FROM SZEGED TO SPARTA
Belgrade, 9-10 November 2017
Think you know the Balkans? Think again.
The Balkan peninsula stretches southwards from a line that joins the northern coasts of the Adriatic and Black seas. Draw a line from Trieste to Odessa, then run down to the southernmost shores of the Peloponnese. From Szeged in the north to Sparta in the south, from Trieste in the west to Varna in the east, this is one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world.
Do you know how many languages are spoken here? The tiny Serbian province of Vojvodina alone has 10 official languages. In all we can count some 4-5 dozen distinct languages and major dialects.
The Balkan peninsular is often presented as a region of conflict, but it has an impressively long history of peaceful inter-ethnic cohabitation and mixing despite the surrounding great powers. Mixing and migration have shaped and re-shaped the linguistic landscape over the centuries, leaving today’s complex patchwork.
What influences have all these languages had on each other? How did the Ottomans influence the ancient tongues? How did the 19th century Donauschwaben affect modern Slavic languages, as the Banat of Temesvar filled the vacuum left by the retreating Turks? After centuries of feudalism, local languages were exposed to new ideas and technologies intruding on the linguistic space – today’s Serbian screwdriver is still a šrafciger (German Schraubenzieher). Was Albanian just one of many influences, or was it the major driver of the sprachbund that Schumacher and Matzinger claim?
The Balkan Language Industry Symposium (BLIS) is a regional European conference of the translation industry. It will focus on modern technology and trends, but place them on the backdrop of this fascinating history.
Come and learn something new. Balkan hospitality awaits you!