Visiting Fulbright Scholar Marija Runić will give a talk titled “Linguistics and Education in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina” from 4-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in Bond Hall 417.
The talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Western's Department of Linguistics.
A Fulbright Scholar from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Runić holds a doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Padua, Italy. Her research interests lie in the area of formal grammar and linguistics and education. She has worked primarily on Slavic and Romance languages in a situation of language contact. This past fall she taught a special topics course at Western, LING 402: Language(s) of the Balkans. Besides research and teaching, Runic has been actively engaged in promoting linguistic literacy and fighting linguistic discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.
In Runić's upcoming talk, titled “Linguistics and Education in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she presents preliminary results and reflections of the research project It's high time: linguistics in high schools, awarded by a Fulbright research grant and developed in collaboration with Western's Kristin Denham. The project examines how and to what extent linguistic knowledge can be incorporated into the first language curriculum of the post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) educational context, by building on the best practices for the integration of linguistics in the U.S. secondary education.
The project has been organized in three phases. In the first phase (June 2019 – September 2019), Runic conducted field work with students and teachers of three high schools in BiH in order to understand the specificity of the post-war BiH educational context. In the second phase (September 2019 – February 2020), she collected data about the integration of linguistics within the U.S. secondary education, taking into account which solutions could be a good fit for the BiH educational setting. In the third phase, to be completed upon her return to BiH, she will come up with concrete recommendations and solutions.
The preliminary results show that due to conflicting language ideologies and a prevailing prescriptivist approach, linguistics in the post-conflict BiH high school system should tackle primarily the issue of language variation, linguistic discrimination, prescriptivism, and negative stereotypes. In addition, the local linguistics community should invest more efforts to foster and promote scientific approach to language and bridge the gap between educators and linguists (following the best practices of the U.S. context, embodied, for example, in the High School Linguistics Initiative of the Linguistic Society of America and various teacher-linguist collaborations).