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Research project "Why Do We Speak Like That. Language Changes in the Transition Period"

Monday 8 September 2008

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One of the common features of East European transition has been the incredibly quick transformation of what was the heavy ideological language of socialist times into a free democratic speech. But the opening-up of the former socialist societies also brought into the public language hundreds of previously unknown concepts and ideas, as well as the words for them. Translation (or adaptation) thus was vital in the 90s and indirectly played a role in the way people were thinking about the societies they live in. And doing so in their own languages. Thus the project’s will document and research a significant process of cultural transfer via translation that took place over the last 17 years in three countries – Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine by focusing on certain key terms, mainly from the policy area, where the adaptation of new words and phrases is particularly visible.

At the end of the project we will have more than 15 individual research papers analyzing indexes and glossaries in printed publications, policy documents, political speeches, in-depth interviews and discourse analysis of printed media. We will also invite contributions by contemporary artists from the participant countries for their creative reflections on the issue of language change.

The project is a joint initiative of three organizations – Next Page - Sofia, Youth Humanities Centre at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy – Kyiv and the National Library of Serbia – Belgrade.

The project is made possible thanks to the financial support of Erste Foundation.