This chapter discusses language and national aspirations through a case study of language politics in Croatia. Not only is language crucially influenced by national politics, but language politics has played a significant role in national politics in which the status accorded to regional variations in language has paralleled political aspirations. Claims to a distinct Croatian language and rejection of a shared Serbo-Croatian language have been a key part in the Croatian nation-building process of the last decade. Yet recognition of Croatian as a distinct language implies recognition of Serbian minority language rights for ethnic Serbs in Croatia. Accordingly Croatia specified Serbian as one of its minority languages on ratification of the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Since ratification Croatia has been criticised by European and international bodies for failing to comply with minority language rights provisions for its ethnic Serbs. However, the chapter contends that the international approach towards minority language rights provision is fundamentally flawed and its criticisms misdirected. Rather than enhancing the position of ethnic Serbs in Croatia, minority language rights are inappropriate and detrimental to their interests.
Please note this is not the final proofed version of the chapter. A final version was published: Vanessa Pupavac (2003) ‘Politics and Language Rights: A Case Study of Language Politics in Croatia’, in Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Stefan Wolff (eds) Minority Languages in Europe: Status, Frameworks, Prospects. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 138-154.