University of Wisconsin Press

Languages and Folklore of Upper Midwest

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

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Languages and Folklore of Upper Midwest

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The Tamburitza Tradition

From the Balkans to the American Midwest

Richard March

The Tamburitza Tradition is a lively and well-illustrated comprehensive introduction to a Balkan folk music that now also thrives in communities throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Tamburitza features acoustic stringed instruments, ranging in size from tamburas as small as a ukulele to ones as large as a bass viol.
            Folklorist Richard March documents the centuries-old origins and development of the tradition, including its intertwining with nationalist and ethnic symbolism. The music survived the complex politics of nineteenth-century Europe but remains a point of contention today. In Croatia, tamburitza is strongly associated with national identity and supported by an artistic and educational infrastructure. Serbia is proud of its outstanding performers and composers who have influenced tamburitza bands on four continents. In the United States, tamburitza was brought by Balkan immigrants in the nineteenth century and has become a flourishing American ethnic music with its own set of representational politics.
            Combining historical research with in-depth interviews and extensive participant-observer description, The Tamburitza Tradition reveals a dynamic and expressive music tradition on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, illuminating the cultures and societies from which it has emerged.

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Wisconsin Talk

Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State

Edited by Thomas Purnell, Eric Raimy, and Joseph Salmons

Wisconsin is one of the most linguistically rich places in North America. It has the greatest diversity of American Indian languages east of the Mississippi, including Ojibwe and Menominee from the Algonquian language family, Ho-Chunk from the Siouan family, and Oneida from the Iroquoian family. French place names dot the state's map. German, Norwegian, and Polish—the languages of immigrants in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—are still spoken by tens of thousands of people, and the influx of new immigrants speaking Spanish, Hmong, and Somali continues to enrich the state's cultural landscape. These languages and others (Walloon, Cornish, Finnish, Czech, and more) have shaped the kinds of English spoken around the state. Within Wisconsin's borders are found three different major dialects of American English, and despite the influences of mass media and popular culture, they are not merging—they are dramatically diverging.
    An engaging survey for both general readers and language scholars, Wisconsin Talk brings together perspectives from linguistics, history, cultural studies, and geography to illuminate why language matters in our everyday lives. The authors highlight such topics as:
• words distinctive to the state
• how recent and earlier immigrants have negotiated cultural and linguistic challenges
• the diversity of bilingual speakers that enriches our communities
• how maps can convey the stories of language
• the relation of Wisconsin's Indian languages to language loss worldwide.

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