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PhD Defence

Serbo-Croatian Accent Retraction: Its Course and Character in the Dialect of Dubrovnik

Tuesday 15 March 2016
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden



Serbo-Croatian Accent Retraction: Its Course and Character in the Dialect of Dubrovnik investigates the evolution of the place of stress in the history of Serbo-Croatian accentuation.

The dialect of Dubrovnik, which belongs to the Neoštokavian dialect group, is characterised, like the Serbo-Croatian standard, by the retraction of stress, which is more commonly known as the accent retraction, and offers written records which allow for its continuous study in between the 16th and the 19th c.

The research is focused on the older stages of Serbo-Croatian accent retraction, and in particular on the state of its development in the 18th c. Dubrovnik, as reflected in the Dizionario of Ardelio Della Bella (1728), which is compared with different records written between the 15th and the 19th c. and, likewise, is compared with the system of codification by Vuk Stef. Karadžic and Đuro Daničic, which became the basis for the Serbo-Croatian standard.

A case is made for a number of separate retractions which took place at different points in time: one from open final syllables, one from closed final syllables and one from word-internal syllables. The absolute chronology of the Dizionario and of other written records corroborates the relative chronology developed by Pavle Ivic on the basis of comparative dialectal data.

As a speculation a hypothesis is left which links certain stages of accent retraction in the dialect of Dubrovnik with extralinguistic factors, i.e. demographic changes, and in particular the 1667 earthquake and the 1808 fall of the Dubrovnik Republic.


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Inès van Arkel, adviseur wetenschapscommunicatie Universiteit Leiden
T: 071 -5273282
E:   i.van.arkel@bb.leidenuniv.nl

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