Ronelle Alexander, Distinguished Professor Emerita


Ph.D. Harvard University (Slavic Languages and Literatures).

Teaching: South Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Macedonian, BCS [Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian]); literatures of the former Yugoslavia; Yugoslav cultural history; South Slavic linguistics; Balkan folkore; East Slavic folklore. Recent graduate seminars include Balkan linguistics, South Slavic sociolinguistics, Slavic folklore theory.

Research interests: Balkan Slavic (especially Bulgarian) dialectology; language and ethnicity in the Balkans; the language of South Slavic oral epic; Balkan linguistics and language contact.

Current projects: (1) “Bulgarian Dialectology as Living Tradition”, a compendium of field recordings made over two decades keyed for analysis both of linguistic features and cultural content; (2) Continuing analysis of recordings made in the 1930s of South Slavic epic singers, with the goal of contrasting spoken language and sung language; (3) Continuing analysis of the language situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Selected publications:


  • What Is Second Position Anyway? BCS Clitics Revisited (A Linguist’s Linguist, Studies in South Slavic Linguistics, ed. S. Franks et al.). 2009.
  • Rhythmic Structure Constituents and Clitic Placement in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (American Contributions to the XIV International Congress of Slavists), 2008.
  • Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: A Grammar with Sociolinguistic Commentary. 2006.
  • Serbo-Croatian Dialectology Revisited (Harvard Ukrainian Studies 28). 2006.
  • Dialectology (Slavic Linguistics 2000: The Future of Slavic Linguistics in America). 2006
  • Revitalizing Bulgarian Dialectology, ed. UCIAS Digital publications, 2004.
  • “The Scope of Double Accent” (in Revitalizing Bulgarian Dialectology).
  • “Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, One Language or Three?” International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics 44-45 (2002-03).
  • “Bridging the Descriptive Chasm, the Bulgarian Generalized Past”. In Of All the Slavs my Favorites…, ed. H. Aronson and V. Friedman (2001).
  • In Honor of Diversity, the Linguistic Riches of the Balkans. OSU Slavic Department, 2000.
  • “Tracking Sprachbund Boundaries, Word Order in the Balkans”. Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics 28 (2000).
  • Intensive Bulgarian, A Textbook and Reference Grammar (2 vols.), 2000.
  • “The Balkanization of Wackernagel’s Law. Indiana Slavic Studies 7 (1995).
  • “”Remarks on the Evolution of South Slavic Prosodic Systems.” American Contributions to the Eleventh International Congress of Slavists, ed. A. Timberlake, v. I, 1993.
  • “Directions of Morphophonemic Change in Balkan Slavic, the Accentuation of the Present Tense.” In American Contributions to the Ninth International Congress of Slavists. Slavica, 1983.
  • “Torlak Accentuation. Slavistische Beitraege 94. Munich: Otto Sagner, 1975.


  • Vasko Popa and the Stargazer’s Legacy. (Puzzles of Language, ed. E. Taylan & B. Rona). 2011.
  • Vasko Popa’s Opus (Twentieth Century Literary Criticism 167). 2006.
  • Narrative Voice and Listener’s Choice in the Prose of Ivo Andric (Ivo Andric Revisited, ed. W. Vucinich). 1996.
  • The ‘Tension of Essences’ in South Slavic Epic. (O Rus! Studia litteraria slavica in honorem Hugh McLean, ed. S. Karlinsky et al.). 1995.
  • The Poetics of Vuk Karadižic’s Kosovo Songs: An Analysis of Kosovka Djevojka (Kosovo, Legacy of a Medieval Battle, ed. T. Emmert). 1991.
  • Poetika Njegoševa jezika i jezik njegove poezije [The Poetry of Njegoš’s Language and the Language of his Poetry] (Naucni sastanak slavista u Vukove dane 18/2). 1990.
  • The Structure of Vasko Popa’s Poetry (UCLA Slavic Studies 14). 1985.