Serbian Language
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Serbian Language

Serbian
/ srpski jezik
Pronunciation[srpski:]
Native toSerbia, post-Yugoslav states, and Serbian diaspora
RegionBalkans
EthnicitySerbs
Native speakers
c. 12 million (2009)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byBoard for Standardization of the Serbian Language
Language codes
sr
srp
srp
Glottologserb1264
Linguaspherepart of 53-AAA-g
Map of Serbian language - official or recognized
  Countries/regions where Serbian is an official language.
  Countries/regions where it is recognized as a minority language.
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Serbian ( / srpski, pronounced [srpski:]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs.[8][9][10][11][12] It is the official and national language of Serbia, one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and co-official in Montenegro and Kosovo.[a] It is a recognized minority language in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian (more specifically on the dialects of ?umadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovina[13]), which is also the basis of standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin varieties[14] and therefore the Declaration on the Common Language of Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs, and Montenegrins was issued in 2017.[15][16] The other dialect spoken by 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,[17] using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karad?i?, who created it based on phonemic principles. The Latin alphabet used for Serbian (latinica) was designed by the Croatian linguist 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.[18]

Classification

Serbian is a standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian,[19][20] a Slavic language (Indo-European), of the South Slavic subgroup. Other standardized forms of Serbo-Croatian are Bosnian, Croatian, and Montenegrin. "An examination of all the major 'levels' of language shows that BCS is clearly a single language with a single grammatical system."[21] 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 Kajkavian and Chakavian dialects of Serbo-Croatian[22]).

Geographic distribution

Figures of speakers according to countries:

Status in Montenegro

Serbian was the official language of Montenegro until October 2007 when the new Constitution of Montenegro replaced the Constitution of 1992. Amid opposition from pro-Serbian parties,[31] 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, Albanian, and Croatian.[32]

In the 2011 Montenegrin census, 42.88% declared Serbian to be their native language, while Montenegrin was declared by 36.97% of the population.[33]

Differences between standard Serbian and standard Croatian and Bosnian

Writing system

Standard Serbian language uses both Cyrillic (, ?irilica) and Latin script (latinica, ). 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 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 of Serbia's administration by the 2006 Constitution.[34]

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.[35]

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.[34]

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.[36]

In media, the public broadcaster, Radio Television of Serbia, predominantly uses the Cyrillic script whereas the privately run broadcasters, like RTV Pink, 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.[36] 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.[37]

Latin script has become more and more popular in Serbia, as it is easier to input on phones and computers.[38]

Alphabetic order

The sort order of the ?irilica () alphabet:

  • Cyrillic order called Azbuka () ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

The sort order of the latinica () alphabet:

  • Latin order called Abeceda (?): A B C ? ? D D? ? E F G H I J K L Lj M N Nj O P R S ? T U V Z ?

Grammar

Serbian is a highly inflected language, with grammatical morphology for nouns, pronouns and adjectives as well as verbs.[39]

Nouns

Serbian nouns are classified into three declensional types, denoted largely by their nominative case endings as "-a" type, "-i" and "-e" type. Into each of these declensional types may fall nouns of any of three genders: masculine, feminine or neuter. Each noun may be inflected to represent the noun's grammatical case, of which Serbian has seven:

Nouns are further inflected to represent the noun's number, singular or plural.

Pronouns

Pronouns, when used, are inflected along the same case and number morphology as nouns. Serbian is a pro-drop language, 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:

Serbian English equivalent
Kako si? How are you?
A kako si ti? And how are you?

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, 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).

Vocabulary

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, English, Russian, German, Czech and French.

Serbian literature

Miroslavljevo jevan?elje (The Gospel of Miroslav), a manuscript, c. 1186

Serbian literature emerged in the Middle Ages, and included such works as Miroslavljevo jevan?elje (Miroslav's Gospel) in 1186 and Du?anov zakonik (Du?an'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, the Serbian Alexandride, a book about 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.

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.[40] 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.[40] Since the beginning of the 13th century, the entire official correspondence of Dubrovnik with states in the hinterland was conducted in Serbian.[41]

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 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 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 Stefanovi? Venclovi?, 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 Pavi?. In the early 19th century, Vuk Stefanovi? Karad?i? promoted the spoken language of the people as a literary norm.

Dialects

The dialects of Serbo-Croatian, regarded Serbian (traditionally spoken in Serbia), include:

  • ?umadija-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-Vr?ac (Ekavian, Old-Shtokavian): east-central Serbia
  • Prizren-Timok (transitional Torlakian): southeastern Serbia, southern Kosovo
  • Zeta-Ra?ka (Ijekavian, Old-Shtokavian): eastern half of Montenegro, southwestern Serbia

Dictionaries

Vuk Karad?i?'s Srpski rje?nik, first published in 1818, is the earliest dictionary of modern literary Serbian. The Rje?nik 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 ?uro Dani?i?, followed by Pero Budmani and the famous Vukovian Tomislav Mareti?. The sources of this dictionary are, especially in the first volumes, mainly ?tokavian. There are older, pre-standard dictionaries, such as the 1791 German-Serbian dictionary.

Standard dictionaries

  • Dictionary of Serbo-Croatian Literary and Vernacular Language (Re?nik srpskohrvatskog knji?evnog i narodnog jezika) is the biggest dictionary of Serbian (and Serbo-Croatian as a whole) and still unfinished. Starting in 1959, 21 volumes were published as of 2020 and about 40 are expected by the time it is finished.
  • Dictionary of Serbo-Croatian Literary Language (Re?nik srpskohrvatskoga knji?evnog jezika) in six volumes in 1967-1976, started as a common project of Matica srpska (published in Cyrillic) and Matica hrvatska (published in Latin). Only the first three volumes were published by Matica hrvatska due to negative feedback from Croatian linguists.
  • Dictionary of the Serbian language (Re?nik 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.

Etymological dictionaries

The standard and the only completed etymological dictionary of Serbian is the "Skok", written by the Croatian linguist Petar Skok: Etimologijski rje?nik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika ("Etymological Dictionary of Croatian or Serbian"). I-IV. Zagreb 1971-1974.

There is also a new monumental Etimolo?ki re?nik 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:
    • Gli?a Elezovi?, Re?nik kosovsko-metohiskog dijalekta I-II. 1932/1935.
  • Prizren-Timok (Torlakian) dialect dictionaries:
    • Brana Mitrovi?, Re?nik leskova?kog govora. Leskovac 1984.
    • Nikola ?ivkovi?, Re?nik pirotskog govora. Pirot, 1987.
    • Miodrag Markovi?, Re?nik crnore?kog govora I-II. 1986/1993.
    • Jak?a Dini?, Re?nik timo?kog govora I-III.1988-1992.
    • Jak?a Dini?, Timocki dijalekatski recnik, (Institut za srpski jezik, Monografije 4; ISBN 978-86-82873-17-4) Beograd 2008,
    • Mom?ilo Zlatanovi?, Re?nik govora ju?ne Srbije. Vranje, 1998, 1-491.
  • East-Herzegovinian dialect dictionaries:
    • Milija Stani?, Usko?ki re?nik I-II. Beograd 1990/1991.
    • Milo? Vuji?i?, Re?nik govora Proenja kod Mojkovca. Podgorica, 1995.
    • Sr?an Musi?, Romanizmi u severozapadnoj Boki Kotorskoj. 1972.
    • Svetozar Gagovi?, Iz leksike Pive. Beograd 2004.
  • Zeta-Pe?ter dialect:
    • Rada Stijovi?, Iz leksike Vasojevi?a. 1990.
    • Drago ?upi? – ?eljko ?upi?, Re?nik govora Zagara?a. 1997.
    • Vesna Lipovac-Radulovi?, Romanizmi u Crnoj Gori – jugoisto?ni dio Boke Kotorske. Cetinje – Titograd, 1981.
    • Vesna Lipovac-Radulovi?, Romanizmi u Budvi i Pa?trovi?ima. Novi Sad 1997.
  • Others:
    • Re?nik srpskih govora Vojvodine. Novi Sad.
    • Mile Tomi?, Re?nik radimskog govora – dijaspora, Rumunija. 1989.

Sample text

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Serbian, written in the Cyrillic script:[42]

? ? ? ? ? ?. ? ? ? ? ? ? .

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Serbian, written in the Latin alphabet:[43]

Sva ljudska bi?a ra?aju se slobodna i jednaka u dostojanstvu i pravima. Ona su obdarena razumom i sveu i treba jedni prema drugima da postupaju u duhu bratstva.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English:[44]

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ a b c The political status of Kosovo is disputed. Having unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo is formally recognised as an independent state by 97 UN member states, while Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory.

References

  1. ^ " 12 ? ?". . 2009-02-20.
  2. ^ "Language and alphabet Article 13". Constitution of Montenegro. WIPO. 19 October 2007. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian shall also be in the official use.
  3. ^ "Ec.Europa.eu" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-30.
  4. ^ "B92.net". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10.
  5. ^ "Minority Rights Group International : Czech Republic : Czech Republic Overview". Minorityrights.org. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Národnostní men?iny v ?eské republice a jejich jazyky" [National Minorities in Czech Republic and Their Language] (PDF) (in Czech). Government of Czech Republic. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-15. Podle ?l. 3 odst. 2 Statutu Rady je jejich po?et 12 a jsou u?ivateli t?chto men?inových jazyk?: ..., srb?tina a ukrajin?tina
  7. ^ "Minority Rights Group International : Macedonia : Macedonia Overview". Minorityrights.org. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved .
  8. ^ David Dalby, Linguasphere (1999/2000, Linguasphere Observatory), pg. 445, 53-AAA-g, "Srpski+Hrvatski, Serbo-Croatian".
  9. ^ Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), p. 431, "Because of their mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
  10. ^ Václav Bla?ek, "On the Internal Classification of Indo-European Languages: Survey" retrieved 20 Oct 2010 Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, pp. 15-16.
  11. ^ ?ali?, Jelena (2021). "Pluricentricity in the classroom: the Serbo-Croatian language issue for foreign language teaching at higher education institutions worldwide". Sociolinguistica: European Journal of Sociolinguistics. De Gruyter. 35 (1): 113-140. doi:10.1515/soci-2021-0007. ISSN 0933-1883. S2CID 244134335. Retrieved 2022. The debate about the status of the Serbo-Croatian language and its varieties has recently shifted (again) towards a position which looks at the internal variation within Serbo-Croatian through the prism of linguistic pluricentricity
  12. ^ Mader Skender, Mia (2022). "Schlussbemerkung" [Summary]. Die kroatische Standardsprache auf dem Weg zur Ausbausprache [The Croatian standard language on the way to ausbau language] (PDF) (Dissertation). UZH Dissertations (in German). Zurich: University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts, Institute of Slavonic Studies. pp. 196-197. doi:10.5167/uzh-215815. Retrieved 2022. Obwohl das Kroatische sich in den letzten Jahren in einigen Gebieten, vor allem jedoch auf lexikalischer Ebene, verändert hat, sind diese Änderungen noch nicht bedeutend genug, dass der Terminus Ausbausprache gerechtfertigt wäre. Ausserdem können sich Serben, Kroaten, Bosnier und Montenegriner immer noch auf ihren jeweiligen Nationalsprachen unterhalten und problemlos verständigen. Nur schon diese Tatsache zeigt, dass es sich immer noch um eine polyzentrische Sprache mit verschiedenen Varietäten handelt.
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  17. ^ Magner, Thomas F. (10 January 2001). "Digraphia in the territories of the Croats and Serbs". International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 2001 (150). doi:10.1515/ijsl.2001.028. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville G. (1 September 2003). The Slavonic Languages. Taylor & Francis. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-203-21320-9. Retrieved 2013. Following Vuk's reform of Cyrillic (see above) in the early nineteenth century, Ljudevit Gaj in the 1830s performed the same operation on Latinica, using the Czech system and producing a one-to-one symbol correlation between Cyrillic and Latinica as applied to the Serbian and Croatian parallel system.
  19. ^ ?ipka, Danko (2019). Lexical layers of identity: words, meaning, and culture in the Slavic languages. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 206. doi:10.1017/9781108685795. ISBN 978-953-313-086-6. LCCN 2018048005. OCLC 1061308790. S2CID 150383965. Serbo-Croatian, which features four ethnic variants: Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin
  20. ^ Kordi?, Snje?ana (2010). Jezik i nacionalizam [Language and Nationalism] (PDF). Rotulus Universitas (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Durieux. p. 143. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3467646. ISBN 978-953-188-311-5. LCCN 2011520778. OCLC 729837512. OL 15270636W. CROSBI 475567. COBISS-Sr 521757076. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Bailyn, John Frederick (2010). "To what degree are Croatian and Serbian the same language? Evidence from a Translation Study" (PDF). Journal of Slavic Linguistics. 18 (2): 181-219. ISSN 1068-2090. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Greenberg, Marc L., A Short Reference Grammar of Slovene, (LINCOM Studies in Slavic Linguistics 30). Munich: LINCOM, 2008. ISBN 3-89586-965-1
  23. ^ "Maternji jezik 2013". Popis 2013. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-07-29.
  24. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT" (PDF). Demo.istat.it. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-04-01. Retrieved .
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  26. ^ "Kosovo's Demographic Destiny Looks Eerily Familiar". Balkan Insight. 2019-11-07. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Ethno-Cultural Portrait of Canada, Table 1". www12.statcan.ca. 2001. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved 2011.
  28. ^ The People of Australia - Statistics from the 2011 Census (PDF). Department of Immigration and Border Protection. 2014. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-920996-23-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-14. Retrieved . Ancestry
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  36. ^ a b "Should you Localize to Serbian Latin or to Serbian Cyrillic?". 17 November 2016.
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  40. ^ a b Through Bosnia and the Herzegovina on Foot During the Insurrection by Sir Arthur Evans, page 416
  41. ^ LANGUAGE AND LETTER IN MEDIEVAL BOSNIAN STATE - CHARTERS AND LETTERS at plemenito.com
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  43. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Serbian (Latin)". unicode.org.
  44. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations.

Further reading

Books

Journals

External links


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