Professor Robert David Greenberg

BA Sarah Lawrence College; MA, PhD Yale University


I am currently serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and a Professor of Linguistics.  I previously was a Dean and Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and for ten years a Professor (adjunct) in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. My PhD is from Yale University in 1991, and I have held teaching positions at Yale, Georgetown, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I am a specialist in South Slavic languages and linguistics, and have worked primarily on sociolinguistic issues in the former Yugoslavia. I have explored issues of language, nationalism, and ethnic identity both in Tito's Yugoslavia and in the years following Yugoslavia's breakup. My publications include numerous books and articles on South Slavic and Balkan Slavic topics. My book, Language and Identity in the Balkans (Oxford University Press, 2004, second revised and expanded edition, 2008), received an award in 2005 for the best book in Slavic Linguistics from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. In 2010 I was the recipient of the William Clyde DeVane medal for excellence in teaching and scholarship at Yale University.

Research | Current

My current research projects focus on the language policies in the Yugoslav successor states, especially Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. I have also interested in how language issues are used to inflame ethnic and political tensions. In this regard, I have recently been comparing and contrasting the situation in contemporary Ukraine with that in the former Yugoslavia in the period leading up to including the wars of the 1990s. 

Postgraduate supervision

I am an experienced supervisor of post-graduate students. My research has also been informed by my teaching on language policy issues from diverse regions of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia. I welcome enquiries from potential post-graduate broadly interested in sociolinguistics, language as a marker of ethnicity or language and politics. I also can supervise students interested in phonology, morphology, morpho-syntax and dialectology. 


William Clyde DeVane Medal (2010), City University of New York Diversity Award (2010), best book in Slavic Linguistics from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (2005), Fulbright Senior Scholar to Macedonia (2001), Research Fellow Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1999).

Areas of expertise

Sociolinguistics, Language Policies, Language and Nationalism, Slavic Linguistics, Balkan Studies

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2015). The Language Situation for the Bosniaks on Both Sides of the Serbian/Montenegrin Border. In T. Kamusella, M. Nomachi, C. Gibson (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Slavic Languages, Identities and Borders (pp. 330-346). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Greenberg, R., & Hristova, M. (2015). Language and Conflict: Minority Rights in Contemporary Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia. Balkanistica, 28, 201-224.
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2013). Language, Religion, and Nationalism: The Case of the Former Serbo-Croatian. In D. Mueller, M. Wingender (Eds.) Typen slavischer Standardsprachen: Theoretische, methodische und empirische Zugaenge (pp. 217-231). Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag.
  • Greenberg, R. D., & Nomachi, M. (Eds.) (2012). Slavia Islamica: Language, Religion and Identity. Sapporo, Japan: Slavic Research Center of Hokkaido University.
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2010). Sociolinguistics in the Balkans. In M. J. Ball (Ed.) Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World (pp. 362-374). Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2009). Dialects, Migrations, and Ethnic Rivalries: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, 17 (1-2), 193-216. 10.1353/jsl.0.0022
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2008). Bosnian or Bosniac: Aspects of a Contemporary Slavic Language Question. In H. Goldblatt, Dell'Agata G, K. Stanchev, G. Ziffer (Eds.) Slavia orthodoxa and Slavia romana: Essays Presented to Riccardo Picchio by his Students on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday, September 7, 2003 (pp. 149-161). New Haven, Connecticut, USA: MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale. Related URL.
  • Greenberg, R. D. (2008). Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration (Updated). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Contact details

Primary office location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level 1, Room 104
New Zealand