By Marin Andrijašević, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Notwithstanding the fact that linguistic topics, primarily those in the domain of Indo-European linguistics, have been an integral part of different studies at the University of Zagreb from its earliest stages, institutional organization of the Department began in 1959. The Department then briefly bore the name of the Department of General Linguistics and Comparative Literature, and the head of the Department was Professor Ivo Hergešić.
The same year saw the arrival of Professor Radoslav Katičić whose areas of interest, in addition to linguistics, included Indology, i.e. Sanskrit, and the Department split into two units, the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies. Professor Katičić (research assistant 1958, assistant professor 1961, associate professor 1966, full professor 1972) was the Head of the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies until he joined the Chair of Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna in 1977. Since the very beginning, Professor Katičić organized the program of general linguistics and the program of Indology in line with the contemporary linguistics and Indology trends, introducing the new linguistics program in 1976 which was, with minor, mostly organizational modifications, in place until 1996. Professor Katičić introduced two proseminars (in general and Indo-European linguistics), courses in fundamental linguistic disciplines (phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics), as well as diverse general and Indo-European linguistics courses. During the period of Professor Katičić’s office, the Department was joined by Bulcsú László (1971), Mate Križman (1971) and Dubravko Škiljan (1977). (Note: this overview will cover the linguistic segment of the Department, since Oriental Studies are covered in the history of today’s Department of Oriental, Turkish and Hungarian Studies.)
In 1971, Professor Bulcsú László became a full-time member of the Department (senior lecturer 1971, full professor 1989), teaching courses in the structure of numerous Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, as well as different mathematical linguistic models. The Chair of Social and Humanistic Information Science was restructured in 1981 as the Department of Librarianship and Social and Humanistic Information Science (today’s Department of Information Science), which Professor László joined as the principal, although he retained his teaching activities at the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies. In 1992, the Chair of Algebraic and Computation Linguistics was founded, headed by Professor László until his retirement in 1993. Upon retirement, he continued teaching at the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies (i.e. the Department of Linguistics since 2000) as an adjunct professor.
In 1971, the Department was joined by Professor Mate Križman (research assistant 1971, assistant professor 1985, associate professor 1992, full professor 1997) who was, as a classical philologist, the head of the Chair of Indo-European Linguistics from 1985 to 1996. In 1992, Professor Križman joined the Chair of the Greek Language at the Department of Classical Philology, but continued teaching Indo-European courses and seminars for students of the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies (i.e. the Department of Linguistics since 2000).
In 1977, Professor Dubravko Škiljan (research assistant 1977, assistant professor 1977, associate professor 1981, full professor 1988) joined the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies; after Professor Katičić left, he was in charge of the general linguistics program as the Head of the Chair of General Linguistics. In this period, Professor Škiljan founded two other chairs in addition to the existing Chair of General Linguistics, the Chair Indo-European Linguistics and the Chair of Social and Humanistic Information Science – namely the Chair of Applied Linguistics (1982) and the Chair of Semiology (1983). While introducing sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic and semiotic topics to the existing courses, Professor Škiljan continued to follow modern global trends in linguistics at the institutional and organizational level. In 1983, he introduced four groups of elective courses, which allowed students to become familiar with Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages and to gain deeper knowledge in certain linguistic issues. Professor Škiljan was the Head of the Chair of General Linguistics (1977-1996), the Chair of Indo-European Linguistics (1977-1985), the Chair of Applied Linguistics (1982-1989) and the Chair of Semiology (1983-1996). Professor Škiljan was also the Head of the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies from 1984 to 1986 and a Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1986 to 1988. During Professor Škiljan’s office as the Head of the Chair of General Linguistics, new researchers were employed, all of whom (except Ljerka Debuš) were his former students: Ljerka Debuš (1978), Milorad Pupovac (1982), Marin Andrijašević (1984), Vlasta Erdeljac (1985) and Ranko Matasović (1990). Professor Škiljan left the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in 1996, continuing his academic career at Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis – Faculty for Post-Graduate Studies in Humanities in Ljubljana. As of 2000, he was a visiting professor at the Department of Linguistics, returning to the Department full-time 2003 and assuming the full professor’s position.
In 1978, the Department was joined by Ljerka Debuš, who worked there as a research assistant until 1983, after which she left the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and moved to the United States.
In 1982, Milorad Pupovac (assistant professor 1989, associate professor 1998) joined the Department, first as a researcher employed by the Center for Conceptual and Theoretical Work of CK SKH, and later as a research assistant. Professor Pupovac’s professional interests were focused on sociolinguistics and pragmatics, and in 1989 he became the Head of the Chair of Applied Linguistics. In the 1990-ies, his interests expanded to include public communication and discourse analysis, psycholinguistics (particularly the issues of language learning and language disorders), and his interest in the epistemology of linguistics deepened. In the early 2000-ies, he began to explore the issues in semantics of understanding and ethics of speech. Based on these interests, he established the applied linguistic studies in the course of general study program reform. Professor Pupovac was the head of the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies from 1989 to 1991.
In 1984, Marin Andrijašević (senior research assistant 1997, assistant professor 1999) joined the Department as a research assistant. In addition to general linguistics, Professor Andrijašević’s work is particularly focused on semiological and general semiotic topics, and in 2001, he became the Head of the Chair of Semiology, which he remained until 2012. Through his innovative and debate-oriented course, “Meanings in Language” Professor Andrijašević made a significant impact on the new generations of students.
In 1985, Vlasta Erdeljac (senior research assistant 1997, assistant professor 1999, associate professor 2009, full professor 2013) joined the Department. Professor Erdeljac focused her scientific interest on general and theoretical linguistics and psycholinguistics (language processing in production and perception). In 2001, she assumed the position of the Head of the Chair of General Linguistics. Professor Erdeljac was the Head of the Department twice: from 2000 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2009. As of 2011, she is the Head of the Linguistic Laboratory, Department of Linguistics. She also headed several scientific projects, some of which are still ongoing. As the head of the organizational committee, Professor Erdeljac organized the International Conference “Worlds of Dubravko Škiljan” in November 2009.
In 1990, Ranko Matasović (research assistant 1993, senior research assistant 1995, assistant professor 1996, associate professor 2000, full professor 2004) joined the Department. Professor Matasović focused his interest on Indo-European linguistics, becoming the head of the Chair of Indo-European Linguistics in 1996, and also serving as the Head of the Chair of Semiology from 1996 to 2001). Professor Matasović was the Head of the Department of General Linguistics and Oriental Studies from 1998 to 2000. During his office, in 2000, the Department split into two separate departments, namely the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Oriental and Hungarian Studies. In 2012, Professor Matasović was elected a full member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among other duties, he is a member of the Committee for Balto-Slavic Studies of the International Congress of Slavists, and is the principal researcher of the project The Croatian Language from a Comparative Perspective.
After the establishment of the Chair of Algebraic and Computational Linguistics, the Department was joined by Miro Kačić (full professor 1996), becoming its Head in 1995. From 1996 until his death in 2001, he was the Head of the Chair of General Linguistics, as well as the director of the Language Institute, which was later restructured into the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics.
During Professor Kačić’s office as the Head of the Chair of Algebraic and Computational Linguistics, Marko Tadić (assistant professor 1998, associate professor 2004, full professor 2009) joined the Department in 1998. Professor Tadić focused his interest on algebraic and computational linguistics in particular, becoming the Head of the Chair of Algebraic and Computational Linguistics in 2001. He was the Head of the Department of Linguistics from 2003 to 2007. Professor Tadić is renowned as the principal researcher on a number of projects, among which are: Croatian Cooperation in the ELAN Project (1999-2000), Computational Processing of the Croatian Language (2000-2001), Croatian-Slovene Parallel Corpus (2000-2001), Development of Croatian Language Resources (2002-2006), Croatian Language Resources and Their Annotation (2007-2012); Computational Linguistic Models and Language Technologies for Croatian (2007-2012).
In 1998, the Department was joined by Ida Raffaelli (research assistant 1998, assistant professor 2002, associate professor 2009, full professor 2014) Professor Raffaelli dedicated her efforts to the domain of cognitive linguistics and semantics. Since 2005, she is the editor-in-chief of the leading Croatian linguistics journal “Suvremena lingvistika”, which was launched in the 1960-ies by the pioneers of the modern linguistic research in Croatia (Filipović, László, Katičić, Bujas, Vinja and others), who were members of the Zagreb Linguistic Circle. Professor Raffaelli is an associate in a number of international and Croatian projects. As of 2007, she is the vice-president of the Croatian Philological Society. She was the Head of the Department from 2009 to 2011.
In 2000, Mislava Bertoša (research assistant 2003, senior research assistant 2007, assistant professor 2009, associate professor 2014) joined the Department in the status of junior research assistant, within the research projects headed by Professors Kačić and Andrijašević, respectively. Professor Bertoša has focused her interest on the domains of onomastics, sociosemiotics and semiology, discourse analysis, issues of language and identity, as well as language and gender. She has participated in several Croatian and international projects. Since 2008, she is the executive editor of the journal “Suvremena lingvistika”. Since 2012, she is the Head of the Chair of Semiology.
In 2000, after assuming the principal researcher position for the project “Computational Processing of the Croatian Language”, Marko Tadić formally joined the Department of Linguistics, also transferring all research assistants working on the said project from the Institute of Linguistics to the Department of Linguistics: Božo Bekavac, Sanja Fulgosi, Krešimir Šojat and Ivana Simeon.
Božo Bekavac (research assistant 2001, senior research assistant 2005, assistant professor 2007). Professor Bekavac’s scientific interests are interdisciplinary (linguistics and information science), focusing on investigation of digitalized linguistic corpora and computational tools for the processing of Croatian. Professor Bekavac has participated and continues to participate in several international scientific projects. He was the Head of the Department from 2011 to 2013.
Krešimir Šojat (research assistant 2002, assistant professor 2008). Professor Šojat’s interests focus on the domains of algebraic linguistics, morphology and dependency grammar, and he is an associate in several scientific projects.
Ivana Simeon (research assistant 2002, senior research assistant 2009) has focused her interests primarily on the application of computational linguistics, parallel corpora processing and machine (aided) translation. Since 2007, she is an associate of the project Croatian Language Resources and Their Annotation.
In 2004, Mate Kapović (research assistant 2004, assistant professor 2010, associate professor 2014) joined the Department as a research fellow within Professor Matasović’s project. Professor Kapović’s scientific interests include comparative and historical Indo-European phonology and morphology, accentology, sociolinguistics, dialectology and language policy. In 2005, Kapović was the initiator of the annual international conference International Workshop on Balto-Slavic Accentology (IWoBA).
In 2007, Jana Willer Gold (research assistant 2007, senior research assistant 2013) joined the Chair of General Linguistics as a research fellow-research assistant. Jana Willer Gold focuses on the interdisciplinary syntax and pragmatics domain, information structure processing and nominalization domain. She was the head of the Zagreb Linguistic Circle (2011/12) and the co-organizer of the Thursday Linguistic Club and the Linguistic Laboratory within the Department of Linguistics.
Research fellow Tena Gnjatović (research assistant 2008) joined the Department in 2008. Her main areas of interest are syntax and typology. She participated in the project Evolution of Semantic Systems at the Max Planck Institute. She is a co-organizer of the Thursday Linguistic Club.
In 2009, the Department took on two new members – research fellow-research assistant Daniela Katunar and research fellow-research assistant Bojan Glavašević. Daniela Katunar’s (research assistant 2009, PhD 2015) scientific interests focus on the domains of cognitive linguistics, construction grammar, corpus linguistics and lexical semantics, while Bojan Glavašević (research assistant 2009) focuses on sociolinguistic topics. Daniela Katunar is also a co-organizer of the Thursday Linguistic Club.
Martina Sekulić has worked for the Department since 2008 as an external associate, and since 2012 as a research assistant (external associate 2008, research assistant 2012, PhD 2015). She is co-organizer of the Linguistic Laboratory at the Department of Linguistics, and her areas of interest include psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics.
In September 2012, Jana Jurčević (research assistant 2012) joined the Department as a research assistant, followed by Davor Krsnik (research assistant 2012) in November.
By 1990, the Department of Linguistics published twelve issues of the linguistic journal “SOL”, as well as nine books as the journal’s publications.
Jacinta Rogić was the Department’s secretary until 1996, and in 1997 Stella Mijatović took over this position.
The Department’s Library was headed by Klara Gönc Moačanin, M.A. until 1996, and after that by Sanja Bezlaj-Ilijić.