Question regarding the Serbo-Croatian language


New Member
I've always wondered why ekavian and ijekavian also have this difference in how they say action phrases. Apologies in advance, as I don't know how they're actually called ... cases?

For instance, in Serbia one might say "Hoćeš nešto da popiješ?", whereas in Bosnia and Croatia it would be "Hoćeš nešto popiti?" or "Moramo da idemo" vs "Moramo ići". In fact, the latter of both examples are sometimes also spoken in Serbia, but I've almost never heard anyone from Bosnia or Croatia speak the former. What is the reason for this difference?
  • One explanation I've heard for Croatian version is German influence. If we have a case where we start a word with an adverb then both varieties will use da structure. For instance: samo da vidimo.
    Avoidance of the infinitive is a feature of the Balkan sprachbund. Its influence is, as expected, stronger in the east than in the west. It's actually quite finely graded, rather than being a dichotomy of ekavian vs. ijekavian or Serbia vs. Bosnia and Croatia: the further west you go, the more common the infinitive is.