"What does Mother Tongue Mean to You?" On the Meaning of the Concept in Vulnerable Linguistic Communities
Vortrag von Annemarie Sorescu Marinković (Institute for Balkan Studies Belgrad) als Teil der Reihe SNAKLAB, veranstaltet vom Projekt seeFField, in Kooperation mit dem IOS Regensburg.
Mother tongue is a familiar concept, frequently used, but most often intuitively understood and difficult to define. Even if today it occupies a central place in linguistics, curricula and censuses, the speakers’ understanding of the term does not necessarily overlap with what is meant by researchers and policy makers. The aim of this presentation is to shed light on the intricacies connected to the use of the term mother tongue by the speakers themselves. The main frame of reference is the contemporary vulnerable linguistic communities of Serbia, as it is especially in such bilingual or multilingual contexts that the concept of mother tongue and the meaning the speakers attach to it gain specific importance. I base my analysis on the results of an encompassing sociolinguistic questionnaire which was applied in 2022 within the framework of the project Vulnerable Languages and Linguistic Varieties in Serbia (VLingS) project, focusing on the remarkably diverse answers to the open question “What does mother tongue mean to you?”