Language in Montenegro, main characteristics

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Martin78, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Martin78 Member

    While it is very easy to find resources on differences between Serbian and Croatian, and relatively easy to find out Bosnian characteristics as well, there seems to be next to nothing on the language spoken in Montenegro.

    What most sites will tell us is this
    - Montenegro is ijekavian, just as standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian outside Serbia.
    - Montenegrin uses a few special forms, such as nijesam instead of nisam, sometimes the letter ś
    That's almost all I can find, I've never found a word on the grammar or syntax.

    Here are a few questions I'd love to know the answer to.
    1. Croatian mainly uses infinitives (Želim znati) and Serbian mainly da-construct (Želim da znam). What about Montenegro?
    2. For questions, Croatian mainly uses li after the verb (Znate li) and Serbian mainly da li (Da li znate). What about Montenegro?
    3. As far as I know, the vocabulary in Montenegro is the same as ijekavian Serbian, so people in Montenegro say biblioteka, fudbal, hiljada, hljeb, januar, maj and voz where Croatians say knjižnica, nogomet, tisuća, kruh, siječanj, svibanj and vlak. But are there examples of words where Montenegro would use the "Croatian" rather than the "Serbian" word?
  2. jakowo Senior Member

  3. VelikiMag Senior Member

    Serbian - Montenegro
    "Gramatika crnogorskoga jezika" and "Pravopis crnogorskoga jezika" can be found online. It is not in English however.
    Just like the other three languages, standard Montenegrin is also neo-shtokavian. But in a considerable part of the country, including the capital, people speak with old-shtokavian dialect. In short, this dialect has three types of stress (neo-shtokavian has four) and in some words stress is on a different syllable (namely in nominative and accusative cases). This is a prominent feature of Montenegrin speech.
    Standard Montenegrin recognizes only nijesam, but many people including myself would still say nisam.
    Letter ś changes sj, and according to the standard both are correct. Being that ś has become correct only recently, it is very rarely used in writing.

    Both are used, da-construction is dominant.
    Both are used, da li is more formal. One other thing is interesting here. Following a trend in Serbia, questions are often made with je li (je l'), but in most cases this is not grammatically correct. People are often unaware of this.
    Off the top of my head, profesorica and doktorica are usually used instead of profesorka and doktorka. At least in the south.
  4. jakowo Senior Member


    That's very interesting. So you still have the old accent system before the Neo-Shtokavian retraction (as in many kajkavian dialects)?
    For instance:

    old accent- new accent:
    livȁda ........ lìvada
    junȃk ..........jùnāk
    prīlȉka..........prílika ?
  5. VelikiMag Senior Member

    Serbian - Montenegro
    Exactly. Note that in neo-shtokavian there is a change of stress for masculine nouns in cases other than nominative and accusative, e.g. jùnāk -> junáka, while in old-shtokavian stress remains in place. So for those cases stress is the same for both dialects. But for words with a "fleeting a" there is a retraction of stress to a previous syllable in old-shtokavian: otȁc -> òca. I think this is because stress cannot fall on the last open-syllable, at least in nouns.
    There are other old-shtokavian subdialects, but I am not very familiar with them. My native is Zeta dialect. Map
  6. jakowo Senior Member

    Thank you very much. Years ago, I studied with great interest Pavle Ivić, Dijalektologija srpskohrvatskog jezika (and other dialect researchers).
    Then I spent some time in several kajkavian regions with the accentuation BEFORE the neo-shtokavian stress retraction and with metatonic neoacute.
    In the country, people are actually still using the 'old' accent systems, in Zagreb, however, it's gradually getting lost. A pity!

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