Serbian language
Overview
 
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

, a South Slavic language
South Slavic languages
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...

, spoken by Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and neighbouring countries.

The dialect of Serbian serving as the basis for the main literary and standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 is Shtokavian, also the basis for standard Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

, and Montenegrin
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

. In particular, Serbian is standardized around Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian
Eastern Herzegovinian dialect
The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread dialect of the Štokavian dialect system, both by territory and the number of speakers...

 subdialects of Shtokavian. The other principal dialect, Torlakian
Torlakian dialect
Torlakian or Torlak is a name given to the group of South Slavic dialects of southeastern Serbia , northeastern Macedonia , western Bulgaria , which is intermediate between Serbian, Bulgarian and Macedonian.Some linguists classify it as an Old-Shtokavian dialect of Serbian or a fourth dialect of...

, is spoken in southeast Serbia
Southern and Eastern Serbia
Southern and Eastern Serbia is one of five statistical regions of Serbia. It is formed in 2010.-Formation:In July 2009 Serbian parliament adopted a law which divided Serbia into seven statistical regions...

, and it is disputed as to whether it is a Serbian dialect or transitional to Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

 and Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

.

Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia
Digraphia
In sociolinguistics, digraphia refers to the use of more than one writing system for the same language. Some scholars differentiate between synchronic digraphia with the coexistence of two or more writing systems for the same language and diachronic digraphia with the replacement of one writing...

, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.
Encyclopedia
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

, a South Slavic language
South Slavic languages
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...

, spoken by Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and neighbouring countries.

The dialect of Serbian serving as the basis for the main literary and standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 is Shtokavian, also the basis for standard Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

, and Montenegrin
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

. In particular, Serbian is standardized around Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian
Eastern Herzegovinian dialect
The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread dialect of the Štokavian dialect system, both by territory and the number of speakers...

 subdialects of Shtokavian. The other principal dialect, Torlakian
Torlakian dialect
Torlakian or Torlak is a name given to the group of South Slavic dialects of southeastern Serbia , northeastern Macedonia , western Bulgaria , which is intermediate between Serbian, Bulgarian and Macedonian.Some linguists classify it as an Old-Shtokavian dialect of Serbian or a fourth dialect of...

, is spoken in southeast Serbia
Southern and Eastern Serbia
Southern and Eastern Serbia is one of five statistical regions of Serbia. It is formed in 2010.-Formation:In July 2009 Serbian parliament adopted a law which divided Serbia into seven statistical regions...

, and it is disputed as to whether it is a Serbian dialect or transitional to Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

 and Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

.

Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia
Digraphia
In sociolinguistics, digraphia refers to the use of more than one writing system for the same language. Some scholars differentiate between synchronic digraphia with the coexistence of two or more writing systems for the same language and diachronic digraphia with the replacement of one writing...

, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...

, who created the alphabet on phonemic
Phonemic orthography
A phonemic orthography is a writing system where the written graphemes correspond to phonemes, the spoken sounds of the language. In terms of orthographic depth, these are termed shallow orthographies, contrasting with deep orthographies...

 principles. The Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj was a Croatian linguist, politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the central figures of the Croatian national reformation, also known as the Illyrian Movement.-Origin:...

 in 1830 and is used by the other standard forms of Serbo-Croatian.

Middle Ages

Prince Rastko Nemanjić (1174–1235), the youngest son of Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja was the Grand Prince of the Grand Principality of Serbia from 1166 to 1196, a heir of the Vukanović dynasty that marked the beginning of a greater Serbian realm .He is remembered for his contributions to Serbian culture and...

, later left royal life and took monastic vows under the name Sava
Saint Sava
Saint Sava was a Serbian Prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church, the founder of Serbian law and literature, and a diplomat. Sava was born Rastko Nemanjić , the youngest son of Serbian Grand Župan Stefan Nemanja , and ruled the appanage of Hum briefly in...

. During Sava's time as monk in Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

, he wrote the Karyes Typicon
Karyes Typicon
The Karyes Typicon or Typicon of Saint Sava is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox typicon written in 1199 by Saint Sava , the first "Archbishop of the Serbs" , the youngest son of Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja The Karyes Typicon or Typicon of Saint Sava is a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox...

, which was implicitly the first codification of the Serbian language.

The second reform was during the rule of Despot Stefan Lazarević
Stefan Lazarevic
Stefan Lazarević known also as Stevan the Tall was a Serbian Despot, ruler of the Serbian Despotate between 1389 and 1427. He was the son and heir to Prince Lazar, who died at the Battle of Kosovo against the Turks in 1389, and Princess Milica from the subordinate branch of the Nemanjić dynasty...

, of which Serbian ortography was known as Resava school.

Modern

Before 1400, most Serbian vernaculars had two accents, both with fall intonation—the short one and the long one. That is why they are called "old accents". By 1500, the old accents moved by one syllable towards the beginning of the word, changing their quality to rising accents. For instance, junâk (hero) became jùnāk. The old accents logically remained only when they were on first syllable. Not all dialects had this evolution; those who had it are called neo-shtokavian. The dispersal center was in eastern Herzegovina
Herzegovina
Herzegovina is the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While there is no official border distinguishing it from the Bosnian region, it is generally accepted that the borders of the region are Croatia to the west, Montenegro to the south, the canton boundaries of the Herzegovina-Neretva...

. Since the 16th century people had been emigrating from this area. The biggest migrations were to the north, then toward Military Krajina and to the seaside (Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

, Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

 area, including the islands of Mljet
Mljet
Mljet is the most southerly and easterly of the larger Adriatic islands of the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The National Park includes the western part of the island, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Soline Bay and a sea belt 500 m wide from the most prominent cape of Mljet covering an area of...

 and Šipan
Šipan
Šipan also Sipano is the largest of the Elaphiti Islands, 17 km northwest of Dubrovnik, Croatia; separated from the mainland coast by the Kolocepski Channel; area 16.22 km²; population 500 . It is the largest island in this group and its highest point is 243 m...

). In the 1920s and 1930s the royal government tried to settle people from this poor mountainous area to the Kosovo basin. Vojvodina
Vojvodina
Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

 was settled with inhabitants from this area after WWII.

When all old accents had moved to the beginning of the word for one syllable, this was the result:
  • In words with two or more syllables the last syllable cannot be stressed
  • One-syllable words can have only falling accents
  • In polysyllabic words, if an inner syllable is stressed, then it can have only a rising accent (there are exceptions—in standard and in many vernaculars, for instance when there is a ` – – combination)
  • In a word with two or more syllables, if the first syllable is stressed, then it can have any of the four accents.

Classification

Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a Slavic language (Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

), of the South Slavic
South Slavic
South Slavic can refer to:* South Slavic languages* South Slavic peoples...

 subgroup. Serbo-Croatian consists of Serbian along with Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, and Montenegrin
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

. It has lower intelligibility to East South Slavic languages of Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

, then Slovene (although Slovene is part of the West subgroup, it is hindered by differences in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation to the Serbo-Croatian standard forms, although closer to the Kajkavian
Kajkavian dialect
The Kajkavian dialect is one of the three main dialects of Croatian. It has low mutual intelligibility with the other two dialects, Štokavian and Čakavian. All three are named after their word for "what?", which in Kajkavian is kaj....

 and Čakavian dialect
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

s of Croatian).

The South Slavic languages all derive their forms from Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

, with Serbian emerging from Old Serbian (Serbian-Slavonic), which has a literary history from the 10th century.

Geographic distribution

Figures of speakers according to countries:
  • Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

    : 6,540,699
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

    : 1,711,577
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    : 568,240
  • Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    : 350,000
  • Montenegro
    Montenegro
    Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

    : 265,890 (as first)
  • Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    : 201,631 (as first)
  • Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    : 186,000
  • USA: 172,874
  • Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    : 120,000
  • Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    : 100,000
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : 72,690 (2001 census, 40,580 of that in Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

    )
  • Slovenia
    Slovenia
    Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

    : 38,964 (as first)
  • Republic of Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

    : 35,939 (as first)
  • Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    : 22,518

Status in Montenegro

Serbian was the official language of Montenegro until 2007 when the new Constitution of Montenegro
Constitution of Montenegro
The current Constitution of Montenegro was ratified and adopted by the Constitutional Parliament of Montenegro on 19 October 2007 on an extraordinary session by achieving the required two-thirds supermajority of votes. The Constitution was officially proclaimed as the Constitution of Montenegro on...

 replaced the Constitution of 1992. Amid opposition from pro-Serbian parties, Montenegrin language
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

 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. As per 2003 census results, 63.49% of the population declared their native language as Serbian, compared to 21.96% who declared as Montenegrin, the latter being mainly concentrated in Old Montenegro
Old Montenegro
Old Montenegro is a geo-historical part of the modern Republic of Montenegro. It refers to the territory of the Principality of Montenegrin prior to its expansion and the proclamation of a kingdom during the Balkan Wars...

. The 2011 census results show that 42.88% still declare Serbian to be their native language, while Montenegrin is declared by 36.97% of the population.

Serbian dialects

All Serbian dialects belong to Shtokavian.

Serbian is standardized around Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian subdialects of Shtokavian. Apart from Shtokavian, the unclassified Torlak dialect (it does not have a literary tradition and is considered a low-prestige dialect by some linguists), transitional to Macedonian and Bulgarian, is spoken in southeast Serbia.

Shtokavian dialects according to linguist Pavle Ivić
Pavle Ivic
-Biography:Professor Pavle Ivić was a leading South Slavic and general dialectologist and phonologist. Both his field work and his synthesizing studies were extensive and authoritative...

 (1924–1999):
  • East Herzegovina
  • Zeta-South Sanjak
  • East Bosnian
  • Šumadija-Vojvodina
  • Smederevo-Vršac
  • Kosovo-Resava
  • Prizren-South Morava
  • Svrljig-Zaplanje
  • Timok-Lužnica
  • Younger Ikavian
  • Slavonian

Writing system

Standard Serbian language uses both Cyrillic
Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for the Serbian language, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two standard modern alphabets used to write the Serbian language, the other being Latin...

 ( / ) and Latin script ( / ).

Although Serbian language authorities have recognized the official status for both scripts in contemporary standard Serbian language for more than half of a century now, due to historical reasons, Cyrillic was made the official script
Official script
An official script is a writing system that is specifically designated to be official in the constitutions or other applicable laws of countries, states, and other jurisdictions. Akin to an official language, an official script is much rarer. It is used primarily where an official language is in...

 of Serbia's administration by the 2006 Constitution
Constitution of Serbia
The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia is Serbia's fundamental law. The current constitution was approved in a constitutional referendum, held from on 28–29 October 2006...

. However, the law does not regulate scripts in standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

, 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 document this constitutional requirement is rarely enforced. Serbian is a rare and excellent example of synchronic digraphia
Digraphia
In sociolinguistics, digraphia refers to the use of more than one writing system for the same language. Some scholars differentiate between synchronic digraphia with the coexistence of two or more writing systems for the same language and diachronic digraphia with the replacement of one writing...

, a situation where all literate members of a society have two interchangeable writing systems available to them. An example of diagraphia is the media in Serbia. The public broadcaster, Radio Television of Serbia
Radio Television of Serbia
Radio Television of Serbia or Serbian Broadcasting Corporation is the public broadcaster in Serbia. It broadcasts and produces a variety of news, drama, and sports programming through radio, television and the Internet. RTS is, since July 2001, a member of the European Broadcasting Union. RTS is...

, predominantly uses the Cyrillic script while the privately run broadcasters, like RTV Pink
RTV Pink
RTV Pink or Radio-Television Pink is a popular, privately-owned, national TV network in Serbia. Pink is the leading commercial station in the Serbian television broadcast market. TV Pink has gained a strong reputation for its entertainment programming...

, predominantly uses the Latin script.

Alphabetic order

The sort order
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 of the alphabet:
  • Cyrillic order called


The sort order
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 of the alphabet:
  • Latin order called

Phonology

The following table provides the upper and lower case forms of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, along with the Serbian Latin equivalent and the IPA value for each letter, in Cyrillic sort order:
Cyrillic Alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...


Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...


IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

А а
A (Cyrillic)
A is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents an open front unrounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨a⟩ in "father".The Cyrillic letter A is romanized using the Latin letter A.-History:...


A a
/a/

B b
/b/
В в
Ve (Cyrillic)
Ve is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiced labiodental fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨v⟩ in "very"....


V v
/ʋ/
Г г
Ge (Cyrillic)
Ge is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. It is also known in some languages as He. In Unicode this letter is called "Ghe".It commonly represents the voiced velar plosive , like the pronunciation of ⟨g⟩ in "go"....


G g
/ɡ/
Д д
De (Cyrillic)
De is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.De commonly represents the voiced dental plosive , like the pronunciation of ⟨d⟩ in admit.De is romanized using the Latin letter D.-History:...


D d
/d/
Ђ ђ
Dje
Dje is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.Dje is the sixth letter of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet and of the Montenegrin Cyrillic alphabet, used in the Serbian language to represent the voiced alveolo-palatal affricate , similar to the pronunciation of ⟨j⟩ in "jet".Dje corresponds to the Latin...


Đ đ
/dʑ/
Е е
Ye (Cyrillic)
Ye is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. In some languages this letter is called E.It commonly represents the vowel or , like the pronunciation of ⟨e⟩ in "yes".Ye is romanized using the Latin letter E....


E e
/e/
Ж ж
Zhe (Cyrillic)
Zhe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiced postalveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "treasure".Zhe is romanized as ⟨zh⟩ or ⟨ž⟩.-History:...


Ž ž
/ʒ/
З з
Ze (Cyrillic)
Ze is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiced alveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨z⟩ in "zoo".Ze is romanized using the Latin letter ⟨z⟩....


Z z
/z/
И и
I (Cyrillic)
I is a letter used in almost all ancient and modern Cyrillic alphabets.It commonly represents the close front unrounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨i⟩ in "machine", or the near-close near-front unrounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨i⟩ in "bin".-History:The Cyrillic letter I was...


I i
/i/
Cyrillic Alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...


Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...


IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

Ј ј
Je (Cyrillic)
Je is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the palatal approximant , like the pronunciation of ⟨y⟩ in "yes".-Usage:-Related letters and other similar characters:...


J j
/j/
К к
Ka (Cyrillic)
Ka is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless velar plosive , like the pronunciation of ⟨k⟩ in "king".-History:...


K k
/k/
Л л
El (Cyrillic)
El is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.El commonly represents the alveolar lateral approximant , like the pronunciation of ⟨l⟩ in "lip".-Form:...


L l
/l/
Љ љ
Lje
Lje is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.Lje represents a palatal lateral , a sound similar to the palatalized alveolar lateral which is represented by the digraph ЛЬ and pronounced like the ⟨ll⟩ in "million".Lje was invented by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić...


Lj lj
/ʎ/
М м
Em (Cyrillic)
Em is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.Em commonly represents the bilabial nasal consonant , like the pronunciation of ⟨m⟩ in "him".It is derived from the Greek letter Mu ....


M m
/m/
Н н
En (Cyrillic)
En is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the alveolar nasal consonant , like the pronunciation of ⟨n⟩ in "nice".-History:The Cyrillic letter En was derived from the Greek letter Nu ....


N n
/n/
Њ њ
Nje
Nje is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It is a ligature of the Cyrillic letters En ⟨Н⟩ and Soft Sign ⟨Ь⟩. It was invented by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić. It corresponds to the digraph ⟨nj⟩ in the Serbian Latin and Croatian alphabets.It is used in Macedonian and Serbian, where it represents a...


Nj nj
/ɲ/
О о
O (Cyrillic)
O is a letter of the Cyrillic script.O commonly represents the close-mid back rounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨o⟩ in "go".-History:The Cyrillic letter O was derived from the Greek letter Omicron ....


O o
/o/
П п
Pe (Cyrillic)
Pe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless bilabial plosive , like the pronunciation of ⟨p⟩ in "pack".-History:...


P p
/p/
Р р
Er (Cyrillic)
Er is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the alveolar trill , like the "rolled" sound in the Scottish pronunciation of ⟨r⟩ in "curd".-History:...


R r
/r/
Cyrillic Alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...


Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...


IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

С с
Es (Cyrillic)
Es is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless alveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "sand".-History:...


S s
/s/
Т т
Te (Cyrillic)
Te is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless alveolar plosive , like the pronunciation of ⟨t⟩ in "tick".-History:...


T t
/t/
Ћ ћ
Tshe
Tshe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, used only in the Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin alphabets, where it represents the voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate , somewhat like the pronunciation of ⟨ch⟩ in "chew". The sound of Tshe is produced from the voiceless alveolar plosive by iotation....


Ć ć
/tɕ/
У у
U (Cyrillic)
U is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. It commonly represents the close back rounded vowel , somewhat like the pronunciation of ⟨oo⟩ in "boot"...


U u
/u/
Ф ф
F f
/f/
Х х
H h
/x/
Ц ц
Tse (Cyrillic)
Tse is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless alveolar affricate , like the pronunciation of ⟨ts⟩ in "cats".In English, Tse is commonly romanized as ⟨ts⟩...


C c
/ts/
Ч ч
Che (Cyrillic)
Che or Cha is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet.It commonly represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate , like the pronunciation of ⟨ch⟩ in "change"....


Č č
/tʃ/
Џ џ
Dzhe
Dzhe is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet used in Serbian and Macedonian to represent the voiced postalveolar affricate , like the pronunciation of ⟨j⟩ in "jump"...


Dž dž
/dʒ/
Ш ш
Sha
For other uses, see Sha .Sha is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. It commonly represents the voiceless postalveolar fricative , like the pronunciation of ⟨sh⟩ in "sheep", or the somewhat similar voiceless retroflex fricative . It is used in every variation of the Cyrillic alphabet, for Slavic and...


Š š
/ʃ/

Conjugation

Serbian verbs are conjugated in four past forms—perfect, aorist
Aorist
Aorist is a philological term originally from Indo-European studies, referring to verb forms of various languages that are not necessarily related or similar in meaning...

, imperfect, and pluperfect—of which the last two have a very limited use (imperfect is still used in some dialects, but majority of native Serbian speakers consider it archaic); one future tense
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

 (AKA first future tense—as opposed to the second future tense or the future exact, which is considered a tense of the conditional mood
Conditional mood
In linguistics, the conditional mood is the inflectional form of the verb used in the independent clause of a conditional sentence to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances...

 by some contemporary linguists), and one present tense
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

. These are the tenses of the indicative mood. Apart from the indicative mood, there is also the imperative mood
Imperative mood
The imperative mood expresses commands or requests as a grammatical mood. These commands or requests urge the audience to act a certain way. It also may signal a prohibition, permission, or any other kind of exhortation.- Morphology :...

. 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 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
Infinitive
In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives...

, two adjectival participle
Adjectival participle
Adjectival participles are participles which are derived from verbs and which are used like adjectives. They contrast with verbal participles, which are considered to be forms of verbs rather than adjectives. In English for instance, adjectival participles may appear with modifiers typical of...

s (the active and the passive), and two adverbial participle
Adverbial participle
Adverbial participles are built out of a verb , and in most cases they play the role of the sentence element called adverbial in the grammar of some languages...

s (the present and the past).

Vocabulary

  • Most of the words in Serbian are of Slavic
    Slavic languages
    The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

     origin, meaning that their roots can often be traced back to a reconstructed Proto-Slavic language
    Proto-Slavic language
    Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

    . For instance, srce ("heart"), plav ("blue").

  • There are many loanword
    Loanword
    A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

    s from different languages:
  1. The number of Turkish
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

     loanwords is also significant. Linguist Abdulah Škaljić found around 7,000 Turkish words in Serbo-Croatian, however many of these are in use only in Bosnian, and still more fell out of use. Some of these words are not Turkish in origin but Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     or Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    ; they entered Serbian via Turkish. However, these words are disappearing from the standard language at a faster rate than loanwords from any other language. In Belgrade
    Belgrade
    Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

    , for instance, čakšire (чакшире) was the only word for trousers before World War II, today pantalone (панталоне; a borrowing from Italian) is current; some 30–50 years ago avlija (авлија < Turkish avlı) was a common word for courtyard or backyard in Belgrade, today it is the native Slavic dvorište (двориште); only 15 years ago čaršav (чаршав) was usual for tablecloth, today it is stolnjak (столњак). The greatest number of Turkish loanwords were and are in the vernaculars of south Serbia, followed by those of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

     and central Serbia, generally corresponding with how many Muslims live in an area. Many Turkish loanwords are usual in the vernaculars of Vojvodina
    Vojvodina
    Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

     as well.
  2. There are plenty of loanwords from German
    German language
    German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

    . The great number of them are specific for vernaculars which were situated in the Austrian monarchy (Vojvodina
    Vojvodina
    Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

    ). Most cultural words attested before World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    , were borrowed from (or via) German, even when they are of French or English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     origin (šorc, boks). The accent is an excellent indicator for that, since German loanwords in Serbian have rising accents.
  3. Italian
    Italian language
    Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

     words in standard language were often borrowed via German (makarone). If they were not taken directly from Italian, they show specific, not regular, adaptations. For instance špagète for Italian spaghetti rather than the "expected" špàgete. The most common informal Serbian greeting is "Ćao", after the Italian "Ciao".
  4. Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     loanwords were very common in Old Serbian (Serbian-Slavonic). Some words are present and common in the modern vernaculars of central Serbia (as well as other areas) and in the standard language: hiljada (хиљада), tiganj (тигањ), patos (патос), jeftin (јефтин). Almost every word of the Serbian Orthodox
    Serbian Orthodox Church
    The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

     ceremonies is of Greek origin (parastos (парастос) 'requiem').
  5. The number of Hungarian
    Hungarian language
    Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

     loanwords in the standard language is small: bitanga (битанга), alas (алас), ašov (ашов)). However, they are present in some vernaculars of Vojvodina
    Vojvodina
    Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

     and also in historical documents, local literature. Some place names in northern central Serbia as Barajevo
    Barajevo
    Barajevo is a suburban settlement and one of 17 municipalities which constitute the City of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.- Settlements :...

    , are probably of Hungarian origin.
    • Classical international words (words mainly with Latin
      Latin
      Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

       or Greek roots) are adapted in Serbian like in most European languages, not translated as in Croatian
      Croatian language
      Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

      . For instance Serbian atmosfera, Croatian ozracje, S telegraf, C brzojav, S avion, C zrakoplov.
    • Two Serbian words that are used in many of the world's languages are vampire
      Vampire
      Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

       and paprika
      Paprika
      Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum . In many European languages, the word paprika refers to bell peppers themselves. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from mild to hot...

      . Slivovitz
      Slivovitz
      Slivovitz or Slivovitsais a distilled beverage made from Damson plums. It is frequently called plum brandy, and in the Balkans is part of the category of drinks called rakia...

       and ćevapčići
      Cevapcici
      Ćevapi or ćevapčići is a grilled dish of minced meat, a type of kebab, found traditionally in the countries of southeastern Europe. They are considered a national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia...

       are Serbian words which have spread together with the Serbian food/drink they refer to. Paprika and slivovitz are borrowed via German; paprika itself entered German via Hungarian. Vampire entered most West European languages through German-language texts in the early 18th century and has since spread widely in the world.

Serbian literature

Serbian literature emerged in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, and included such works as Miroslavljevo jevanđelje (Miroslav's Gospel
Miroslav's Gospel
Miroslav Gospels is a 362-page illuminated manuscript Gospel Book on parchment with very rich decorations. It is one of the oldest surviving documents written in Old Church Slavonic, along with the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja...

) in 1192 and Dušanov zakonik (Dušan's Code
Dušan's Code
Dušan's Code was enacted by Tsar Dušan in two state congresses: in May 21, 1349 in Skopje and amended in 1354 in Serres. It regulated all social spheres, so it can be considered a medieval Serbian constitution. The Code included 201 articles. The original manuscript is not preserved, but around...

) 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, and a translation of Tristan and Iseult
Tristan and Iseult
The legend of Tristan and Iseult is an influential romance and tragedy, retold in numerous sources with as many variations. The tragic story is of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess 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
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 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
Serb epic poetry is a form of epic poetry written by Serbs originating in today's Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The main cycles were composed by unknown Serb authors between the 14th and 19th centuries...

. 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
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 and Jacob Grimm
Jacob Grimm
Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was a German philologist, jurist and mythologist. He is best known as the discoverer of Grimm's Law, the author of the monumental Deutsches Wörterbuch, the author of Deutsche Mythologie and, more popularly, as one of the Brothers Grimm, as the editor of Grimm's Fairy...

 learned Serbian in order to read Serbian epic poetry in 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
Milorad Pavic (writer)
Milorad Pavić was a Serbian poet, prose writer, translator, and literary historian. He was also a candidate for Nobel Prize in Literature....

. In the early 19th century, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...

, promoted the spoken language
Spoken language
Spoken language is a form of human communication in which words derived from a large vocabulary together with a diverse variety of names are uttered through or with the mouth. All words are made up from a limited set of vowels and consonants. The spoken words they make are stringed into...

 of the people as a literary norm.

Dictionaries

Serious Serbian and Croatian dictionaries regularly include Croatian only, and Serbian only words.

Standard dictionaries

  • 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 6 volumes, started as a common project of Matica srpska
    Matica srpska
    The Matica srpska is the oldest cultural-scientific institution of Serbia. Matica srpska was founded in 1826 in Budapest and moved to Novi Sad in 1864....

     and Matica hrvatska
    Matica hrvatska
    Matica hrvatska is one of the oldest Croatian cultural institutions, dating back to 1842. The name is somewhat idiosyncratic, best translated as "The Croatian Centre" . It is the largest publisher of Croatian language books...

    , 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
    Matica srpska
    The Matica srpska is the oldest cultural-scientific institution of Serbia. Matica srpska was founded in 1826 in Budapest and moved to Novi Sad in 1864....

    , which on more than 1500 pages in A4 format
    Paper size
    Many paper size standards conventions have existed at different times and in different countries. Today there is one widespread international ISO standard and a localised standard used in North America . The paper sizes affect writing paper, stationery, cards, and some printed documents...

     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).

Bilingual dictionaries

  • Standard dictionaries
  • Specialized dictionaries
  • Phraseological dictionaries

Historical dictionaries

The Rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika (I-XXIII), published by the Yugoslav academy of sciencies and arts (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts is the national academy of Croatia. It was founded in 1866 as the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts , and was known by that name for most of its existence.- History :...

) from 1880 to 1976, is the only general historical dictionary of Croatian and Serbian language. Its first editor was Đuro Daničić, followed by Pero Budmani
Pero Budmani
Pero Budmani , like many intellectual Dubrovnik, was a prominent member of the Serb-Catholic circle, linguist and philologist who bravely followed Vuk Stefanović Karadžić's language reforms...

 and the famous Vukovian Tomislav Maretić
Tomislav Maretic
Tomislav Maretić was a Croatian linguist and lexicographer.He attended primary school in Virovitica and the gymnasium in Varaždin, Požega and Zagreb...

. The sources of this dictionary are, especially in the first volumes, mainly Štokavian.

Etymological dictionaries

The standard and the only completed etymological dictionary of Serbian is the "Skok", written by the Croatian linguist Petar Skok
Petar Skok
Petar Skok is a Croatian linguist, and one of the world's foremost onomastics experts.Skok was born in the village of Jurkovo Selo, Žumberak. From 1892 to 1900 he attended the Higher Real Gymnasium in Rakovac near Karlovac. At the University of Vienna he studied Romance and Germanic philology and...

: Etimologijski rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika ("Etymological Dictionary of Croatian or Serbian"). I-IV. Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 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).

Dialect 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;ISBN 978-86-82873-17-4) Beograd 2008 ,
Momčilo Zlatanović, Rečnik govora južne Srbije. Vranje, 1998, 1–491.
  • East-Herzegowinian 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-Pester 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 Sad 1997.
  • Others:
Rečnik sprskih govora Vojvodine. Novi Sad.
Mile Tomić, Rečnik radimskog govora dijaspora, Rumunija. 1989.

Differences between Serbian and Croatian and Bosnian

See also

  • Romano-Serbian language
    Romano-Serbian language
    The Romano-Serbian language is a mixed language resulting from language contact between Serbian Serbo-Croatian and Romani in Serbia and distinct from the Vlax Romani dialects spoken in Serbia....

     (mix with Romany)
  • Šatrovački
    Šatrovacki
    Šatrovački is a feature of permuting syllables of words used in Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Macedonian. It is similar to verlan and louchébem in French. The term is sometimes used to describe other slang in which words are deformed, as well.Šatrovački was initially developed by criminals in...

     (slang form)
  • Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
    Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
    The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for the Serbian language, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two standard modern alphabets used to write the Serbian language, the other being Latin...

  • Serbian proverbs
    Serbian proverbs
    A list of Serbian proverbs is provided at Wikiquote:Serbian proverbs.There are further untranslated proverbs on this page's Talk page....

  • Serbo-Croatian language
    Serbo-Croatian language
    Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...


External links

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