Home Institution

York Universite

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans


Dynamics of power between multiple languages in one space are indicative of and inform the relationship between the speakers of those languages. In post-conflict Kosova, two ethno-linguistic groups, Kosovar Serbians and Kosovar Albanians, live in a context where language has become politicized and long-standing linguistic, political, and social hierarchies of power have been radically disturbed. This paper describes the myriad of images of the Serbian language in the country, focusing particularly on those that come from the Serbian/Albanian bilingual Kosovar Albanian community. It then discusses how these inform language as a political tool and what the consequences of this are for peaceful intercommunity relations. A total of eight bilingual respondents from Prishtina and Prizren were interviewed about their perceptions, feelings, and use of the Serbian language, including how these may have changed over time. Three sets of images or narratives are identified, then this paper explores how each set relates to theories of bilingualism and potential for progressive social change.


Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Family, Life Course, and Society


Article Location