The Linguistic Landscape of Rijeka (Fiume) During the Austro – Hungarian Monarchy

Proceedings of The International Conference on Research in Humanities

Year: 2019


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The Linguistic Landscape of Rijeka (Fiume) During the Austro – Hungarian Monarchy

Marina Rončević, Branka Blažević



This paper aims to study multilingualism and multiculturalism in public discourse in the town of Rijeka during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, precisely in the period from 1870 to 1918. As a consequence to the Croatian-Hungarian Settlement, the town of Rijeka (the Italian name wasFiume) became part of Hungarian part of the empire, which thus gained access to the sea. As the town was mainly inhabited by Italian, German and Croatian population, the government tried to impose a magyarization of the population. The authors inquire the effects of social, political and economic changes on language choice and usage, and on manifestations of collective identity/identities of the town dwellers during a period of fast developing industrialization,globalization and urbanization. A valid method to investigate and assess the real identity of the town and its inhabitants is to study the linguistic landscape by observing public signage in a diachronic perspective. Language policies reflect the relations of power, offering thus an exceptional insight in social relations particularly if language preferences in public spaces are to be observed. The presence of a number of languages and the way they are displayed on public signs says much on actual multilingualism, and the role in society of their respective speakers.

Keywords: multilingualism, multiculturalism, linguistic landscape, linguistic policy, collective,identity.