Language in Yugoslavia: Slovenian; Macedonian; Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (BCS)

  • skye

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    Google says that Ulcijn is in Montenegro.

    Wikipedija says there are debates going on as to whether Montenegrian should be established as the official language of the state, but as far as I know Serbian is the official language now. Maybe others have more information on this.


    What would I do without google and wikipedia? :D
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    Montenegrian is already proclaimed to be the official language of Montenegro. But let's leave politics and politicians aside. Official languages of ex-Yugoslavia were:

    Serbo-Croat (or Croato-Serbian), which was spoken in Croatia, Bosnia&Hercegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, with small dialectal differences.

    Macedonian, which was spoken in Macedonia

    Slovenian, which was spoken in Slovenia

    Areas/towns inhabited by people of so-called "national minorities" had also right to use "other official language" and to have bilingual official signs and forms, also to learn their own language in schools.

    After the separation of Yugoslav republics, each of them insisted on having its own language. Names like "Croatian", "Bosnian", "Serbian", "Montenegrian" are just formal, and all the serious linguists support the theory that it's one language. We common people don't mind as long as we are able to understand each other.

    A small curiosity: People from northern Serbia often can't understand people from southern Serbia. People from northern Croatia often can't understand people from southern Croatia. But people from northern Serbia and northern Croatia understand each other without a problem. :)
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Montenegrian is already proclaimed to be the official language of Montenegro. But let's leave politics and politicians aside. Official languages of ex-Yugoslavia were:

    Serbo-Croat (or Croato-Serbian), which was spoken in Croatia, Bosnia&Hercegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, with small dialectal differences.

    It was actually a bit more complicated than that.

    When it comes to the standard language, there existed at least two distinct standards -- the Croatian and the Serbian one -- which were similar enough to be mutually intelligible easily, but still had substantial differences in some parts of vocabulary, and also had some relatively minor grammatical and orthographical differences.

    If you wanted to write in Serbo-Croat, you had to decide which one of these standards to follow and stick to it consistently. In Bosnia, the standard language was the ijekavian version of the Serbian standard, with some minor differences in vocabulary (so this arguably constituted the third standard). Note that these differences were not dialectal, since these were artificial standard languages. Nowadays, these three standards are considered as separate official languages of these countries, and the fourth (Montenegrin) one is in the making.

    As for the vernacular dialects, there exists a dialect continuum throughout the South Slavic area (or rather existed before the standard languages became dominant in the modern age). Nowadays, fewer and fewer people are speaking the original folkish dialects of their area; most of them speak some mix between their regional dialect and the standard. However, when spoken in their original form, more or less all of the neighboring dialects are mutually intelligible, but the differences grow rapidly with distance. In many places, the speakers of dialects living only 50-100km apart have major difficulties in communication if they don't know the standard language -- and at longer distances, totally different languages merge more or less seamlessly into each other (Slovenian and Bulgarian are as different as, say, Portuguese and French, but each one is very similar to the neighboring dialects across the border in Croatia and Serbia).

    A small curiosity: People from northern Serbia often can't understand people from southern Serbia. People from northern Croatia often can't understand people from southern Croatia. But people from northern Serbia and northern Croatia understand each other without a problem. :)
    Southern Serbian Torlak dialects form a close continuum with Macedonian and Bulgarian, whose grammar is extremely different from the other South Slavic languages. Basically, the further southeast you go in Serbia, the fewer cases there are in the local dialect, until they all disappear and the definte article appears -- and then you suddenly realize that people are speaking Bulgarian or Macedonian. :D As for Northern Croatia and Northern Serbia, what you write holds only for the speakers of Shtokavian dialects. Kajkavian dialects from Northwestern Croatia, especially those from Medjimurje, are barely intelligible for any South Slavic speaker who hasn't been exposed to them.
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    It was actually a bit more complicated than that.

    Exactly, I just tried to simplify things. Everything you wrote is absolutely accurate. But I doubt that many people will understand what's ekavica or ijekavica (or ikavica - well THAT complicates things even more), or štokavski or novoštokavski or kajkavski or čakavski, what are the differences between "varijetet", "govor", "dijalekt" etc... (You know our good old proverb: "Call me even a pot, just don't break me." :) My family is a Croatian-Bosnian-Serbian mix, so I must take a neutral side. :) )

    Just a small correction: when I mentioned south-eastern Serbia, I meant prizrensko-timočki dialect, which is the oldest and closest to Medieval Slavic of all the Serbian dialects, but it has become almost incomprehensible for the speakers of the "official" modern language. But let's not confuse people. We'll go out of topic. :)
     
    Top