MY LANGUAGE – MY IDENTITY

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Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

Rita Mae Brown, writer
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As one of the most important elements of identity – cultural, ethnic, and especially national – language is a means by which the influences of other cultures are often accepted. Language is much more than a means of communication; it is a living organism prone to change. The openness of a community can also be inferred from layers of its linguistic richness, equal and even simultaneous use of multiple languages ​​and their intertwining in local dialects. However, language can also be a means of imposing another identity.

Multilingualism of Rijeka

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A nation is recognized by its language much like a bird is recognized by its voice.

Stjepan Radić, Croatian politician
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The multilingualism of Rijeka is a common motif for travel writers who marvel at the fact that the members of a group of young people understand each other regardless of the fact that everyone speaks their own language. In this city language was somewhat specialised for centuries, depending on the type of work performed. The average citizen was forced to speak Italian if they were engaged in trade and shipping, German was often the language of the economy, the administration, as well as education. At the end of the 19th century Hungarian took its place, while Croatian, in its dialectal form (the today almost completely extinct cakavica of Rijeka) was the language spoken in one’s own home. Political plots over the city’s affiliation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries served as justification for one of these dominant official languages ​​to impose power. At the same time, the multiculturalism of this environment was supposed to be erased although this city has been shaped throughout the centuries precisely through the multilingualism of its inhabitants. Today there are scarce remains of this cultural and linguistic diversity of Rijeka – only a few traces in the local language and the nurturing of the Italian language as one of the authentic languages ​​of this city.

Political change and names

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What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare, writer
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Throughout its history, Rijeka bore different names due to political circumstances: Tarsatica, Flumen Sancti Viti, Rijeka, Fiume and Sušak. To whom does Rijeka belong? If it’s ours, the people and streets must have our names! Renamings took place from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, and they are not uncommon even today. Changes in political boundaries are often accompanied by the renaming of personal names and public spaces, and the history of the city of Rijeka abounds in such examples. Each of these renamings carries a specific political message and creates a new layer of history.

Conceptual network of borders
– 3D visualisation of meaning relations

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What a beautiful words, and they all are in the place, while we are on the road.

Drago Gervais, writer
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What is the border? Is it just a term coded by a word x in a language y? The conceptual networks of this concept encompass different social dimensions, while linguistic expressions preserve their relations. By using linguistic methods of a huge amount of texts analysis, machine learning and visualization techniques this multimedia content intends to present conceptual networks of the word border in different languages and language communities. You can dive deep into three-dimensional world of underlined concepts related to the concept border and intuitively research the structure of knowledge about how this word is used in the culture.

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