Doctoral researcher Damnjanović Bojana

124000 €

Language interaction in border region: Relativization in Serbian-Bulgarian transitional dialects

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

In my PhD research, I analyze the relative clause in the South Slavic Torlak dialects. Torlak is spoken in the territories of Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Kosovo. The number of speakers is diminishing, having resulted in the classification of Torlak as a vulnerable language on the UNESCO scale of endangered languages (Salminen 2010: 37). I will address the questions of relativization from typological perspectives. I expect the findings to contribute, in addition to the Slavic dialectal syntax, to the understanding of the variation in other non-standard linguistic varieties of Europe. More broadly, my research deals with dialectal syntax, a rapidly growing field of linguistic research. By examining the relative clause in Torlak, I will address two important theoretical and methodological questions: 1) how emerging linguistic variation can be studied; 2) how dialectological study can be enriched with the inclusion of other than the traditional data. My main focus is on the Torlak speech communities in South-Eastern Serbia, more precisely, the region inhabited by an ethnic Bulgarian minority. With my research, I wish to further address the question of linguistic variation in a bordering area. In contrast to the existing speech corpora of Torlak, I seek to expand the dialectal data with urban dialects along with rural ones, as well as younger speakers along with the older ones. By distancing from traditional dialectology, which values only rural old speakers, I wish to examine the role of digital communication technologies (internet and social media) and their potential value in dialectology and corpus linguistics. Finally, my goal is to explore an ongoing change toward analyticity, which is a unique phenomenon in Torlak vernaculars.