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SERBIAN (srpski jezik)

Serbian is the official language of the Republic of Serbia, and it is also spoken by minorities living in other countries such as Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Along with Bosnian, Croatian, Slovene, and Montenegrin, Serbian belongs to the western group of the South Slavic Languages. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbian was included (as well as Bosnian and Croatian) in a language called "Serbo-Croatian." This is a language rich in loan words not only from other European languages but also from Turkish, Arabic, and Persian. The most basic division within Serbo-Croatian is based on three main dialects, whose names derive from the word used for "what" in each dialect (što, ča and kaj): štokavian, čakavian and kajkavian. Serbian, like Bosnian and Montenegrin, uses the štokavian.
After Yugoslavia split up into separate and independent states, the Serbo-Croatian language was replaced by three languages known as Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian (Montenegrin would join this group after Montenegro's proclamation of independence).

Even though Serbo-Croatian has always had a common core—a basic system with several different local implementations—there are three main features that distinguish Serbian from the others:

  1. The alphabet: Serbian uses both the Cyrillic and the Latin alphabets freely.
  2. Pronunciation: Standard Serbian uses the "ekavian" pronunciation, which is spoken and written as "e." E.g: "mleko" (milk) instead of "mlijeko."
  3. Vocabulary: There are vocabulary items clearly marked as belonging to Serbian.

About Serbian

Jezikoslovlje (Faculty of Philosophy in Osijek)
A Handbook of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, Wayles Brown and Theresa Alt, SEELRC 2004

Kovačić, Marko (December 2005). "Serbian and Croatian: One language or languages?"

Learn Serbian online

Useful phrases

Online Serbian-English/English-Serbian dictionary




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