Several years ago I embarked on discussions with Iliyana Krapova of the University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, about the possibility of producing a volume of Balkanistica which showcased the scholarship of Balkan and South Slavic linguists and linguists from the Balkans who worked in formal linguistics, essentially "really modern Chomsky stuff." We put our heads together with that of her colleague, Mila Dimitrova-Vulchanova of the University of Trondheim, Norway, and, having enlisted the help of Catherine Rudin of Wayne State University here in the States, the four of us set about the arduous, and what became a long, two-year, process of editing some twenty papers from the Third Conference on Formal Approaches to South Slavic and Balkan Languages, held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria September 24-26, 1999. I determined last year that in 2002, this year, the time would be right for the present volume to appear. Next year, we will return to a volume of independently submitted manuscripts in a non-thematic volume.
I must confess that I have learned a great deal from working with my three new colleagues in formal linguistics. Above all, I would say I have found that both formal and (for lack of a better word, I¹ll call them) traditional linguists have a lot in common and can learn from each other. While formal linguists take quite a different approach to language analysis, both they and more traditional linguists operate with the same data and have the same goals -- the accurate and economical description of linguistic phenomena.
As a more traditional linguist, I found myself particularly interested in the analyses of Balkan and South Slavic syntactic phenomena presented in this volume, which comprise the majority of the articles herein: clitic placement and ordering, as well as pronominal reduplication in Bulgarian, Macedonian and Romanian (Avram and Coene, Caink, Janewa) and clausal structure and complementizer placement in Bulgarian, Romanian and Serbian/Croatian (Boskovic, Cornilescu, Ionescu, Krapova and Karastaneva, Venkova). Also interesting are the formal examinations of the interface of Serbian/Croatian syntax and phonology (Boskovic and Franks), Balkan, including Albanian, syntax and morphology (Boskovic, Dimitrova-Vulchanova, Trommer), and Bulgarian syntax and pragmatics (Derzhanski, Stateva and Stepanov, Venkova).
Another dominant these of the volume involves verbs. Less formal in their analyses yet no less inviting to both the formal and traditional linguist are the semantic analyses of Bulgarian prefixed verbs offered by Guentchéva and Bulgarian se verbs given by Choroleeva. In another article, Crainiceanu presents an analysis of the past temporal/aspectal system of Romanian, while Lindstedt, in another piece, looks at what might be the prototypical Balkan verbal system itself.
A final grouping of papers provides a finishing touch to the volume and gives to this collaborative effort an eclectic tone. Hauge contributes a lexical/pragmatic edge with his article on the borrowing into Bulgarian of pragmatic particles from Turkish; Boskovic and Franks offer additional remarks on animacy, definiteness and case marking in Serbian/Croatian; and Cornilescu provides some historical suggestions for the evolution of Romanian word order.
All in all, this volume is a worthy tribute to a linguistic approach -- formalism -- and the scholars who study language this way. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work on these papers, with Mila, Iliyana and Catherine, and it is my sincere hope that this collection of articles somehow will serve as a rallying point for all kinds of linguists in the continuing quest to understand the languages of the Balkan peninsula -- and indeed -- all languages of the world.
Donald L. Dyer, Publisher and Co-Editor
March 1, 2002, Oxford, Mississippi