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  • Author or Editor: Anna Plotnikova x
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The present paper discusses the written tradition of Burgenland Croats currently residing in the South of Slovakia. Before the Second World War this group of Burgenland Croats belonged to Hungary, so the preserved letters of rural residents of the border village Chunova retain a number of features characteristic of the Hungarian orthography of the beginning of last century, lexical borrowings from the languages of the environment (primarily German) and dialect features which have been lost by now. The correspondence from the beginning of the last century reflects the cultural, historical and linguistic situation typical of Burgenland Croats living in the enclave. A study of their letters published recently, in 2017, reveals the traits of their language, everyday life and some features of traditional folk culture.

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Abstract

The work which forms the bulk of the present study was carried out on the basis of numerous pieces of field material collected by means of an ethnolinguistic questionnaire in villages inhabited by Burgenland Croats in Western Hungary and Southern Slovakia (where part of the Hungarian territory was annexed after World War II). The field data contain a number of latent and obvious borrowings from Hungarian folk culture. By latent borrowings we mean cultural phenomena that were initially feebly expressed in a particular tradition (and tended to be lost), but during long coexistence with a neighboring heterogeneous tradition they were eventually maintained due to the developed state of the similar phenomena in the neighboring population. We also include here cultural phenomena that are typical of both traditions and have deep roots in the universal model of the naive world view. Analyzing the popular culture and dialects of enclave villages of Burgenland Croats in Hungary and Slovakia, we show that traditional folk culture with the corresponding vocabulary nevertheless acts as an important marker of identity for the population living in a foreign language environment.

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