The idea of a Kosovan language in Yugoslavia's language politics

Tomasz Kamusella*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Not only are nations invented (imagined) into and out of existence, but languages and states are as well. Decisions on how to construct, change or obliterate a language are essentially arbitrary, and as such dictated by political considerations. The entailed language of politics (often accompanied by the closely related politics of script) is of more immediate significance in Central Europe than elsewhere in the world, because in this region language is the sole and fundamental basis for creating, legitimating and maintaining nations and their nation-states. Since 1918, the creation and destruction of ethnolinguistic nation-states in Central Europe has been followed (or even preceded) by the creation and destruction of languages so that a unique language could be fitted to each nation and its national polity. This article focuses on the politics of the Albanian language in Yugoslavia's Autonomous Province of Kosovo and in independent Kosovo with an eye to answering two questions at the level of language politics. First, what was the kind of Albanian standard employed in Kosovo before the 1968/1970/1974 acceptance of Albania's Tosk-based standard Albanian in Yugoslavia? Second, why is Kosovo the sole post-Yugoslav nation-state that has not (yet?) been endowed with its own unique (Kosovan) language?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-237
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number242
Early online date4 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Albanian
  • Ethnolinguistic nationalism
  • Gheg
  • Kosovan language (project)
  • Tosk


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