SERBIAN (српски / srpski, pronounced ) is the standardized
variety of the
Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by
Serbs . It is
the official language of
Serbia , the territory of
Kosovo , and one of
the three official languages of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina . In addition,
it is a recognized minority language in
Montenegro where it is spoken
by the relative majority of the population, as well as in
Slovakia , and the
Czech Republic .
Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of
Shtokavian (more specifically on Šumadija-Vojvodina
and Eastern Herzegovinian dialects ), which is also the basis of
Standard Croatian , Bosnian , and Montenegrin . The other dialect
Serbs is Torlakian in southeastern Serbia, which is
transitional to Macedonian and Bulgarian .
Serbian is practically the only European standard language whose
speakers are fully functionally digraphic , using both Cyrillic and
Latin alphabets. The
Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by
Vuk Karadžić , who created the alphabet on phonemic
principles. The Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist
Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.
* 1 Classification
* 2 Geographic distribution
* 2.1 Status in
* 3 Differences between standard Serbian and standard Croatian and
* 4.1 Alphabetic order
* 4.2 Conjugation
* 5 Vocabulary
* 7 Dictionaries
* 7.1 Standard dictionaries
* 7.2 Bilingual dictionaries
* 7.3 Historical dictionaries
* 7.4 Etymological dictionaries
* 7.5 Dialect dictionaries
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
See also: History of
Serbian is a standardized variety of
Serbo-Croatian , a Slavic
language (Indo-European ), of the South Slavic subgroup. Other
standardized forms of
Serbo-Croatian are Bosnian , Croatian , and
Montenegrin . It has lower intelligibility with the Eastern South
Slavic languages Bulgarian and Macedonian , than with Slovene (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
Chakavian dialects of
Figures of speakers according to countries:
Serbia : 6,540,699 (official language)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina : 1,086,027 (co-official language)
* Germany: 568,240
* Austria: 350,000
Montenegro : 265,890 (recognized minority language)
* Switzerland: 186,000
* United States: 172,874
* Sweden: 120,000
* Italy: 106,498
* Canada: 72,690
* Australia: 55,114
Croatia : 52,879 (recognized minority language)
Slovenia : 38,964
Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia : 35,939 (recognized minority language)
Romania : 22,518 (recognized minority language)
STATUS IN MONTENEGRO
Serbian was the official language of
Montenegro until 2007 when the
new Constitution of
Montenegro replaced the Constitution of 1992. Amid
opposition from pro-Serbian parties, the
Montenegrin language was
made the sole official language of the country, and Serbian was given
the status of a recognised minority language along with Bosnian,
Albanian , and Croatian.
According to the 2011 Montenegrin census, 42.88% declare Serbian to
be their native language, while Montenegrin is declared by 36.97% of
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STANDARD SERBIAN AND STANDARD CROATIAN AND BOSNIAN
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Comparison of standard Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Serbo-Croatian phonology and
Serbian Cyrillic alphabet , Gaj\'s Latin alphabet ,
Serbian language uses both Cyrillic (ћирилица,
Latin script (latinica, латиница).
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 of Serbia's administration by the 2006
Constitution . However, the law does not regulate scripts in standard
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. Even in official government documents this constitutional
requirement is rarely enforced. Serbian is a rare example of
synchronic digraphia , 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 another. For
example, the public broadcaster, Radio Television of
predominantly uses the
Cyrillic script whereas the privately run
RTV Pink , predominantly use the Latin script.
A survey from 2014 showed that 47% of the Serbian population favors
the Latin alphabet whereas 36% favors the Cyrillic one.
SOUTH SLAVIC LANGUAGES AND DIALECTS
Western South Slavic
* Resian )
* SERBO-CROATIAN STANDARD LANGUAGES
* SERBO-CROATIAN DIALECTS
* Užican )
* Molise )
* SERBO-CROATIAN ACCENTS
* Comparison of standard
Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Eastern South Slavic
* Church Slavonic (Old )
* Torlakian )
* Gaj\'s Latin a
* Serbian Cyrillic
* Bulgarian Cyrillic
* Macedonian Cyrillic
* Early Cyrillic
a Includes Banat Bulgarian alphabet .
The sort order of the ćirilica (ћирилица) alphabet:
* Cyrillic order called Azbuka (азбука): 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 latinica (латиница) alphabet:
* Latin order called Abeceda (абецеда): 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
Serbian verbs are conjugated in four past forms—perfect , aorist ,
imperfect , and pluperfect —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 (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 mood by some contemporary linguists), and one present
tense . These are the tenses of the indicative mood. Apart from the
indicative mood, there is also the imperative mood . 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 .
As for the non-finite verb forms, Serbian has one infinitive , two
adjectival participles (the active and the passive), and two adverbial
participles (the present and the past).
Loanwords in Serbian
Most Serbian words are of native Slavic lexical stock, tracing back
to the Proto-
Slavic language . There are many loanwords from different
languages, reflecting cultural interaction throughout history. Notable
loanwords were borrowed from Greek, Latin, Italian, Turkish,
Hungarian, Russian, and German.
Serbian literature Miroslavljevo jevanđelje (The
Gospel of Miroslav), a manuscript , ca. 1186
Serbian literature emerged in the
Middle Ages , and included such
works as Miroslavljevo jevanđelje (Miroslav\'s Gospel ) in 1192 and
Dušanov zakonik (Dušan\'s Code ) in 1349. Little secular medieval
literature has been preserved, but what there is shows that it was in
accord with its time; for example, Serbian Alexandride, a book about
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great , and a translation of
Tristan and Iseult 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
In the mid-15th century,
Serbia was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
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
Serbian epic poetry
Serbian epic poetry . 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 and
Jacob Grimm learned
Serbian in order to read
Serbian epic poetry
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 . 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 of the people as a literary norm.
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (June
* Rečnik srpskohrvatskog književnog i narodnog jezika (Dictionary
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 6 volumes, started
as a common project of
Matica srpska and
Matica hrvatska , but only
the first three volumes were also published in Croato-Serbian
* Rečnik srpskoga jezika (ISBN 978-86-7946-004-2 ) in one volume,
published in 2007 by
Matica srpska , which on more than 1500 pages in
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).
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it .
* Standard dictionaries
* Specialized dictionaries
* Phraseological 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
Štokavian . There are older, pre-standard
dictionaries, such as the 1791 German–Serbian dictionary .
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.
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).
* Kosovsko-resavski dialect dictionaries:
* Gliša Elezović, Rečnik kosovsko-metohiskog dijalekta I-II.
* 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; ISBN 978-86-82873-17-4 ) Beograd 2008,
* Momčilo Zlatanović, Rečnik govora južne Srbije. Vranje, 1998,
* East-Herzegovinian dialect dictionaries:
* Milija Stanić, Uskočki rečnik I–II. Beograd 1990/1991.
* Miloš Vujičić, Rečnik govora Prošćenja kod Mojkovca.
* 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 Ćupić – Željko Ćupić, Rečnik govora Zagarača. 1997.
* Vesna Lipovac-Radulović, Romanizmi u Crnoj Gori – jugoistočni
dio Boke Kotorske. Cetinje – Titograd, 1981.
* Vesna Lipovac-Radulović, Romanizmi u Budvi i Paštrovićima. Novi
* Rečnik sprskih govora Vojvodine. Novi Sad.
* Mile Tomić, Rečnik radimskog govora – dijaspora, Rumunija.
* Language secessionism in
* Mutual intelligibility
* Dialects of
Romano-Serbian language (mix with Romany)
Šatrovački (slang form)
Abstand and ausbau languages
Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the
Kosovo and the Republic of
Serbia . The Republic of Kosovo
unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia
continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory . The two
governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the
Brussels Agreement .
Kosovo has received formal recognition as an
independent state from 111 out of 193
United Nations member states .
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of the population), 1.49 million in Bosnia (37.1%), 400,000 in
Montenegro (60%), 133,000 in Kosovo, 45,000 in Croatia, and 36,000 in
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(16th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International.
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Wayback Machine .
* ^ B92.net Archived 2013-11-10 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Minority Rights Group International :
Czech Republic : Czech
Republic Overview". Minorityrights.org. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
* ^ "Národnostní menšiny v České republice a jejich jazyky"
(PDF) (in Czech). Government of Czech Republic. p. 2. Podle čl. 3
odst. 2 Statutu Rady je jejich počet 12 a jsou uživateli těchto
menšinových jazyků: , srbština a ukrajinština
* ^ "Minority Rights Group International : Macedonia : Macedonia
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* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
* ^ David Dalby, Linguasphere (1999/2000, Linguasphere
Observatory), pg. 445, 53-AAA-g, "Srpski+Hrvatski, Serbo-Croatian".
* ^ Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An
Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431, "Because of their
mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually
thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
* ^ Václav Blažek, "On the Internal Classification of
Indo-European Languages: Survey" retrieved 20 Oct 2010, pp. 15-16.
Montenegro Census 2011 data, Montstat,
* ^ Ljiljana Subotić; Dejan Sredojević; Isidora Bjelaković
(2012), Fonetika i fonologija: Ortoepska i ortografska norma
standardnog srpskog jezika (in Serbo-Croatian), FILOZOFSKI FAKULTET
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CATEGORY:WORKS ORIGINALLY IN SERBIAN
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* Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh
Standard language as an instrument of culture and the product of
national history – an article by linguist
Pavle Ivić at Project
* A Basic Serbian Phrasebook
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