Μ. Α. ΣΤΑΣΙΝΟΠΟΥΛΟΥ, Βαλκανική πολυγλωσσία στην αυτοκρατορία των Αψβούργων τον 18ο και 19ο αιώνα. Ένα γοητευτικό φαινόμενο και οι δυσκολίες των εθνικών ιστοριογραφιών, Τετράδια Εργασίας, 28, 17-32


BALKAN MULTILINGUALISM IN THE HABSBURG EMPIRE IN THE 18th AND 19th CENTURYTHE  DIFFICULTIES OF   NATIONAL  HISTORIOGRAPHIESAN  ENCHANTING PHENOMENONIn my paper I discuss the problems that arise when different types of written sources from the communities of Greek Orthodox tradesmen in Austria-Hungary are used in national historiographies in order to prove the national identity of the speakers. Greek Orthodox merchants were confronted with the ethnic identity formation then in process in the Austro-Hungarian empire. They began negotiating their own multilingual tradition in an environment slowly moving from functional multilingualism (following mainly principles of social stratification) to monolingual communities defined according to the intellectual and political strategies of homogenous nation formation. While my examples are taken from Greek texts, similar ones can be found in all the national historiographies that followed the multinational empires and the respective sources, both in the Austrian-Hungarian and in the Ottoman case. Not only does such an interpretation overlook the linguistic diversity of these speakers already in their place of origin, it also underestimates the linguistic diversity of the places they chose to establish their trade networks in, as well as sociolinguistic differentiation inside ethnic communities.

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