Habsburg Languages.

Joel at Far Outliers has been posting excerpts from The Fortress: The Siege of Przemysl and the Making of Europe’s Bloodlands, by Alexander Watson (Basic Books, 2020), and a couple of them have passages of obvious LH relevance. From Habsburg Landsturm: Alien Officers and ‘Army Slavic’:

The regional divide between III/Landsturm Infantry Regiment 18’s officers and other ranks raised practical problems of language. All the battalion’s officers, with the exception of the two from Galicia, had as their mother tongue Czech or German. Their men, by contrast, spoke Polish or Ukrainian. Occasionally, one came across a Yiddish-speaking Jew. Theoretically, this posed no great difficulty, for the Habsburg army had long experience of managing polyglot units. The army recognized three different types of languages. The “language of service,” which was German in most of the army, and Hungarian in Honvéd and Hungarian Landsturm units, was used for all communication above the company level. (The Magyar term for Landsturm was Népfelkelő.) More important for interaction between the officers and the men was the “language of command,” which was a list of eighty basic military words and phrases in either German or Hungarian, such as “March!,” “At Ease!,” and “Fire!” To cultivate deeper relations between ranks, all units also had one or more “regimental languages.” Any tongue spoken by at least one-fifth of the regiment’s personnel was so designated, and officers were obligated to learn every one of them in order to engage with their subordinates, bond with them, and exert influence over them.

In III/Landsturm Infantry Regiment 18, as in most wartime formations, such intricate arrangements were pipe dreams. For officers, a decent grasp of the German language was essential, as it was the medium for communication with the various levels of the Fortress Command and with other units. Within the battalion’s mess, German was also widely spoken, although, to annoy Major Zipser, the Czech officers made a special point of speaking their mother tongue to each other. Communication with the men was, kindly put, a challenge. Some officers may have gotten by with “Army Slavic,” a most peculiar military Esperanto blending Slavic grammar with German military terminology. Thus, for example, the battalion’s Poles could be ordered to antretować (from the German antreten—to form up) on parade, and would then narugować (nachrücken—to move up) to the front, before forming a szwarmlinia (Schwarmlinie—firing line). Others who spoke only German relied on the battalion’s few Jews to act as intermediaries. Still, even with goodwill, careful listening, and much imagination on all sides, frontline command of Landsturm troops was difficult.

And from Multiethnic Przemyśl in 1914:

Przemyśl’s other ethnic groups were also caught by the new spirit of the late nineteenth century. The Greek Catholic minority generally had little opportunity to make much mark on the city in brick or stone beyond its historic churches. There was, however, one important exception: schools. Language issues, and the right to teach children in one’s mother tongue, were becoming central to identity and to political disputes across the Habsburg Empire, and Ukrainian-speakers—or Ruthenes, as they were known in this period—were no exceptions. In the late nineteenth century, elite boys’ and girls’ secondary schools teaching in Ukrainian were founded, augmenting existing primary provision and attracting pupils from far beyond the city limits. Ruthenes were deeply divided in their identity, and the fractures were reflected in their associations and in the press. “Ukrainian” at this time denoted a political stance: a conviction that Ukrainian-speakers were a distinct nation. The majority of the small clerical and intellectual elite adhered to this view. A lesser group, the so-called Russophiles, disagreed, regarding themselves culturally, and sometimes also politically, as a branch of the Russian nation. Though difficult to enumerate, a fairly large section of lower-class Ruthenes was mostly indifferent to the novel idea of the nation, and persisted in prioritizing the Greek Catholic faith as the foundation of their identity.

Przemyśl’s Jewish community displayed some similar divisions. Orthodox Jewry had long predominated, and though this was still true in the early twentieth century, the modern era had brought schism and change. There were four synagogues in Przemyśl by 1914. The oldest, situated in the Jewish quarter, and eight other smaller prayer houses were frequented by the traditionalist, Yiddish-speaking Hasidic Jews who so fascinated Ilka Künigl-Ehrenburg. They were instantly recognizable, especially the men, with their curly sidelocks, beards, black hats, and black kaftans. To attend synagogue with them was a profoundly spiritual experience. Künigl-Ehrenburg ducked under the low doorway of the Old Synagogue one Sabbath and climbed up to the women’s gallery to watch. The faithful filled every inch of space. Some sat, others stood, all pressed tightly together. From above, a stream of light pierced the darkness and shone onto the silver-edged Torah scroll displayed by the altar. Wrapped in their gray-and-white striped prayer shawls, the believers rocked back and forth murmuring their sacred devotions. To the Styrian countess, it was strange—“oriental”—but very moving. “Everything was full of atmosphere, harmonious,” she wrote.

Times were shifting, however. Beginning in 1901, the kehilah, Przemyśl’s Jewish communal council, dropped Yiddish and instead conducted its meetings in Polish. The city’s three other synagogues had all been built since the 1880s and catered to wealthy, educated Jews. Jews—some of them—had particularly prospered from Przemyśl’s rapid expansion, a fact that had not gone unnoticed by their Christian neighbors. The town’s credit institutions were nearly all in Jewish hands. The majority of new manufacturing concerns and almost all trading and services were as well. The most intense civic development in the final thirty years of peace had taken place to the east of the old town and in the suburb of Zasanie, north of the San River. In these districts, the housing stock had more than doubled, and it was to there that well-off Jews had moved. They had bought up property on the smartest strips; it was a mild irony that on Mickiewicz Street, named for Poland’s national poet, no fewer than 74 of the 139 buildings were Jewish-owned. The synagogues serving these communities, like the people who attended them, took inspiration from modern liberalism and nationalism. The “Tempel” in the old city was home to Jewish progressives keen to integrate into Polish culture. Faced with red brick, like synagogues in the west of the empire, it celebrated Polish holidays and had sermons and prayers in the Polish language. The Zasanie synagogue was popular with Zionist youth.

It’s interesting that while the Wikipedia article gives Premissel, Prömsel, Premslen as the German names of the city, my 1905 Baedeker’s Austria-Hungary has it s.v. Przemyśl, the Polish spelling used today; I guess they were trying to appease Polish national sentiment. And Major Zipser reminds me of the subthread on Zipsers (beginning here) in this storied 2004 post.

Comments

  1. PlasticPaddy says:

    If you look for example at
    https://www.pinterest.fr/pin/394416879846201759/
    you see that the only town in Galicia with a German name is Lemberg (=Lwów/Lviv), a place where many ethnic Germans lived. I think there was no k.u.k policy of Germanising “exotic” placenames, most changes were limited to things like writing Krakau insted of Cracow or Cracovia, although there was Magyarisation in the kingdom of Hungary.

  2. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this other Galicia before, and it’s very confusing. I did wonder why two officers came from Spain, but it was natural that they wouldn’t speak German or Czech, so…!

  3. I take it you haven’t heard of Lodomeria either…

  4. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Well, no, but I haven’t heard of another Lodomeria at the other end of the continent 🙂

    (Only Lusitania.)

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this other Galicia before, and it’s very confusing.

    Caterina B shared your puzzlement back in 2016:

    Hmmmm…..I have never heard that Galicia (you know, in the northwest of Spain) was previously Austro-Hungary, now Ukraine. What’s up with that? That seems really incorrect. I have not researched it, though. I just know that Galicia is in Spain and always has been.

    And John Cowan responded:

    There are lots of places whose names go back to (or appear to go back to) the Gauls: Galicia in Spain, Galicia in Eastern Europe, Gaul itself, and Galatia in what is now Turkey (see the Epistle to the Galatians in the New Testament). There may be more.

  6. I’ve been in Przemysl quite a few times. It’s the first main town on Polish side after you leave Ukraine.

    I’ve heard of siege of Peremyshl (it’s Russian and Ukrainian name) in 1914-1915, the Czechs remember it very well (met an elderly Czech in a train who told me that his grandfather died there fighting for Rakousko).

    But for Soviet generations, it is mainly known for the Soviet counteroffensive on June 23, 1941.

    Peremyshl, captured by Wehrmacht on the first day of invasion was liberated by Red Army the next day.

    It was the first Soviet success in the war which greatly helped morale – it turns out the Germans are not super-soldiers, they can be beaten!

    Peremyshl had to be abandoned a few days later after success of German offensive near Lvov. It was liberated three years later, but didn’t remain Soviet for long and was given back to Poland.

  7. >>you see that the only town in Galicia with a German name is Lemberg

    Seems like there are a bunch more in the Polish part of Galicia? Although most are much smaller towns than Lviv…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_towns_of_the_former_Kingdom_of_Galicia_and_Lodomeria

  8. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Wikipedia believes that the Eastern Galicia is originally a Latinised form of the name of the town of Halych, which may or may not be named after a jackdaw.

  9. PlasticPaddy says:

    @e-k
    My point was not that there were no German versions of non-German names, just that these German names were not the official ones used by the k.u.k administration. For example, on that military map i linked to, the name Rzeszów appears, not Reichshof.

  10. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Not that it’s particularly easy to untangle Gauls, Gaels, and assorted galls…

    The Galles of Pays de Galles appears to be a French form of an Old English word based on a Latin form of a Gaulish name…

  11. Since we are talking about towns in that part of Europe, let me offer this travelogue from 15th century:

    And from Krakow to Bochna twenty-five miles. It is four miles from the town of Bochna to the town of Voynich. And from Voynich to the Dunai river a mile. And from the Dunai to the city of Ternov is a mile. And from Ternov to Pilsen three miles. And from Pilsen to Toropchitsa it is four miles. It is four miles from Toropchitsa to Reshev. It is three miles from Reshev to Lantsut. There are three from Lantsut to Prigorsk. It is two miles from Prigorsk to Yaroslav. It is two miles from Yaroslav to Rademna. From Rademna to the city of Peremyshl two miles. And under the city of Peremyshl flows the river San, and another river – Yarev, and the third – Yaryut. It is four miles from Peremyshl to Mostishche . It is two miles from Mostishche to Vishnya. It’s three miles from Vishnya to Gorodok. And from Gorodok to Lvov four miles, but one hundred thirty-four versts. And from Florence to Lvov, five hundred ninety-seven miles, and two thousand two hundred versts.

    This was written after Russian church delegation visited Council of Florence in 1437 (nothing good came out of it) and describes return route.

    The amazing thing is – every single place mentioned still exists.

    And even more amazing (for me, at least) is that I have visited all of them too, in exactly the order described.

    Here is what they are now called on Droga krajowa nr 94 and Avtoshlyakh M11:

    Krakow-Bochnia-Wojnicz-Dunajec-Tarnow-Pilzno-Ropczyce-Rzeszow-Lancut-Preworsk-Jaroslaw-Radymno-Przemysl-Mostyska-Sudova Vyshnya-Gorodok-Lviv

  12. That’s remarkable!

  13. Damn, misspelled Przeworsk.

    Anyway, most of the region is part of historical Cherven Cities – conquered by Kievan Rus from Poland in late 10th centuries, briefly reconquered by Poland and returned to Rus in 11th century, then part of Poland again since 14th century and was partitioned and re-partitioned several times afterwards.

    Now it is split – half in Poland, half in the Ukraine.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Grody_czerwienskie.png

  14. J.W. Brewer says:

    Now I am wondering (it being the anniversary of the time of year when the last K. u. K. found it expedient to relinquish certain of his political powers, albeit without formal abdication) if anyone has translated into all ten (or more?) official Hapsburg languages the poet’s summing up of the war that destroyed, inter alia, the multilingual Hapsburg polity.

    There died a myriad,
    And of the best, among them,
    For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
    For a botched civilization,

    Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
    Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

    For two gross of broken statues,
    For a few thousand battered books.

  15. David Marjanović says:

    Prömsel

    An inner-German hypercorrectivism!

    based on a Latin form of a Gaulish name…

    No, on a Germanic form, complete with Grimm’s law.

  16. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    I might have missed out a bit, but it seemed to go down beyond that to ‘the name of a people known to the Romans as Volcae’ 🙂

  17. David Marjanović says:

    Yes; the Germanic form need not have gone through Latin, and most likely didn’t.

  18. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Shame 🙂

  19. The amazing thing is – every single place mentioned still exists.

    Is that really so amazing? It’s only 1437 we’re talking about. How many towns of any size existed in Europe in 1437 and no longer exist?

    I agree that it’s very interesting that the main roads still connect the cities in the same order – I suppose a good travel route is a good travel route, whatever the technology.

  20. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Some, I suppose. One of the main towns of medieval Scotland, certainly.
    (RoxburghSHIRE carried on until 1975, with Jedburgh as its county town.)

    A lot more will now be a tiny part of some other place which possibly didn’t exist when they were first founded.

    If none of the *names* have vanished, or been almost completely swallowed up, that does impress me a bit!

  21. The Habsburg armed forces had a third official language – Croatian was the official language in the units of the Royal Croatian Home Guard (Domobranstvo).

    Galicija is the contemporary name for both the Spanish and the Polish Galicia, though in Austro-Hungarian times, Galič was also used for the eastern Galicia.

    Galica is the Croatian word for both a type of bird (deriving from the common Slavic) and for copper sulfate (deriving from the Spanish Galicia).

  22. By the way. Slavic population of Galicia was called in 10th century accounts “White Croats”.

    It is often claimed that they were Croats who didn’t migrate to the Adriatic in the 7th century and decided to stay at home.

    .

  23. Galica is the Croatian word for both a type of bird

    Etymology: From Proto-Slavic *galica = *galъka (whence Russian галка ‘jackdaw’).

  24. Jen – thanks! Roxburgh is a good one (destroyed 1460). I thought that Dunwich had been swallowed up by the sea but it turns out it was only mostly swallowed.

    And the survival of the names is indeed pretty impressive.

  25. From Slavic gal’ = black, dark.

  26. Jedburgh

    Jedburgh justice: sentence first, verdict afterwards. But what I don’t know is why it’s Jeddart justice in Scots. Any idea, David E?

    I thought that Dunwich had been swallowed up by the sea but it turns out it was only mostly swallowed.

    An event known as the Dunwich Horror.

  27. Yet all this was only the prologue of the actual Dunwich horror.

  28. PlasticPaddy says:

    @jc
    From wikipedia:
    “Jedburgh began as Jedworð, the “worth” or enclosed settlement on the Jed. Later the more familiar word “burgh” was substituted for this, though the original name survives as Jeddart/Jethart.”
    The Gaelic version Deadard looks to me like a transliteration but that the river name Dead was pre-exsisting in Gaelic (otherwise Jedworth/Jeddart > Seadard).

  29. Some officers may have gotten by with “Army Slavic,” a most peculiar military Esperanto blending Slavic grammar with German military terminology.

    Am I the only one bothered by the use of the term “Esperanto”, here? Esperanto is a full synthetic language. While it blends together parts of other European languages, as does Army Slavic, they aren’t the same blends.

    The best phrase I can think of to replace “Esperanto” in the quoted sentence is “synthetic polyglot jargon”, or something like that.

    Wikipedia says that it was a “rump” language, which also seems wrong. It’s not the remnant of anything; it’s a deliberately-selected subset of specialized vocabulary. There was never anything more for it to be a remnant of!

    If it really was only 80 words, that seems to me to be small enough to fit in the entire Wikipage.

    In searching Google Scholar for more information, I see that Alexander Watson (the author quoted) was not the first to call Army Slavic an “Esperanto”. Perhaps he picked it up from the same 1934 source quoted here?:

    Ricco Pizzini in his account Durch! März bis Dezember 1917. Ein Erleben im Weltkrieg describes a scene, in which the author, while being captured, tries to employ his experiences rooted in the Monarchy’s multilinguality:

    The Russians were very agitated and kept shouting at me. As far as I could understand with my scarce knowledge of army-Slavic — the k.u.k. Esperanto which is a mixture of all idioms of the people united in the old army — they were all outraged by the air attacks against their infantry, which apparently have caused them many casualties. (Pizzini, 1934: 61) ⁹

    Footnote 9 is the original German being cited:

    Die Russen waren sehr erregt und schrien fortwährend auf mich ein. Soviel ich mit meinen geringen Kenntnissen des Armee-slawischen verstand, des k.u.k. Esperanto, das eine Mischung aller Idiome der in der alten Armee vereinigten Völker darstellte, waren sie alle sehr empört über die Fliegerangriffe gegen ihre Infanterie am Nachmittag, die sie scheinbar große Opfer gekostet hatten.

    Above is from Wolf, Michaela. ““He became our interpreter, our spokesman, he had a leading role!”. Interpreting in Russian Prisoner of War Camps of World War I.” TRANS. Revista de Traductología 23 (2019): 67-81.

    WikiP suggests that “k.u.k.” means “kaiserlich und königlich” (“Imperial and Royal”); a reference to the Habsburgs.

  30. “k.u.k.” means “kaiserlich und königlich” (“Imperial and Royal”); a reference to the Habsburgs.

    Yes. And most people aren’t linguistically sophisticated enough to know what kind of language Esperanto is; they just know it’s made up of bits and pieces of other languages, hence the analogy.

  31. I think we discussed it somewhere.

    Císař pán František Josef I. was Kaiser of Austria and King of Hungary (and King of Bohemia, King of Dalmatia, King of Croatia, King of Slavonia, King of Galicia and Lodomeria, King of Illyria, King of Jerusalem)

  32. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    I noticed that ‘Esperanto’, looked it up in the OED and discovered that the first quoted use in a general sense of ‘a language used for communication by speakers of other languages’ dated back to 1905, and decided that it must be too ordinary to comment on. Obviously I was wrong 😀

  33. January First-of-May says:

    The best phrase I can think of to replace “Esperanto” in the quoted sentence is “synthetic polyglot jargon”, or something like that.

    The appropriate word is “pidgin”, I believe. But yeah, I also don’t like the use of “Esperanto” in that meaning.

  34. From Carson McCullers’s Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland: “Among themselves they spoke a desperate-sounding family Esperanto made up of Russian, French, Finnish, German and English”.

  35. Tamara Scheer, in a chapter devoted to Habsburg Languages at War, dismisses the matter of “Army {Slavic|German}” in a few sentences:

    But the army command stuck to the policy of not engaging officers for too long in one region, especially their home region. The development of a national affiliation had to be avoided at all costs. There was a continuous critique of the desperate attempts of officers who did not know the language and tried to manage by mixing all the languages they knew. This strategy was known as ‘army Slavic’ (Armeeslawisch) or ‘army German’ (Armeedeutsch). The Czech politician Václav Klofáč proposed in 1905 in the Austrian Parliament that the regimental language was useful only to enable officers to insult Czech soldiers (Scheer 2014) (see Figure 3.2).

    If you start reading about the Habsburg Army, you quickly start to see k.u.k. (sometimes K.K., sometimes K.U.K), in the titles of referenced works, and in the works themselves. Scheer explains the initialism the first time it appears, since her audience is not necessarily familiar with the Hapsburg Army. Wolf did not.

    Scheer’s chapter explains the multiple political and logistical problems with running an army with soldiers from ethnic groups that spoke 11 or 12 different languages, rarely with any in common, and with greater or lesser status within the Empire. Some languages began to be seen as “disloyal”.

    I wonder if they might have benefitted from a common language not connected with any one ethnicity, like Latin, or Esperanto? Or would that have just made matters worse?

  36. Learned from Russian Wiki that Army German consisted of 200 words. And Army Slavic was 80 words, all military commands.

    Quite a bit more than lexicon of Ellochka the Cannibal in “Twelve Chairs”.

  37. David Marjanović says:

    k. k. changed to k. u. k. /ˌkaʊndˈkaː/ in 1867 as part of the Balance.

  38. Note how in Watson’s text 80 words is “langauge of command” while “Army Slavic” is what some officers “may have gotten by with” and “a most peculiar military Esperanto blending Slavic grammar with German military terminology.”

    And then “Thus, for example, the battalion’s Poles could be ordered to antretować….” – which is clearly the “language of command”.

    English WIkipedia that defines AS as 80 words and Russian WIkipedia that adds Army German with 200, and Tamara Scheer (who defines them this way There was a continuous critique of the desperate attempts of officers who did not know the language and tried to manage by mixing all the languages they knew. This strategy was known as ‘army Slavic’ (Armeeslawisch) or ‘army German’ (Armeedeutsch).” ) only add to the confusion.

    Some of the above don’t know what they are speaking about.

  39. Some of the above don’t know what they are speaking about.
    That’s one explanation. Another would be that the reality was a mess and that terms like “Armeedeutsch” and “Armeeslawisch” aren’t well-defined terms describing a normed reality, but were ad-hoc descriptions of fluctuating phenomena, meaning different things to different people back then, which then also shows up in the different usages of the quoted authors.

  40. Sounds likely to me.

  41. David M, re k.u.k:

    In the armed forces, there was also:
    k.k. for the Landwehr in the Austrian part of the Monarchy,
    k.u. for the Hungarian Honved,
    kr. hr. for the Croatian Domobranstvo,
    and the Common armed forces, which were k.u.k.

  42. Another would be that the reality was a mess and that terms like “Armeedeutsch” and “Armeeslawisch” aren’t well-defined terms describing a normed reality,

    Hans, yes, of course. But it is also clear that the authors don’t realize this. They give narrow (and contradictory) definitions. Thus we can’t learn what exaclty was compared to “Esperanto” from their texts.:(

  43. One of the images included in Scheer’s essay is of a field service postcard of the Habsburg Army, containing a single sentence in 9 different languages. It occurred to me that the image might be online, and indeed:

    https://ww1.habsburger.net/en/media/im-healthy-and-im-doing-fine-officially-released-preprinted-field-post-correspondence-card

    Field service postcards were only permitted to have very limited text on them, for security purposes. My search also turned up one for the British Army, with a few more sentences (English only — I don’t know if Welsh or Scots Gaelic versions existed, but I tend to doubt it.):

    http://www.worldwar1luton.com/book/export/html/167

  44. J.W. Brewer says:

    I guess they got nine languages rather than the ten listed at e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_and_religious_composition_of_Austria-Hungary (summarizing the 1911 census results) by treating Czech and Slovak as more or less the same thing? Which may be perfectly fine as a practical matter (i.e. whatever the politics, someone who could read one could read the other without much difficulty, to a greater extent than any other two on the list).

  45. J.W. Brewer says:

    Separately, it may not be a coincidence that Vienna is the location of the world’s only (AFAIK) Esperanto Museum, established in the 1920’s after the city was no longer the capital of a vast multilingual empire and was perhaps having some psychological difficulties on account of being out-of-scale with the small-and-kinda-boring country is was stuck being the capital of instead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_Museum_and_Collection_of_Planned_Languages

  46. David Marjanović says:

    treating Czech and Slovak as more or less the same thing

    Yes; there’s no Slovak on the card, and this kind of sentence I expect to be identical except for ř – in any case much more similar than the Slovene and the Croatian on the card are to each other.

    Also, the attitude that they’re the same thing for practical purposes may actually have been bolstered by the fact that Czech was spoken in the Austrian and Slovak in the Hungarian Half of the Kingdom/Empire (Reichshälfte).

    k.k. for the Landwehr in the Austrian part of the Monarchy,
    k.u. for the Hungarian Honv[é]d,
    kr. hr. for the Croatian Domobranstvo,

    Hm. If the last two are kraljevski hrvatski and königlich ungarisch, what is k. k. then? Still kaiserlich-königlich, but the king in question is the one of Bohemia?

  47. Re Slovak:
    I suspect that Slovak was missing because it was spoken in the Hungarian half of the Monarchy. The official language there was Hungarian, except in the Triune Kingdom, where the official language was Croatian.

    I suspect that is why Serbian is missing as well. Romanian is present because it was one of the languages in Bukovina, in the Austrian half of the Monarchy – or more correctly – “the Lands represented in the Imperial Council.”

  48. Re k.k.

    Yes, k.k. is kaiserlich-königlich. In the Austrian half of the Monarchy there were the kingdoms of Bohemia, Dalmatia, and Galicia & Lodomeria, so take a pick.

    kr. hr. = kraljevsko hrvatsko (neuter gender)

    k.u. is the German equivalent of the Hungarian m. kir. Honvéd

  49. J.W. Brewer says:

    I’m not sure if it’s fair to say Serbian is missing, since as I understand it the late Hapsburg regime (along with, at the time, most of the Croat and Serb intelligentsia) believed that FYLOSC was a thing rather than Croats and Serbs having different languages from each other. Now, it does seem unkind not to offer that single language in both of its standard scripts, although I don’t know how many literate Serbs (in context here, either soldiers or their families back home, with literacy being far from universal in either group) were literate in Cyrillic but unable to read in Latin transliteration. And it’s certainly true that post-1867 the Kingdom of Hungary had a less tolerant policy toward its regional/minority languages than the “Austrian” Hapsburg domains were. But a) you’d think that in a military context the Hungarians would be pragmatic rather than ideological and accept that since Magyarization had not yet successfully made all of their Serbo-croatian/Slovak/Romanian/Ruthenian-speaking soldiers into assimilated Magyar-speakers it would be imprudent not to cope with that reality for military purposes; and b) there were probably more Hapsburg-ruled Serbian soldiers from Bosnia-Herzegovina (where the Hungarians weren’t in charge of language policy) than from the Hungarian-controlled Vojvodina.

    Not unlike the situation with Serbo-Croatian, I know that various ideologues and utopians and whatnot from time to time talked up a unified and somewhat self-consciously artificial “Czecho-Slovak” language which would in principle be subtly different than just assuming Slovak-speakers could function well enough in Czech if you forced them to, but I don’t know how much that may have played out in late Hapsburg language policy, especially since the Czech/Slovak split tracked the Vienna-Budapest split in who was running the policy.

  50. I think majority of Hungarian Serbs lived in Croatia (Croatian Military Frontier, region which briefly became country called Serb Krajina in 1990s).

    Croatia had autonomy and didn’t have to use Hungarian.

  51. David Eddyshaw says:

    The 2016 Kusaal orthography was apparently supposed to unify Agolle and Toende Kusaal (which are at least as different from each other as Czech from Slovak.) In reality, it’s highly Agolle-centric, and I think I’d be pretty unhappy about it if I were an L1 Toende Kusaal speaker, expected to remember to write [ba:] “dog” as baa but [bi:] “child” as biig, to say nothing of writing both [ja̰:b] “make pottery” and [ja̰:p] “potter” as ya’ab just because those mere-patois-speakers in Bawku don’t distinguish the two words.

  52. you’d think that in a military context the Hungarians would be pragmatic rather than ideological

    I wouldn’t, and I’d substitute “far more brutal” for your “less tolerant.”

  53. JW, i can assure you that Serbian is missing. Contrast this with banknotes where it was present.

    Hungarians brooked no opposition. It was Hungarian all the way.

    SFR, the Croatian and Slavonian military frontier districts, which were always a part of the Triune kingdom, but administered by the military rather than civilian authorities, was disbanded decades before WW1 and incorporated into the civil administration. Only some parts of the military frontier were populated by Serbs. Many Croatians lived there, as well as many orthodox people who considered themselves to be Croats.

    JW I can also assure you that there were no illusions in the Habsburg empire that Serbian and Croatian were one, and that at the time there was no forcing of this offensive Serbocroatian claptrap that still seems to happen in the present day.

  54. languagehat: Agreed.

    Language issues were very controversial in the Habsburg armed forces.

    Hungarians especially fought hard to have their language acknowledged. Then with the Nagodba between Hungary and Croatia, Croatians struggled with equal zeal to have their language acknowledged.

    Also I seem to recall that there were riots in Bohemia when Czechs insisted on using Czech, rather than German, in military roll calls.

  55. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    @David Marjanović:

    k. k. changed to k. u. k. /ˌkaʊndˈkaː/ in 1867 as part of the Balance.

    Possibly as a sign of how much the imperial army loved the Compromise, or merely of how conservative it was, it nonetheless remained k. k. until 1889. Accordingly, the Verordnungsblatt is still published as für das k. k. Heer in 1888, but becomes für das k. und k. Heer in 1890. The Austrian National Library does not have 1889 online to check if this change dates precisely from the military law of 11 April 1889 as Wikipedia reasonably claims.

    @zyxt:

    I can also assure you that there were no illusions in the Habsburg empire that Serbian and Croatian were one, and that at the time there was no forcing of this offensive Serbocroatian claptrap that still seems to happen in the present day.

    The Austrian Census (1880 to 1910) required respondents to declare a single everyday language (Umgangsprache) from a closed list of nine: German, Bohemian-Moravian-Slovak, Polish, Ruthenian, Slovene, Serbian-Croat, Italian-Ladino, Romanian, and Hungarian.

    This classification reflected the earlier choice of languages for the different editions of the Reichsgesetzblatt, originally described in 1849 as:

    1. in deutscher Sprache,
    2. in italienischer,
    3. in magyarischer,
    4. in böhmischer (zugleich mährischer und slovakischer Schriftsprache),
    5. in polnischer,
    6. in ruthenischer,
    7. in slovenischer (zugleich windischer und krainerischer Schriftsprache),
    8. in serbisch-illirischer Sprache mit serbischer Civil-Schrift,
    9. in serbisch-illirischer (zugleich croatischer) Sprache mit lateinischen Lettern,
    10. in romanischen (moldauisch-wallachischer) Sprache.

    The Militärstatistisches Jahrbuch (1870 to 1911) expanded the categories to ten, splitting Czech and Slovak; but not Croatian and Serbian. This seems to have reflected broader army policy (Stergar and Scheer 2018).

    So k. k. official policy seems to have been quite consistently to treat Serbian and Croatian as one language.

    On the other hand, k. u. statistics did came around to treating them as two. The 1880 Hungarian Census reports mother-tongue speakers of Serbo-Croatian, but from 1890 to 1910 it reports Croatian and Serbian separately instead.

  56. Andrej Bjelaković says:

    I think majority of Hungarian Serbs lived in Croatia (Croatian Military Frontier, region which briefly became country called Serb Krajina in 1990s).

    I don’t think this is quite correct. I think more Serbs lived in the other military frontiers, and the numbers on Wikipedia seem to agree:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_Military_Frontier
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banat_Military_Frontier
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavonian_Military_Frontier

  57. Checked the census of 1910.

    In the Kingdom of Hungary (without Croatia-Slavonia) there were 461 516 Serbs (in Vojvodina and Banat). In Croatia-Slavonia – 644,955 Serbs.

    In the Austrian part of the empire, there were 105,332 Orthodox Christians in Kingdom of Dalmatia and 825,418 Orthodox Christians in Bosnia and Herzegovina (presumably all Serbs, though zyxt might argue they were Orthodox Croats).

    Anyway, linguistic oppression of Serbian language by Hungarian appears to have affected only a minority of Serbs in the empire since most of them lived in areas where official language was either Croatian or “Bosnian” (in Bosnia, Austrian authorities denied existence of the Bosnian Serb majority and their Serbian language – it was claimed that they were just Orthodox Bosnians and their language was Bosnian, not Serbian. Cyrillic alphabet was systematically suppressed*)

    *Ultimately ban on the use of Cyrillic in Bosnia led to assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip, First World War and the end of the Habsburg empire. Banning Cyrillic is a very bad idea, are you listening, Akismet?

  58. Andrej Bjelaković says:

    Okay, but not all Serbs in Croatia-Slavonia lived in the Croatian Military Border section.

  59. Could the fact that Serbia was Enemy Number One in the eyes of the Monarchy in 1915 have anything to with Serbian being left off? Although it would also be practical to have as few languages on the card as possible.


  60. Austria-Hungary
    Orders issued on the 3 and 13 October 1914 banned the use of Serbian Cyrillic in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, limiting it for use in religious instruction. A decree was passed on January 3, 1915, that banned Serbian Cyrillic completely from public use. An imperial order in October 25, 1915, banned the use of Serbian Cyrillic in the Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, except “within the scope of Serb Orthodox Church authorities”.[9][10]

    That’s why.

  61. Why would they even do that?? I just don’t understand this kind of thing. Was Cyrillic considered inherently subversive?

  62. Giacomo Ponzetto –

    * re k.u.k v k.k.
    In the time period that we’re talking about (WW1 and just beforehand), the armed forces were k.u.k. However, the Landwehr was k.k.

    * re Census
    The census groupings indicate that the Habsubrgs were lumpers rather than splitters.
    Why did they leave out Friulan, Romani and Yiddish, amongst others?

    * re Reichsgesetzblatt
    I thought someone was going to raise this. But the explanation is not short & simple. I’ll follow it up with another post.

    SFR –

    Yes I heard of the cyrillic ban, but have never actually seen the legal instruments banning cyrillic. I think there is more myth and propaganda about these bans than reality. For instance, listening to Serb sources I thought it was a blanket ban, but from what you mentioned, it looks like it was allowed within the church.

    Anyway, it looks like from what you’ve quoted that the ban applied only in Croatia-Slavonia and in BiH, so it was not widespread as some would claim. Here is some evidence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_of_the_Austro-Hungarian_krone Serbian cyrillic used on banknotes published in 1917. Italy (and Romania) was a bigger threat to Austria-Hungary than Serbia ever was, and Italian (and Romanian) was still used. There was massive outrage in A-H about the Italian betrayal of 1915, as well as a history of 3 wars against Italy / Sardinia during the reign of FJ1 so I very much doubt that prejudice against the enemy was the cause for leaving off Serbian and Slovak (but keeping Italian) from the military postcard.

    My point was that Serbian and Slovakian (and for that matter Yiddish, Friulan, Romani, Armenian, etc.) were not official languages, and that is why they were not used on the card.

    “(presumably all Serbs, though zyxt might argue they were Orthodox Croats)” No I wouldn’t argue that. But I wouldn’t argue that they were all Serbs either. The censuses listed religion, but not nationality. It’s a big assumption to say that orthodox = Serb or that catholic = Croat in every case.

  63. languagehat says: Was Cyrillic considered inherently subversive?

    Who knows. Habsburg censorship and bureaucracy had a tendency to take on a life of their own. If you look at newspapers from the time, they sometimes have blank columns where the censor decided that something was subversive, and the typesetters didn’t have time to re-design the page.

    Tangentially related – I recall that Švejk’s barkeeper ended up in jail for saying that flies left droppings on the portrait of his Imperial & Royal Majesty.

  64. If you look at newspapers from the time, they sometimes have blank columns where the censor decided that something was subversive, and the typesetters didn’t have time to re-design the page.

    Well, sure, but that’s a different matter — it’s easy to say “I have qualms about this, so out it goes.” Banning an entire alphabet (except for religious use) is a huge undertaking that would require a lot of effort and presumably strong reasons.

  65. SFReader says: “Anyway, linguistic oppression of Serbian language by Hungarian appears to have affected only a minority of Serbs in the empire since most of them lived in areas where official language was either Croatian or “Bosnian” (in Bosnia, Austrian authorities denied existence of the Bosnian Serb majority and their Serbian language – it was claimed that they were just Orthodox Bosnians and their language was Bosnian, not Serbian. Cyrillic alphabet was systematically suppressed*)”

    Not quite. You are right in the sense that during the administration of Benjamin Kallay, Bosnian was forced as the name of the “Land language”. Though this was to the detriment of both Croatian and Serbian.

    This policy was short lived, and the respective communities were thereafter free to refer to their language as Croatian and Serbian, just like they did before Kallay.

    To my knowledge, Cyrillic was not banned during that time. Serbs were never forced to deny their name, to my knowledge. Indeed, Serb political parties, social institutions and the church continued their work uninterrupted.

    However, I recall that Serb deputies in the B-H Diet managed to introduce and pass a law outlawing the use of Croatian month names. I can’t recall if this happened during Kallay’s time.

  66. languagehat says: Well, sure, but that’s a different matter

    My point was that the bureaucracy had Kafkaeque reasons of its own. Censorship was not consistent from Crown land to Crown land. What was censored in one place could be freely done and published elsewhere.

    Cyrillic itself wasn’t banned. Ruthenians could still use cyrillic. As could Serbs for religious reasons. Presumably education in cyrillic was still allowed through church schools.

    I am however, aware that Serb cultural societies were disbanded during WW1. Presumably this was because they were suspected of supporting Serbia, and it could be that the ban on cyrillic is related to that.

    As I mentioned, there is a lot of myth and propaganda around this, and I have yet to read the text of the actual order or legal instrument that instituted the ban. For a long time – based on Serb sources – I thought that it was a blanket ban on all cyrillic with serious consequences (jail, corporal punishment etc.). But SFR’s claim that cyrillic was allowed in religious instruction goes against that myth.

    It would be great to see some more light shed on this: Were there also bans on the activities and cultural institutions of Italians, Montenegrins and Romanians, or was it only aimed against Serbs?

  67. Yes, excellent questions.

  68. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    @zyxt:

    Why did they leave out Friulan, Romani and Yiddish, amongst others?

    Because they didn’t know what was good for them (Stergar and Scheer 2018)?

    From the perspective of present-day language politics, surely the smart move would have been to declare that the co-official languages of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom were Lombard and Venetian. What could be more natural? It’s right there in the name of the country. Nay, of the nation! Then, instead of pesky Italian nationalists trying to gobble up the entire kingdom in the name of an artificial literary language hardly anybody spoke natively, you could have had a Lombardo-Venetian nationalist movement fighting to reunite with the kingdom the historic western part of Lombardy, whose Lombard-speaking population was forcefully separated from the national body in the mid-eighteenth century, and then subjected to a century-long Piedmontese oppression. Nuara and Dòm, un-redeemed provinces!

    Seriously though, I very much doubt that Habsburg officialdom perceived Lombard, Venetian and Friulian as separate languages, but simply decided they were unworthy of official dignity. Much more likely, they actually believed they were all dialects of the single Italian language. This belief is now so outdated it may well be called an illusion or a delusion, but this didn’t prevent many people from genuinely holding it. I suspect many Italians still do, though probably no Italian linguists — Roberto Batisti would know much better.

    Habsburg perceptions of Slavic languages may of course have been radically different from their perceptions of Romance ones. Yet, it seems fair to suspect that statistical lumping reflected and reinforced a widespread belief among Viennese bureaucrats around 1900 that Croatian and Serbian were not distinct languages.

  69. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    @zyxt:

    It would be great to see some more light shed on this: Were there also bans on the activities and cultural institutions of Italians, Montenegrins and Romanians, or was it only aimed against Serbs?

    Italian-language Wikipedia claims there were bans against anything Italian, but this claim creates more smoke than light. It proves there exists an enduring conviction, among Italians who care about such things (surely a small minority harboring historical grievances, whether out of family history or unusual nationalism), that after losing the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom the Habsburg government pursued an explicit policy of “Slavisation” of Dalmatia and the Littoral. Whether it proves anything about actual policy is much less clear, given the transparent and unsettling bias of the Wikipedians in question.

    The most striking catalogue of irredentist grievances is on the page for the Questione adriatica. However, only three claims are supported by footnotes, and one of them has the chutzpah of citing a secondary source from 1919. So we’re left with the other two.

    I’m inclined to trust the opening claim that the emperor himself called for Germanization or Slavization of his Italian subjects in a meeting of the council of ministers on 12 November 1866. The source is not online (or I cannot find it), but it seems too precisely cited to be made up:

    Seine Majestät sprach den bestimmten Befehl aus, daß auf die entschiedenste Art dem Einfluß des in einigen Kronländern noch vorhandenen italienischen Elements entgegengetreten und durch geeignete Besetzung der Stellen von politischen, Gerichts-Beamten, Lehrern, sowie durch den Einfluß der Presse, in Südtirol, Dalmatien, dem Küstenland, auf die Germanisierung oder Slawisierung der betroffenen Landestheile je nach Umständen mit allen Energien und ohne alle Rücksicht hingearbeitet werde. Seine Majestät legt es allen Zentralstellen als strenge Pflicht auf, in diesem Sinne planmäßig vorzugehen.

    I am not as inclined to trust the claim that in 1909 the Italian language was banned from all official buildings. The footnote truthfully attributes it to the Treccani encyclopedia. The Wikipedian author had access to a 1970-vintage volume, but the same information is in the current online version, at the entry for Dalmatia:

    Tra il 1848 e il 1918 l’Impero austroungarico favorì l’affermarsi dell’etnia slava per contrastare l’irredentismo della popolazione italiana. Dal 1880 furono soppresse tutte le scuole italiane e a poco a poco gli Italiani furono esclusi da tutte le amministrazioni. Nel 1882 cadde l’amministrazione italiana di Spalato. Nel 1909 la lingua italiana fu proibita in tutti gli uffici.

    My suspicion is that these claims have not been revised since the first edition in 1931 (IX E.F.), and should be taken with the corresponding pinch of salt. This could be checked, but I’m 90 minutes away from a copy of that edition so I won’t check.

    Finally, Wikipedia keeps citing this semi-mythical 1909 language policy jointly with the “Hohenlohe Decrees” of 1913, expelling Italians from municipal administrations and (up to a point) municipally-owned companies in Triest and the Littoral. These did exist. E.g., they make the front page of La Stampa (a major Italian newspaper from Turin) on November 26, 1913. However, as Wikipedia itself explains on the entry devoted to them, but carefully hides in the catalogues of irredentist grievances, they were expelling foreigners, i.e., citizens of the Kingdom of Italy. Not only did they not discriminate among Habsburg subjects on the basis of language or ethnicity. They also allowed Italian citizens to keep their jobs so long as they acquired Austrian citizenship, which the government then promised it would grant generously.

  70. Regarding the status of Cyrillic — Tamara Scheer, in the essay I cited above, writes:

    In one example from southern Hungary, the censor offices lacked personnel skilled in Cyrillic. After heavy complaints the War Surveillance Office started an investigation. For several weeks all letters written in Cyrillic that reached the post office in Ujvidek-Novi Sad (today in Serbia) were destroyed, merely because the office lacked any censors who were able to read Cyrillic (Scheer 2010: 97–8).

    She does not mention any official bias or legal restrictions.

    Also:

    It is important to reiterate here that in the case of the Habsburg Empire none of the languages mentioned here were ‘minority’ languages. Thanks to the Austrian constitution they were equal even when they were unofficially labelled as disloyal during the war. The regulations did not change.
    […]
    Before the war no sympathy for a single language is traceable in the official regulations, although the emperor upheld the status of German as the language of command and higher administrative service. What changed substantially was not the legal framework but the attitude on the part of officers and soldiers towards certain languages. Especially after certain incidents involving some ethnic groups, certain languages became labelled as disloyal, particularly Czech, Italian and Serbian.

  71. That makes sense.

  72. J.W. Brewer says:

    The postcard mentioned upthread does use Cyrillic for the ruthenischer Sprache, which was apparently considered a less disloyal script in that different region. Which would make sense since the overwhelming majority of Hapsburg-ruled Ruthenian-speakers and Cyrillic-writers were Greek Catholics by religion — the small Orthodox minority in Galicia were viewed as potential Russian fifth-columnists, and some suffered rather summary execution (martyrdom, as perceived in some quarters) in the early days of the war in 1914, but that tends to confirm the notion that the Greek Catholics were not viewed as generally prone to Russian irredentism. AFAIK there was never any push to get Ruthenian written in the Latin alphabet instead of Cyrillic. The Ruthenian-speakers under Hungarian rule had it worse off, of course.

    .

  73. David Marjanović says:

    Much more likely, they actually believed they were all dialects of the single Italian language. This belief is

    …completely natural once you believe in the single German language. German and Dutch together (where Dutch is Low Franconian, half of Central Franconian and the westernmost part of Low Saxon) are about as diverse minus contact phenomena, and indeed about as old, as Slavic, and German alone is probably comparable to “Italian” meaning all the Romance of mainland Italy and perhaps Sicily.

  74. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    @ David Marjanović:

    … and perhaps Sicily.

    Certainly Sicily. Everyone agrees that Sicilian, Calabrian and Salentinian belong in the same bin. The only question is whether to call that bin a language family, a single language with several dialects, a group of dialects of Italian … I think there’s also a wide consensus that Italian dialects stay closer to Italian as you move South than North.

    Lumping always beings to fray with Friulian and Sardinian.

  75. If Slavic languages were treated like German, they would look like:
    East Russian dialects (Great Russian, Little Russian and Belorussian)
    West Russian dialects (Polish, Czech, Slovak, etc)
    South Russian dialects (Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, etc)
    Old Church Russian
    High Russian (standard literary Russian).

  76. Problem in Slavic is that if you were trying to create a literary model along the lines of Dante‘s Tuscan influenced Italian or Luther‘s German, a dialect that is kind of comprehensible to speakers of most of the other dialects/related languages, then you wouldn’t pick Russian. It would have been something closer to Slovak.

  77. Not a problem unless you’re Russian, of course.

  78. Giacomo Ponzetto says:

    The standard explanation for Italian is not that Florentine was exceptionally comprehensible to anyone else, but that in the late 13th and early 14th century Florence was exceptionally successful economically and socio-politically (think of the florin), and then got a trifecta of exceptionally admired authors. Petrarchism in particular was an international phenomenon.

    Needless to say, this standard explanation is clearly over-simplified and might even be somewhat misguided. In particular, perhaps Petrarch’s exceptional success reflected in part the comprehensibility of his language. If so, however, I suppose it would have to be an international comprehensibility. This would presumably reflect similarity to Latin rather than to other peninsular vernaculars.

    Not sure how similar considerations might apply to Slavic. I suppose Russia in the early nineteenth century had a contemporaneous apogee as a world power and literary golden age. But maybe that’s too late? Any candidates that are earlier and possibly closer to Church Slavonic?

  79. One historical what-if which shall haunt me forever is development of standard literary Russian on the basis of Old Church Slavonic.

    Russia actually came very close to this in late 17th – first third of 18th century.

    Tazhe po sikh chto narododnoye shataniye? Chto drug druga porevnovaniye? chto beschislennoye i mnogoutesnennoye lyudey prolitiye? Ponezhe uzresya izhe nikolizhe v Moskve videsya, i uvidesya chudo ne vo okeanskom, no v Moskovskom narodnom mori, ne byvaloye zritelishche — preveliy slon zver’, vsadnikapravyashcha yego na shei imeya, pri nem na nem uzreti yego, aki vrabiya; vysotu bo zverya sego glagolyut i viditsya byti arshina s polpyata, imeya nozi dlinoyu s cheloveka tolsty yako brevno, tolstotelesen, nedolog po vysote, bezshersten, velikoglav, chernoviden, gorbospinen, zadopoklyap, stupaniyem medvedopodoben, ot verkhniya guby imeya (nareshchi) nos ili guba ili khobot, yako rukav platna visyashch do zemli, im zhe yako rukoyu brashno i pit’ye priimet, i sognuv v usta svoya otdayet. Ot verkhnikh zubov dva zuba veliki vne torchat syudu i syudu, ushi imeya veliki, yako zaslony pechnyye, rozhki maly, podobny agnchim, khvost podoben volov’yemu; sedchi arap imeyet v rutse ne uzdu, no zheleznoye orudiye sogbennoye, yego zhe ostrotoyu za glavu yemlya, uderzhivayet i upravlyayet, ne ot remeniya zhe i pobivalo, no zhelezo ostroye, aki chopal. Sitsevu chudu so vsadnikom bredushchu, narodam zhe ot …. stranu yako bystrinam morskim okruzhayushchim, nasmotretisya mnozhayshe userdstvuyut, i yedva ot mnogotisneniya put’ dayushchim zadnim pribdizhneyshim byti retyashchimsya, pred nim zhe ot nikh bliz’ zverya pribrosayemym, otgonyayushchikh im pristavnikom. Ovogda zhe arap onyy sedyay, aki glumyasya, obratyashe zverya na narody, i zver’, aki glumyasya, skoro postupali na desno ili na shuyee, ili nazad ili na lyudey, begstvo u lyudey uchinyashesya. Divo zhe bezreti: nizhe bo narodi daleche ubeshati mogushche, nizhe zverya potopta ili dosadi koto, no abiye ne vredya lyudey, obratyasya vodim vsadnikom, v put’ svoy idyashe. Tako siye chudo, narody okruzhayemo, s pokrovov i s vysot zremo i udivlyayemo, v Moskvu vnide. Sitse s slavoyu i chestiyu posol vo ugotovannyy yemu dom v vecher glubok priide; narody zhe raskhodyashchesya nosyakhu kazhdo vo ustekh videniye zverya, i be slyshati u vsekh kolichestvo i kachestvo slona na yazytse obnosimo.

    This could have been standard Russian language (and in fact, in 1712, when it was written, it was arguably a register of Russian).

    The might of Russian state, schools, press, genius of Russian literature and TV and radio in 20th century would have made this incomprehensible speech first language of all Russians.

    Of course, Russian then would have to be classified as South Slavic…

  80. Hatters interested in the languages of the Habsburg Empire might enjoy Christopher Biggins’ historical novel “A Sailor of Austria”, which is the fictional memoirs of a Czech officer in the k.u.k. navy in the Great War – similar to the Flashman books but with a much nicer narrator/protagonist, and what seems to be a good ear for the language issue and the general Czech sense of the absurd.

  81. Why did they leave out Friulan, Romani and Yiddish, amongst others?

    for romani/rromanes/[etc] and yiddish, it’s because the language policy was a nationalities policy first and foremost. since rroma and jews weren’t considered nationalities (in the territorially defined integral-nationalist-racoons-in-an-imperial-multinationalist-trenchcoat mode the austro-hungarians used), they couldn’t have recognized ‘national’ languages.

    which is part of what makes historical census data on galitsye & bukovine so dicey: an absurd number of yiddish-speakers having to decide whether to list themselves under “german”, “polish”, or one of the other officially-national languages (leading to absurdities like a 75% polish lembrik/lwów/l’viv/lemberg in 1900). i assume there’s a similar if less-discussed distortion in the data on heavily rroma parts of romania, serbia, hungary, &c – though likely with an extra layer of not even getting counted…

  82. J.W. Brewer says:

    I haven’t read anything beyond the abstract here, but for anyone not deterred (because they have institutional access or what have you) by the Springer paywall, this piece about the evolution of which languages are and aren’t on paper money used in traditionally-Ruthenian Transcarpathia from the Hapsburg era to the present (with a number of different intermediate stops of regime) might be of interest. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10993-018-9485-3

  83. Procházka is a common Czech surname and any old sailor can have it without any allusions. That said, “old Procházka” was a Chech nickname for K.u.K. himself.

    development of standard literary Russian on the basis of Old Church Slavonic

    But standard literary Russian absorbed a good deal of OCS vocabulary and the text SFReader excerpted is perfectly comprehensible to me without any knowledge of OCS itself.

  84. This is precisely what the standard literary Serbian was for a few hundred years, until the 19th century when they discarded their traditional language.

  85. David Marjanović says:

    High Russian (standard literary Russian).

    Nah, Rusyn. With an honorary mention of Slovene or perhaps all of South Slavic.

  86. A bit of trivia: I did not know that the former Habsburg Empress died in 1989, and her son Otto died as recently as 2011 (and was involved in European politics).

    Content Note: Habsburgstalgia

Speak Your Mind

*