Recent handbooks and dictionaries of the Croatian language, such as the
The validity of the classical four–accent system in contemporary usage was called into question by Magner and Matejka (1971), who argued that only the place of accent and length in accented syllables could be considered distinctive for the standard language throughout the former Yugoslavia as a whole. However, their methodology and results were criticized by Browne (1972) and Lehiste and Ivic (1986), among others. In their own research, Lehiste and Ivic concluded that rising and falling accents and quantitative differences were indeed used distinctively, with some degree of variation, but it should be noted that their acoustic analysis was based primarily on the speech of Ivic himself, and out of their 12 additional subjects, 9 were Serbian, while the remaining 3 western stokavian speakers had already lived in Novi Sad for several years at the time when the recordings were made. Recent studies by Skaric have suggested that Croatian speakers generally do not distinguish rising and falling accents on short vowels, at least, and that the occurrence of falling accents in non–initial syllables is widely accepted. In fact, his test subjects often identified examples pronounced with the normative neo–stokavian accentuation as being characteristically Serbian rather than Croatian (Skaric 2001).
This paper will examine current scholarly debates about the accentual
norm of contemporary standard Croatian that have appeared in the pages