Professor Ranko Bugarski was born on 1 January 1933 in Sarajevo (Former Yugoslavia), where he completed his secondary education and graduated in English and German languages and literatures at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo (1957). After working for three years as a teacher of English at the Institute of Foreign Languages in his hometown, he was appointed by the Department of English, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade as a teaching assistant (1961), to progress through the academic hierarchy to the rank of Professor of English (1980). In 1988 he also became Professor of General Linguistics at the same institution, in a new Department which he was instrumental in setting up. He retired in 2000 but remained academically active in different ways for many years thereafter.
He did postgraduate research at University College London with Professor Randolph Quirk as his adviser (1962/63) and was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, New York on a Ford Foundation scholarship (1966/67). After obtaining his Ph.D. degree from the University of Belgrade (1969) by defending a dissertation on a subsystem of English prepositions, he spent the academic year 1969/70 as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Chicago and a Visiting Professor of Linguistics at Northeastern Illinois State College, Chicago. In addition to courses or individual lectures at nearly all the universities of the former Yugoslavia, he was a guest lecturer at 24 other universities in Europe, the USA and Australia (London, Oxford, Paris-Sorbonne, Leiden, Kraków, Vienna, Munich, Barcelona, New York-Columbia, California-Berkeley, Chicago, Cornell, Sydney-Macquarie, Melbourne-Monash, etc.).
As a researcher, lecturer and author he has been active in the fields of English and general linguistics, contrastive and applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, language policy and planning, language in relation to identity, culture, ethnicity and nationalism, language attitudes, written language and literacy, terminology and bibliography, translation theory, history of linguistics, the status of Serbo-Croatian, political manipulations of language and wartime hate speech, current Serbian slang, etc. He is the author of twenty-six books, ten edited volumes, and scores of articles, book chapters and reviews in international journals, congress proceedings and other collective volumes, mostly in English or Serbo-Croatian but some in German, French, Spanish and several other languages. Among his noted contributions are his early research on English prepositions, acknowledged as a thematic and methodological precursor of cognitive linguistics, his notion of graphic relativity as an extension of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity, his role in defining and organising applied linguistics as an academic discipline in Yugoslavia and internationally, the conception of Serbo-Croatian as one polycentric standard language linguistically but several national languages politically, and his recent pioneering work on lexical blends in Serbian.
He has participated in several dozen Yugoslav, European and world congresses, symposia and other conferences, often also as an organiser or invited plenary speaker. He was the academic organiser of two international conferences at the University of London and editor (with Celia Hawkesworth) of their proceedings: Language Planning in Yugoslavia (Columbus, OH: Slavica, 1992. Pp. 233. ISBN 0-89357-232-2) and Language in the Former Yugoslav Lands (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2004. Pp. 325. ISBN 0-89357-298-5). He has edited scholarly journals and, as translator and editor, introduced to the Yugoslav public the works of some leading linguists (Chomsky, Sapir, Whorf) and modern linguistic disciplines (transformational-generative grammar, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics). At the same time, he has kept international audiences informed about the changing language situation in Yugoslavia and its successor states, with a special focus on the official dissolution of Serbo-Croatian. He was a signatory and promoter of the Declaration on the Common Language of the Bosniaks, Croats, Montenegrins and Serbs (2017).
Professor Bugarski was a co-founder and first president of the Yugoslav Association of Applied Linguistics. Other positions include: Vice President, Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA); President (later Honorary member), Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); member,Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea (Salzburg); Council of Europe Expert on Regional or Minority Languages (Strasbourg); corresponding member, Research Centre on Multilingualism (Brussels); member, Linguistic Society of America (LSA); national correspondent, Soziolinguistische Bibliographie Europäischer Länder, in the yearbook Sociolinguistica (Tübingen/Berlin/NewYork); advisory board member, the journals Multilingua (Berlin/NewYork) and Historiographia Linguistica, with the associated book series Studies in the History of Linguistics (Amsterdam/Philadelphia); Yugoslav Board member, European Society for the Study of English (ESSE); Honorary President, English-Speaking Union of Serbia; Honorary President, Applied Linguistics Association of Serbia; Honorary member, Serbian Association for the Study of English.
He has been honoured with four festschrifts: (1) History and Perspectives of Language Study: Papers in Honor of Ranko Bugarski (eds O.Mišeska Tomić, M.Radovanović), Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2000. Pp. 305. ISBN 90-272-3692-5; (2) Jezik, društvo, saznanje – Profesoru Ranku Bugarskom od njegovih studenata [Language, Society, Cognition: For Professor Ranko Bugarski from his Students] (eds D.Klikovac, K.Rasulić), Beograd: Filološki fakultet, 2003. pp. 300. ISBN 86-80267-67-8; (3) Jezik u upotrebi – primenjena lingvistika u čast Ranku Bugarskom/Language in Use: Applied Linguistics in Honour of Ranko Bugarski (ed. V.Vasić), Novi Sad/Beograd: Društvo za primenjenu lingvistiku Srbije, etc., 2011. Pp. 382. ISBN 978-86-6065-068-1 (bilingual Serbian/Croatian and English volume); (4) Belgrade English Language and Literature Studies, 10: Special issue in honour of Ranko Bugarski on the occasion of his 85th birthday (eds K.Rasulić, I.Trbojević Milošević). Belgrade: Faculty of Philology. 2018. Pp. 348. ISSN 1821-3138.
His books Jezik i lingvistika (1972) and Jezik u društvu (1986) have won annual prizes, and in 2011 he was awarded the title “Vitez poziva” [Knight of his calling] by the NGO League of Experts-LEX.
Most of the first twelve originally published by different publishing houses, thereafter all brought together in the edition of Ranko Bugarski’s Selected Works (Belgrade: Čigoja štampa/XX vek, 1996–1997):
- Predlozi over, under, above, below i beneath u savremenom engleskom jeziku [The prepositions over, under, above, below and beneath in contemporary English] (1969, 2nd ed. 1996). Pp. vi+331. ID=47287308. /Ph.D. dissertation, with an English summary/.
- Jezik i lingvistika [Language and linguistics] (1972, 4th ed. 2003). Pp. 301. ID=49205772.
- Lingvistika o čoveku [Linguistics on man] (1975, 3rd ed. 1996). Pp. 218. ID=48322828.
- Jezik u društvu [Language in society] (1986, 3rd ed. 2004). Pp. 261. ID=49207052.
- Lingvistika u primeni [Linguistics in application] (1986, 3rd ed. 2007). Pp. 216. ID=48473612.
- Uvod u opštu lingvistiku [Introduction to general linguistics] (1989, 8th ed. 2013). Pp. 269. ID=48323084.
- Ka jedinstvu lingvistike [Towards unity in linguistics] (1997). Pp. 284. ID=56979468.
- Jezik u kontekstu [Language in context] (1997). Pp. 298. ID=57560588.
- Jezici [Languages] (1993, 6th ed. 2010). Pp. 144. ISBN 978-86-7558-757-6. /Macedonian translation, Skopje, 2001/.
- Pismo [Writing] (1996, 3rd ed. 2010). Pp. 190. ISBN 978-86-7558-641-8. /Macedonian translation, Skopje, 2001/.
- Jezik od mira do rata [Language from peace to war] (1994, 3rd ed. 1997). Pp. 142. ID=52929292. /Greek translation, Athens, 2011/.
- Jezik u društvenoj krizi [Language in a social crisis] (1997). Pp. 168. ID=57789708.
This set was followed by fourteen further books, all except the last three on the list published by Biblioteka XX vek of Belgrade:
- Lica jezika – sociolingvističke teme [Facets of language: Sociolinguistic topics] (2001, 2nd ed. 2002). Pp. 246. ISBN 86-81493-80-9.
- Nova lica jezika – sociolingvističke teme [New facets of language: Sociolinguistic topics] (2002, 2nd ed. 2009). Pp. 262. ISBN 978-86-7562-014-3.
- Žargon – lingvistička studija [Slang: A linguistic study] (2003; 2nd enlarged ed. 2006). Pp. 295. ISBN 86-7562-056-X.
- Jezik i kultura [Language and culture] (2005). Pp. 288. ISBN 86-7562-040-3.
- Evropa u jeziku [Europe in language] (2009). Pp. 246. ISBN 978-86-7562-085-3.
- Jezik i identitet [Language and identity] (2010). Pp. 279. ISBN 978-86-7562-093-8.
- Portret jednog jezika [Portrait of a language] (2012). Pp. 278. ISBN 978-86-7562-103-4.
- Sarmagedon u Mesopotamaniji – leksičke skrivalice [Sarmageddon in Mesopotamania: Lexical blends] (2013). Pp. 207. ISBN 978-86-7562-110-2.
- Putopis po sećanju [A mental travelogue] (2014). Pp. 271. ISBN 978-86-7562-124-9. 2nd enlarged ed. (2019). Pp. 279. ISBN 976-86-7562-146-1.
- Jezici u potkrovlju [Languages in the attic] (2016), Pp. 240. ISBN 978-86-7562-130-0.
- Govorite li zajednički?Kako je nastala i kako je primljena Deklaracija o zajedničkom jeziku [Do you speak Common? The origin and reception of the Declaration on the common language] (2018). Pp. 206. ISBN 978-86-7562-138-6.
- Selektivna sociolingvistička bibliografija: SFRJ/SRJ-SCG/Srbija, 1967–2007 [Selective sociolinguistic bibliography of Yugoslavia/Serbia, 1967–2007] (2009). Beograd: Narodna biblioteka Srbije. Pp. 124. ISBN 978-86-7035-203-2. 2nd enlarged ed., 1967-2014 (2015). Zemun: MostArt. Pp. 139. ISBN 978-86-84149-85-7.
- Srpske slivenice: monografija sa rečnikom [Serbian lexical blends: A monograph and dictionary] (2019). Novi Sad: Akademska knjiga. Pp. 255. ISBN 978-86-6263-257-9.
- Lingvistički memoari [Linguistic memoirs] (2020). Novi Sad: Akademska knjiga. Pp. 294. ISBN 978-86-6263-302-6.
The four festschrifts all contain information on the author’s life and work. The best single source, however, is the booklet accompanying his Selected Works, with a detailed biographical sketch and a full bibliography of over 550 items in its current 9th edition: Ranko Bugarski, Bibliografija uz Sabrana dela (deveto, dopunjeno izdanje), Beograd: Čigoja štampa/XX vek, 2018, pp. 73.