Bugarski, Ranko – The Portrait of a Language

Bugarski, Ranko –  The Portrait of a Languager_bugarski_portret

2012, 280 pages

Price 8.00 USD









This book was written after the manuscript of the previous book was completed in June of 2010. While being an independent whole, it follows closely, in its structure and content, the earlier books by this author, published in this series: Faces of Language – Socio-linguistic Topics (2001, 2002), Language and Culture (2005), Europe in Language (2009), and Language and Identity (2010). As to the content, the first part of the book is a new synthesis of relevant material, brought up in previous books, while the remaining three present (with the exception of a re-printed interview) entirely new texts, written in the period indicated above.

The topic of the first chapter, whose title was given to the entire book, is the Serbo-Croatian language, considered – after introductory terminological and conceptual considerations – “from without” (through a description of happenings around it), and subsequently “from within” (with a focus on what is happening within it), all of it followed by a final account. The rest of the chapters reflect to a great extent the structure of the previous book on language and identity. If part one portrays a language, the rest of the book can be viewed as a partial portrait of the portraitist, as one of its voices. Encouraged by a good reception of the autobiographical and memoir aspects of his previous book, the author offers in this one a selection of new facts of his professional biography, placing them again in broader contexts, and in a manner that goes well beyond dry factuality, even if the reader is offered a multitude of diverse facts. The reading material so interspersed with general observations and free associations of ideas could be informative and inspiring, and in part entertaining, to those getting initiated into linguistics or those already familiar with it, as well as to other categories of readers.

The two remaining chapters carry on a tradition, established by the above mentioned previous books published in this edition, by bringing a new catch of slang and fused expressions, and off, new additions to the socio-linguistic bibliography in Serbia, published in each book as an installment (this time for the second half of 2010 and for all of 2011, as well as addenda for earlier years).


Belgrade, February 2012.

R. B.