Sanja Šubarić | Word meaning and the meaning content of the collective names of the type Montenegrin

Postgraduate School ZRC SAZU invites you to a public lecture by dr. Sanja Šubarić:


Word meaning and the meaning content of the collective names of the type Montenegrin.


The lecture in English language will be on Tuesday, 24th of May 2022, at 11. A.M. at Mala Dvorana ZRC SAZU, Novi trg 4, 2nd floor, Ljubljana.


In this presentation we will first explain the notion of meaning, and then draw attention to the importance of reflecting on the lexicographic model for defining the meaning of lexemes representing signifiers of ethnic and civic identity.


With a concrete example, here we want to emphasize the fact that in the case of certain lexemes it is not easy to determine their semantic content. That is the case with ethnonyms and demonyms, that is, lexemes naming a given ethnic group (a group of people)/residents of a particular place or country. It is certain that the terms ethnonym and denonym do not have equal status in onomastic and derivational systems, and that is also the case with lexicographic theories within different languages. Their uneven treatment has been confirmed in the available dictionaries of English, Russian and French, but also in the dictionaries of Serbo-Croatian, namely Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian. Keeping in mind terminological specificities of internationalisms demonym and ethnonym, insufficiently elaborated in the linguistic literature, we will also focus on the semantic content of the concepts narod and stanovnik (people and resident).


A semantic examination of the lexemes narod (people) and stanovnik (resident) also leads to the question – how to distinguish the name of people from the name of residents of the country since the members of people who have their country are mostly its residents, too?


The claim that a member of an ethnic group / group of people is the same as “a resident of the land (state)” is not realistic from the perspective of the demographic reality of multi-ethnic countries. In fact, the claim is denied by the fact that there are usually members of different ethnic groups / groups of people in one country, and also by the fact that certain ethnic groups / groups of people do not possess their own state.


Lexicographic review has shown that there is not the established model for defining concrete names, which would be a reflection of what is recognized as the ideal type of identity in the sociological literature – as an identity that includes ethnic-cultural and territorial-political/civic elements? Certainly, the model for defining these names cannot be solely a linguist’s task – a good solution requires an interdisciplinary approach. In relation to that, we will emphasize the following: it is necessary that the sociological discernment of the concept of identity has its application in lexicography, which means that the collective names as Montenegrin, Albanian, Croate, Slovene…, have to be treated as ethnonyms and as demonyms in lexicography, that is, as categories that represent the ethnic identity of the referent, but also as categories that represent a civic, that is, territorial identity of the referent.



Sanja Šubarić graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Nikšić, at the Department of Serbo-Croatian Language and Yugoslav literary. She acquired Master Degree in Linguistic Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy in Nikšić; the degree of Doctor of Philology she acquired at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade defending the thesis on Language in documents of the Montenegrin Senate. At the Faculty of Philology, she teaches Contemporary Serbian language (Standardization and Spelling), Contemporary Serbian language (Phonetics and Phonology), Discourse Analysis and Introduction to Linguistics.


She works on the synchronic and diachronic studies of language at different levels, as well as interdisciplinary topics in the field of linguistics. Author of several articles published in national and international journals and proceedings. Member of the Association for Applied Linguistics of Montenegro. She has participated in several research projects of national importance – The study of Montenegrin written literary-linguistic expressions of the second half of the 19th century (the Ministry of Education and Science and the University of Montenegro), Linguistic explorations (Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts), The study of written linguistic expression in Montenegro (Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts). For two years now she has been devoted to lexicographic work within Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts.


Kindly invited!