The acceptance of spelling variants as symbols of Croatian spelling changes (1994–2013)
This paper discusses the impact of several spelling changes in Croatian on the level of the literacy of native speakers. Since 1986, there have been five official recommendations for usage that pertain to five different orthographic manuals. This research focuses on three spelling points with considerable identity-related repercussions among the public and the media, which are sometimes named the spelling symbols of Croatian. A questionnaire-survey comprised of 36 tests was completed among 1063 students on a technical study programme each year for eight consecutive academic years. Eight generations of first-year undergraduates, who do not study language in an educational setting, have accepted the new spellings, contingent on a frequency principle. The more frequent a spelling variant occurs, the less the chance that the new spelling variant is accepted, and vice versa. Given the lack of established and enduring spelling norms, combined with ideological oppositions between the old and new spelling forms, students have been guided mainly by their capacity to write the most common form.
Keywords: spelling variants, questionnaire research, Croatian orthography, (re)standardization, spelling changes
Published online: 10 December 2021
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