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Serbian (, ) is the
standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard is an established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task. It is usually a formal document that establishes un ...
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
of the
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches ...
language mainly used by
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
. It is the official and national language of
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...

Serbia
, one of the three official languages of
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
and co-official in
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...

Montenegro
and
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
. It is a recognized minority language in
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subr ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity ...

Slovakia
, and the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It ...
. Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian,
Shtokavian Shtokavian or Štokavian (; sh, / , ) is the prestige dialect of the pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language and the basis of its Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin standards. It is a part of the South Slavic dialect continuum. Its ...

Shtokavian
(more specifically on the dialects of Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovina), which is also the basis of standard Croatian,
Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bosnia (region) or its inhabitants * Bosniaks, an ethnic group mainly inhabiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of three Ethnic gr ...
, and Montenegrin varieties and therefore the
Declaration on the Common Language The Declaration on the Common Language ( sh, Deklaracija o zajedničkom jeziku / Декларација о заједничком језику) was issued in 2017 by a group of intellectuals and NGOs from Croatia :* french: link=no, Répub ...
of Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs and Montenegrins was issued in 2017. The other dialect spoken by Serbs is
Torlakian Torlakian, or Torlak ( sh, / , ; bg, Торлашки, Torlashki; mk, Торлачки, Torlački), is a group of South Slavic dialects of southeastern Serbia Serbia (, ; sr, Србија, Srbija, ),, * cs, Srbsko, * ro, Serbia * ...
in southeastern Serbia, which is transitional to
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
and
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
. Serbian is practically the only European standard language whose speakers are fully functionally digraphic, using both
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created it based on
phonemic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...
principles. The Latin alphabet used for Serbian () was designed by the Croatian linguist
Ljudevit Gaj Ljudevit Gaj (; born Ludwig Gay; 8 August 1809 – 20 April 1872) was a Croatian Linguistics, linguist, politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the central figures of the pan-Slavist Illyrian Movement. Biography Origin He was born in K ...

Ljudevit Gaj
in the 1830s based on the Czech system with a one-to-one grapheme-phoneme correlation between the Cyrillic and Latin orthographies, resulting in a parallel system.


Classification

Serbian is a standardized variety of
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches ...
, a
Slavic language The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...
(
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
), of the South Slavic subgroup. Other standardized forms of Serbo-Croatian are
Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bosnia (region) or its inhabitants * Bosniaks, an ethnic group mainly inhabiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of three Ethnic gr ...
,
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
, and Montenegrin. "An examination of all the major 'levels' of language shows that BCS is clearly a single language with a single grammatical system." It has lower intelligibility with the Eastern South Slavic languages
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
and
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
, than with
Slovene Slovene or Slovenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Slovenia, a country in Central Europe * Slovene language, a South Slavic language mainly spoken in Slovenia * Slovenes, an ethno-linguistic group mainly living in Slovenia * Sla ...
(Slovene is part of the Western South Slavic subgroup, but there are still significant differences in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation to the standardized forms of Serbo-Croatian, although it is closer to the
Kajkavian Kajkavian (Kajkavian noun: ''kajkavščina''; Shtokavian adjective: ''kajkavski'' , noun: ''kajkavica'' or ''kajkavština'' ) is a South Slavic languages, South Slavic regiolect or language spoken primarily by Croats in much of Central Croatia, G ...
and
Chakavian dialect Chakavian or Čakavian (, , , sh-Latn, čakavski proper name: or own name: ''čokovski, čakavski, čekavski'') is a South Slavic languages, South Slavic regiolect or language spoken primarily by Croats along the Adriatic coast, in the histor ...
s of Serbo-CroatianGreenberg, Marc L., ''A Short Reference Grammar of Slovene,'' (''LINCOM Studies in Slavic Linguistics'' 30). Munich: LINCOM, 2008. ).


Geographic distribution

Figures of speakers according to countries: *
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...

Serbia
: 6,540,699 (official language) *
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
: 1,086,027 (co-official language) *
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
: 568,240 *
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
: 350,000 *
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...

Montenegro
: 265,890 ("language in official use") *
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
: 186,000 *
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
: 172,874 *
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
: 120,000 *
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
: 106,498 *
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
: est. 70.000-100.000 (co-official language) *
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
: 72,690 *
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
: 55,114 *
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
: 52,879 (recognized minority language) *
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
: 38,964 *
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subr ...
: 24,773 (recognized minority language) *
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
: 22,518 (recognized minority language)


Status in Montenegro

Serbian was the official language of
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...

Montenegro
until October 2007 when the new
Constitution of Montenegro The current Constitution of Montenegro was ratified and adopted by the Constitutional Parliament of Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Црна Гора, Crna Gora, lit. "Black Mountain", ) is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or ...
replaced the Constitution of 1992. Amid opposition from pro-Serbian parties, Montenegrin was made the sole official language of the country, and Serbian was given the status of a language in official use along with
Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bosnia (region) or its inhabitants * Bosniaks, an ethnic group mainly inhabiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of three Ethnic gr ...
,
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...

Albanian
, and
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
. In the 2011 Montenegrin census, 42.88% declared Serbian to be their native language, while Montenegrin was declared by 36.97% of the population.


Differences between standard Serbian and standard Croatian and Bosnian


Writing system

Standard Serbian language uses both
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
(, ) and
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...
(, ). Serbian is a rare example of synchronic
digraphia A digraphic street sign in Gaboš, Croatia In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way languag ...
, a situation where all literate members of a society have two interchangeable writing systems available to them. Media and publishers typically select one alphabet or the other. In general, the alphabets are used interchangeably; except in the legal sphere, where Cyrillic is required, there is no context where one alphabet or another predominates. Although Serbian language authorities have recognized the official status of both scripts in contemporary Standard Serbian for more than half of a century now, due to historical reasons, the Cyrillic script was made the
official script An official script is a writing system that is specifically designated to be official in the constitutions or other applicable laws of jurisdiction (area), countries, states, and other jurisdictions. Akin to an official language, an official scrip ...
of Serbia's administration by the 2006
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
. The Latin script continues to be used in official contexts, although the government has indicated its desire to phase out this practice due to national sentiment. Although the Latin script has been used for centuries in Serbia, the Ministry of Culture believes that Cyrillic is the “identity script” of the Serbian nation. However, the law does not regulate scripts in
standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language ...
, or standard language itself by any means, leaving the choice of script as a matter of personal preference and to the free will in all aspects of life (publishing, media, trade and commerce, etc.), except in government paperwork production and in official written communication with state officials, which have to be in Cyrillic. It is generally considered a poor practice to mix Latin and Cyrillic in the same text, except for quotations and some abbreviations (i.e. measurements). Sometimes it is done in marketing materials like logos to imply political pluralism or “old meets new”, although this is rare.


Usage

To most Serbians, the Latin script tends to imply a cosmopolitan or neutral attitude, while Cyrillic appeals to a more traditional or vintage sensibility. Latin is associated with business, trade, and modernity, while Cyrillic may be considered to imply authority/officiality, conservative, national, and traditional. In media, the public broadcaster,
Radio Television of Serbia Radio Television of Serbia ( sr, Radio-televizija Srbije, italics=yes, sr-Cyrl, Радио-телевизија Србије; abbr. RTS/PTC) is Serbia's public broadcasting, public broadcaster. It broadcasts and produces news, drama, and sports ...
, predominantly uses the Cyrillic script whereas the privately run broadcasters, like
RTV Pink Pink is a privately owned, national radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. In terrestrial radio broad ...
, predominantly use the Latin script. Newspapers can be found in both scripts. In the public sphere, with logos, outdoor signage and retail packaging, the Latin script predominates, although both scripts are commonly seen. The Serbian government has encouraged increasing the use of Cyrillic in these contexts. Larger signs, especially those put up by the government, will often feature both alphabets; if the sign has English on it, then usually only Cyrillic is used for the Serbian text. A survey from 2014 showed that 47% of the Serbian population favors the Latin alphabet whereas 36% favors the Cyrillic one. Latin script has become more and more popular in Serbia, as it is easier to input on phones and computers.


Alphabetic order

The sort order of the () alphabet: *Cyrillic order called (): А Б В Г Д Ђ Е Ж З И Ј К Л Љ М Н Њ О П Р С Т Ћ У Ф Х Ц Ч Џ Ш The sort order of the () alphabet: *Latin order called (): A B C Č Ć D Dž Đ E F G H I J K L Lj M N Nj O P R S Š T U V Z Ž


Grammar

Serbian is a highly inflected language, with grammatical morphology for nouns, pronouns and adjectives as well as verbs.


Nouns

Serbian nouns are classified into three
declension In linguistics, declension is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. The inflectional change of verbs is called Grammatical conjugation, conjugation. Declensions ...
al types, denoted largely by their
nominative case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as wel ...
endings as "-a" type, "-i" and "-e" type. Into each of these declensional types may fall nouns of any of three
genders Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, femininity and masculinity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gende ...
: masculine, feminine or neuter. Each noun may be inflected to represent the noun's
grammatical case Grammatical case is a term regarding a manner of categorizing s, s, s, s, and s according to their traditionally corresponding s within a given , , or . In some languages, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, s, participles, prepositions, numerals, art ...
, of which Serbian has seven: *
Nominative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
*
Genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
*
Dative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
*
Accusative The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase ...
*
Vocative In grammar, the vocative Grammatical case, case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a grammatical case which is used for a noun that identifies a person (animal, object, etc.) being addressed, or occasionally for the determiner (li ...
*
Instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocal The human voice consists of sound Voice production, made by a human being using the vocal tract, including Speech, talking, singing, ...
*
Locative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
Nouns are further inflected to represent the noun's
number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduct ...
, singular or plural.


Pronouns

Pronouns, when used, are inflected along the same case and number morphology as nouns. Serbian is a
pro-drop language A pro-drop language (from "pronoun-dropping") is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a ...
, meaning that pronouns may be omitted from a sentence when their meaning is easily inferred from the text. In cases where pronouns may be dropped, they may also be used to add emphasis. For example:


Adjectives

Adjectives in Serbian may be placed before or after the noun they modify, but must agree in number, gender and case with the modified noun.


Verbs

Serbian verbs are conjugated in four past forms—
perfect Perfect commonly refers to: * Perfection, a philosophical concept * Perfect (grammar), a grammatical category in certain languages Perfect may also refer to: Film * Perfect (1985 film), ''Perfect'' (1985 film), a romantic drama * Perfect (2018 ...
,
aorist Aorist (; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exam ...
,
imperfect The imperfect ( abbreviated ) is a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''hap ...
, and
pluperfect The pluperfect (shortening of plusquamperfect), usually called past perfect in English, is a type of verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''brin ...
—of which the last two have a very limited use (imperfect is still used in some dialects, but the majority of native Serbian speakers consider it archaic), one
future tense In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as w ...
(also known as the first future tense, as opposed to the second future tense or the future exact, which is considered a tense of the
conditional moodThe conditional mood (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; ...
by some contemporary linguists), and one
present tense The present tense (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; ...
. These are the tenses of the
indicative A realis mood (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for ...
mood. Apart from the indicative mood, there is also the
imperative mood The imperative mood is a grammatical mood In linguistics, grammatical mood is a Grammar, grammatical feature of verbs, used for signalling Modality (natural language), modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to ...
. The conditional mood has two more tenses: the first conditional (commonly used in conditional clauses, both for possible and impossible conditional clauses) and the second conditional (without use in the spoken language—it should be used for impossible conditional clauses). Serbian has active and passive
voice The human voice consists of sound Voice production, made by a human being using the vocal tract, including Speech, talking, singing, Laughter, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, humming or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a ...
. As for the non-finite verb forms, Serbian has one
infinitive Infinitive ( ) is a term for certain forms existing in many languages, most often used as s. As with many linguistic concepts, there is not a single definition applicable to all languages. The word is derived from '' odusinfinitivus'', a derivat ...
, two
adjectival participle In linguistics, a participle () is a nonfinite verb form that has some of the characteristics and functions of both verbs and adjectives. More narrowly, ''participle'' has been defined as "a word derived from a verb and used as an adjective, as in ...
s (the active and the passive), and two
adverbial participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
s (the present and the past).


Vocabulary

Most Serbian words are of native lexical stock, tracing back to the
Proto-Slavic language Proto-Slavic is the Attested language, unattested, linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of all the Slavic languages. It represents Slavic speech approximately from the 2nd millennium B.C. through the 6th century A.D. As with m ...
. There are many
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
s from different languages, reflecting cultural interaction throughout history. Notable loanwords were borrowed from Greek, Latin, Italian, Turkish, Hungarian, English, Russian, German, Czech and French.


Serbian literature

Serbian literature emerged in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, and included such works as ''Miroslavljevo jevanđelje'' (
Miroslav's Gospel Miroslav Gospel ( sr, Мирослављево Јеванђеље / ''Miroslavljevo Jevanđelje'', ) is a 362-page Serbs, Serbian illuminated manuscript Gospel Book on parchment with very rich decorations. It is one of the oldest surviving documen ...
) in 1186 and ''Dušanov zakonik'' ( Dušan's Code) in 1349. Little
secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...

secular
medieval literature has been preserved, but what there is shows that it was in accord with its time; for example, the ''Serbian Alexandride'', a book about
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
, and a translation of ''
Tristan and Iseult Tristan and Iseult is a chivalric romance retold in numerous variations since the 12th century, with a lasting impact on Western culture. The story is a tragedy about the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Iris ...
'' into Serbian. Although not belonging to the literature proper, the corpus of Serbian literacy in the 14th and 15th centuries contains numerous legal, commercial and administrative texts with marked presence of Serbian vernacular juxtaposed on the matrix of Serbian
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (''црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ'', ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
. By the beginning of the 14th century the Serbo-Croatian language, which was so rigorously proscribed by earlier local laws, becomes the dominant language of the
Republic of Ragusa hr, Sloboda se ne prodaje za sve zlato svijeta it, La libertà non-si vende nemmeno per tutto l'oro del mondo"Liberty is not sold for all the gold in the world" , currency = Ragusa perpera and others , common_languages = ...

Republic of Ragusa
. Through Bosnia and the Herzegovina on Foot During the Insurrection
by Sir Arthur Evans, page 416
However, despite her wealthy citizens speaking the Serbo-Croatian dialect of Dubrovnik in their family circles, they sent their children to Florentine schools to become perfectly fluent in Italian. Since the beginning of the 13th century, the entire official correspondence of Dubrovnik with states in the hinterland was conducted in Serbian.LANGUAGE AND LETTER IN MEDIEVAL BOSNIAN STATE – CHARTERS AND LETTERS
at plemenito.com
In the mid-15th century, Serbia was conquered by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
and for the next 400 years there was no opportunity for the creation of secular written literature. However, some of the greatest literary works in Serbian come from this time, in the form of oral literature, the most notable form being
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary people who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the mortal ...
. The epic poems were mainly written down in the 19th century, and preserved in oral tradition up to the 1950s, a few centuries or even a millennium longer than by most other "epic folks".
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist. His works include: four novels; epic poetry, epic and lyric poetry; prose ...

Goethe
and
Jacob Grimm Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm (4 January 1785 – 20 September 1863), also known as Ludwig Karl, was a German linguist, philologist, jurist, and folklorist Folklore studies, also known as folkloristics, and occasionally tradition studies or fo ...

Jacob Grimm
learned Serbian in order to read Serbian epic poetry in the original. By the end of the 18th century, the written literature had become estranged from the spoken language. In the second half of the 18th century, the new language appeared, called
Slavonic-Serbian Slavonic-Serbian (славяносербскій, ''slavyanoserbskiy''), Slavo-Serbian, or Slaveno-Serbian (славено-сербскiй, ''slaveno-serbski''; sr, славеносрпски''/slavenosrpski'') was a literary language used by t ...
. This artificial idiom superseded the works of poets and historians like Gavrilo Stefanović Venclović, who wrote in essentially modern Serbian in the 1720s. These vernacular compositions have remained cloistered from the general public and received due attention only with the advent of modern literary historians and writers like Milorad Pavić. In the early 19th century, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić promoted the
spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. La ...
of the people as a literary norm.


Dialects

The dialects of
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches ...
, regarded Serbian (traditionally spoken in Serbia), include: * Šumadija–Vojvodina (Ekavian, Neo-Shtokavian): central and northern Serbia * Eastern Herzegovinian (Ijekavian, Neo-Shtokavian): southwestern Serbia, western half of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia * Kosovo–Resava (Ekavian, Old-Shtokavian): eastern central Serbia, central Kosovo * Smederevo–Vršac dialect, Smederevo–Vršac (Ekavian, Old-Shtokavian): east-central Serbia * Prizren–Timok dialect, Prizren–Timok (transitional Torlakian): southeastern Serbia, southern Kosovo * Zeta–Raška dialect, Zeta–Raška (Ijekavian, Old-Shtokavian): eastern half of Montenegro, southwestern Serbia


Dictionaries

Vuk Karadžić's ''Srpski rječnik'', first published in 1818, is the earliest dictionary of modern literary Serbian. The ''Rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika'' (I–XXIII), published by the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts from 1880 to 1976, is the only general historical dictionary of Serbo-Croatian. Its first editor was Đuro Daničić, followed by Pero Budmani and the famous Vukovian Tomislav Maretić. The sources of this dictionary are, especially in the first volumes, mainly Štokavian. There are older, pre-standard dictionaries, such as the German–Serbian dictionary (1791), 1791 German–Serbian dictionary. ;Standard dictionaries *''Dictionary of Serbo-Croatian Literary and Vernacular Language, Rečnik srpskohrvatskog književnog i narodnog jezika'' (Dictionary of Serbo-Croatian standard language and vernaculars) is the biggest dictionary of Serbian and still unfinished. Starting with 1959, 16 volumes were published, about 40 are expected. Works of Croatian authors are excerpted, if published before 1991. *''Rečnik srpskohrvatskoga književnog jezika'' in six volumes, started as a common project of Matica srpska and Matica hrvatska, but only the first three volumes were also published in Croato-Serbian (hrvatskosrpski). * ''Rečnik srpskoga jezika'' () in one volume, published in 2007 by Matica srpska, which on more than 1500 pages in Paper size, A4 format explains more than 85,000 entries. Several volume dictionaries were published in Croatia (for the Croatian language) since the 1990s (''Anić'', ''Enciklopedijski rječnik'', ''Hrvatski rječnik''). ;Etymological dictionaries The standard and the only completed etymological dictionary of Serbian is the "Skok", written by the Croatian linguist Petar Skok: ''Etimologijski rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika'' ("Etymological Dictionary of Croatian or Serbian"). I-IV. Zagreb 1971–1974. There is also a new monumental ''Etimološki rečnik srpskog jezika'' (Etymological Dictionary of Serbian). So far, two volumes have been published: I (with words on A-), and II (Ba-Bd). There are specialized etymological dictionaries for German, Italian, Croatian, Turkish, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, English and other loanwords (cf. chapter ''word origin''). ;Dialectal dictionaries *Kosovsko-resavski dialect dictionaries: **Gliša Elezović, Rečnik kosovsko-metohiskog dijalekta I-II. 1932/1935. *Prizren-Timok (Torlakian) dialect dictionaries: **Brana Mitrović, Rečnik leskovačkog govora. Leskovac 1984. **Nikola Živković, Rečnik pirotskog govora. Pirot, 1987. **Miodrag Marković, Rečnik crnorečkog govora I-II. 1986/1993. **Jakša Dinić, Rečnik timočkog govora I-III.1988–1992. **Jakša Dinić, Timocki dijalekatski recnik, (Institut za srpski jezik, Monografije 4; ) Beograd 2008, **Momčilo Zlatanović, Rečnik govora južne Srbije. Vranje, 1998, 1–491. *East-Herzegovinian dialect dictionaries: **Milija Stanić, Uskočki rečnik I–II. Beograd 1990/1991. **Miloš Vujičić, Rečnik govora Prošćenja kod Mojkovca. Podgorica, 1995. **Srđan Musić, Romanizmi u severozapadnoj Boki Kotorskoj. 1972. **Svetozar Gagović, Iz leksike Pive. Beograd 2004. *Zeta-Pešter dialect: **Rada Stijović, Iz leksike Vasojevića. 1990. **Drago ĆupićŽeljko Ćupić, Rečnik govora Zagarača. 1997. **Vesna Lipovac-Radulović, Romanizmi u Crnoj Gorijugoistočni dio Boke Kotorske. CetinjeTitograd, 1981. **Vesna Lipovac-Radulović, Romanizmi u Budvi i Paštrovićima. Novi Sad 1997. *Others: **Rečnik srpskih govora Vojvodine. Novi Sad. **Mile Tomić, Rečnik radimskog govoradijaspora, Rumunija. 1989.


See also

*Serbo-Croatian language secessionism, Language secessionism in Serbo-Croatian *Mutual intelligibility#Dialects or registers of one language sometimes considered separate languages, Mutual intelligibility *Pluricentric language#Serbo-Croatian, Pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language *
Declaration on the Common Language The Declaration on the Common Language ( sh, Deklaracija o zajedničkom jeziku / Декларација о заједничком језику) was issued in 2017 by a group of intellectuals and NGOs from Croatia :* french: link=no, Répub ...
2017 *Dialects of Serbo-Croatian *Romano-Serbian language (mix with Romany) *Šatrovački (slang form) *Serbian language in Croatia *Serbian proverbs *Abstand and ausbau languages


Notes


References


Further reading

;Books * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ;Journals * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words
(from Wiktionary'
Swadesh list appendix


n article by linguist Pavle Ivić at ''Project Rastko''
A Basic Serbian Phrasebook
{{DEFAULTSORT:Serbian Language Serbian language, Languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina Languages of Montenegro Languages of Serbia Languages of Croatia Languages of Slovenia Languages of North Macedonia Languages of Vojvodina Subject–verb–object languages Languages of Kosovo Languages of Romania Languages of Hungary