences than those represented in the Grammar of Montenegrin,” said Perovic, a professor of philosophy at the University of Montenegro.

Those arguments are supported over the border in Serbia. The respected linguist Ivan Klein told Belgrade’s Blic newspaper that Montenegrin was “an artificial creation and a political decision”.

Pero Kaludjerovic, a third-year student of Serbian and South Slavic literature at the University of Montenegro, said he used the new phonems privately but would not use them in formal speech or writing.

“In private speech I would say ‘Đe si, što činiš?’ [’Hi, what’s up?’], but in formal speech, during exams and lectures, I would say ‘Gdje si, šta radiš?’,” he said, the latter being the standard Serbo-Croat form. “You can’t call this informal speech an official language.”

Montenegrin, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian were all virtually the same and there were more important issues in Montenegro than the language, [University of Montenegro advanced English student Milos Marovic] maintained.

The creation of a separate language was “a political decision” he said…Others are more welcoming about the changes. Blazo Marinovic, a student of political science, conceded that there are no major differences in the “new” language, but said it was good that expressions which form part of Montenegro’s national identity and culture now had official approval.

“From now on, we’ll be able to write and speak officially as we always used to,” he said. “Our formal language is being enriched with many beautiful, picturesque and powerful words, phrases and expressions, which can be easily understood by everyone.”

Adnan Cirgic says Montenegro has seized the opportunity to reject its inferiority complex and linguistic subordination to other cultural centres that guided language policy in Montenegro in the past.

“The adoption of the first official spelling of the Montenegrin language is an historic event,” he said. “No matter what some ‘experts’ and politicians claim, it is designed to strengthen the multi-ethnic harmony [in Montenegro] that already exists here.”