The current situation of the Burgenland Croatian minority and its language is not really optimal, like in other minorities; the amount of active speakers gets less and less. The Austrian society does not really see the advantages and importance of an additional language; neither do a lot of members of the Burgenland Croats themselves.
Until kindergarten I did not speak German at all, and even later on during nursery and primary school my relatives and parents refused to speak German to me – so I did not unlearn my mother tongue, as most of my childhood friends did.
As a child and in my early teenage years, I was not feeling comfortable speaking my mother tongue in public. People were looking at us speaking Croatian and at that time it was kind of embarrassing for me, and I was not self-confident enough to really stand up for my identity, culture and language. Thank god, with time this changed. By becoming a member of our local Tamburica-group I started seeing my bilingualism as a big advantage and chance. With time I began to advocate more and more for my mother tongue and its preservation and I also started to be an active member of the HAK.
I am now proud of my identity and hope to make my contribution to change the current situation of my minority for the better.