Saim wrote:Are you talking about Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian – A Grammar with Sociolinguistic Commentary?
Do have it on you, by any chance?
Yes. That plus the textbook accompanying it and LP Croatian and TY Croatian are all I have for BCS (unless you count like "Berlitz Eastern European Languages" or whatever EDIT: and a bilingual Croatia Airlines in-flight magazine lol).
I'd like to know what he said specifically.
Ronelle Alexander wrote:Many feel the four-accent system is needlessly complex and out of touch with reality. Part of this dissatisfaction is with the opacity of the traditional Vukovian accentual marks.
In most instances, however, the reason speakers are dissatisfied with the system of marks is because they believe it does not accurately reflect the way they actually speak. In some cases this non-congruence (between prescriptive statements of accentuation and descriptive statements of actual usage) is due to language change: the accentuation of the modern language is simply no longer the same as it was when Vuk and Daničić made their coficiations. More frequently, however, it is due to the great diversity of speech types over the broader BCS area and to specific facts connected with the history of modification processes. For a variety of reasons, the modern language is based almost completely upon the speech of Vuk Karadžić's native East Herzegovina[...] That is, when linguists sat down to compile the dictionaries and the grammars which became the core of BCS prescriptive grammar, they took the East Herzegovinian neo-štokavian dialect as their model, believing it to be the purest and most representative speech type. All elements of grammar were codified to follow that dialectal pattern, including the specific accentual characteristics of each individual word. The speech of eastern Herzegovina was especially rich in accentual distinctions - as it is still today - and those speakers of BCS whose native speech is similar to it have no trouble hearing and producing all four "accents" in all positions, according to the now-canonical system.
Those whose native speech is quite different from Vuk's, however, must learn the standard form of the language in school. Learning the endings of words is relatively easy, but learning the accents is quite another matter. In particular, it is almost impossible to make a consistent distinction between short rising and short falling accents unless one is accustomed to hearing these accents since childhood. Most Bosnians make all the standard distinctions naturally, and they are quite proud of the fully melodic (not to say traditional Vukovian) character of Bosnian. The majority of Serbs and Croats, however, do not make the full set of distinctions. Some attempt to learn them, and experience a fair degree of success. Others - even if they are not completely successful in learning the accents - believe that this system is part of their heritage and that the language should continue to maintain all the codified distinctions, if only as an ideal to strive for. Yet others, however, believe that the codified forms of Serbian and Croatian should be revised in order to reflect more accurately the way Serbs and Croats actually speak. They do not feel that educators should need to work so hard to force students to learn something which is both very difficult to learn, and (in their view) unnaturally artificial. They believe the current language should be revised according to the very principle which governed its original codification, and that the idealized standard should represent actual speech as it is today. The great majority of Serbs or Croats who cannot distinguish short falling from short rising accents feel there should be only a single "short" accent; they also feel that the language should codify only those long unaccented vowels which are consistently spoken as long (such as the [genitive plural] endings).
But although there is considerable discussion among linguists on all aspects of this issue, feelings run especially high on the issue of non-initial falling accents. The dictum of the Vukovian system is that falling accents are allowed only in initial position. This is because all non-initial accents historically represent retractions, and all retracted accents are rising[...] It follows from this, therefore, that words with a falling accent on a non-initial syllable are being pronounced incorrectly and should be adapted to the Vukovian system. Since a number of speakers of BCS come from areas where the neo-štokavian retraction was not fully carried out, schoolteachers regularly teach these speakers these speakers [sic] to pronounce the words in question with consistently retracted accents. This general pedagogical experience has strengthened the belief of prescriptive grammarians that any non-initial accent must be scrutinized. If it is pronounced as falling, then it has not been properly retracted and this must be corrected.
Now, however, linguists and educated speakers are beginning to realize that their speech does indeed include words with non-initial falling accents, and that these falling accents are not in error. Rather, they represent the natural pronunciation of a number of words, a pronunciation which need not (and should not) be corrected according to some abstract principle. For Bosnian linguists (and others who look to Bosnian as a model of accentual "purity"), the most convincing evidence is that Bosnians also pronounce these words with non-initial falling accents. The number of these words is not large, but it is significant enough to make the point. Many of the words are foreign borrowings, a number of which end in -ent (such as absolvent "fifth year university student"). Others are native words which are relatively long, often consisting of a number of morphemes (such as poljoprivreda "agriculture").