The role of formal language instruction in the maintenance of heritage language: the case of Croatian language

Lidija Cvikic, Jasna Novak Milic, Katarina Aladrović Slovaček

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


With approximately 5.5 million speakers, Croatian is a rather small language. The number includes speakers in Croatia and neighbouring countries. However, it is believed that there are approximately 3 million speakers of Croatian as a heritage language among emigrants and Croats by descent (commonly referred as Croatian diaspora). In countries with large numbers of Croatian diaspora (USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Germany) the community is well organized and dedicated to maintaining national and cultural identity, and language. To foster the language, language classes for children are organised in many countries. Classes are either an integral part of the educational system of a host country, organized and supported by Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport or conducted by the Croatian community (mostly non-professional teachers). This paper explores the role of formal language instruction in maintenance of Croatian as a heritage language. For collecting data, an online questionnaire was administered among members of Croatian community in numerous countries during 2014 and 2015, making this research the first of its kind. The purpose of the paper is to present an overview of Croatian language classes outside of Croatia and their influence on language and culture maintenance among different Croatian communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in understanding multilingualism
Subtitle of host publicationa global perspective
EditorsSambor Grucza, Magdalena Olpinska-Szkielko, Piotr Romanowski
Place of PublicationFrankfurt am Main
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783653063899
ISBN (Print)9783631667613
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameWarschauer Studien zur Germanistik und zur Angewandten Linguistik
PublisherPeter Lang


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