Serbian (српски / srpski, pronounced [sr̩̂pskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, co-official in the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as 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 Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovina), which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. 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, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created it based on phonemic principles. The Serbian Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.
|српски / srpski|
|Native to||Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Serb diaspora|
|c. 8 million in the Balkans (2016)|
0.5–1.5 million abroad
|Cyrillic (Serbian alphabet)|
Latin (Gaj's alphabet)
Official language in
Bosnia and Herzegovina (co-official)
|Regulated by||Board for Standardization of the Serbian Language|
Serbian is a standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian, a Slavic language (Indo-European), of the South Slavic subgroup. Other standardized forms of Serbo-Croatian are Bosnian, Croatian, and Montenegrin. 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).
Figures of speakers according to countries:
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, the Montenegrin language 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.
In the 2011 Montenegrin census, 42.88% declared Serbian to be their native language, while Montenegrin was declared by 36.97% of the population.
Standard Serbian language uses both Cyrillic (ћирилица, ćirilica) and Latin script (latinica, латиница). 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 another.
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. 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.
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. Outdoor signage, including road signs and commercial displays, predominantly uses the Latin alphabet. Larger signs, especially those put up by the government, will often feature both alphabets.
A survey from 2014 showed that 47% of the Serbian population favors the Latin alphabet whereas 36% favors the Cyrillic one.
Latin script has become more and more popular in Serbia, as it is easier to input on phones and computers.
The sort order of the ćirilica (ћирилица) alphabet:
The sort order of the latinica (латиница) alphabet:
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, 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:
|Kako si?||How are you?|
|A kako si ti?||And how are you?|
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.
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.
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, Russian, and German.
Serbian literature emerged in the Middle Ages, and included such works as Miroslavljevo jevanđelje (Miroslav's Gospel) in 1192 and Dušanov zakonik (Dušan'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. 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. Since the beginning of the 13th century, the entire official correspondence of Dubrovnik with states in the hinterland was conducted in Serbian.
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 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. In the early 19th century, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić promoted the spoken language of the people as a literary norm.
The dialects of Serbo-Croatian, regarded Serbian (traditionally spoken by Serbs), include:
Vuk Karadžić's Srpski rječnik, first published in 1818, is the earliest dictionary of modern literary Serbian. The Rječnik 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 Đuro Daničić, followed by Pero Budmani and the famous Vukovian Tomislav Maretić. The sources of this dictionary are, especially in the first volumes, mainly Štokavian. There are older, pre-standard dictionaries, such as the 1791 German–Serbian dictionary.
The standard and the only completed etymological dictionary of Serbian is the "Skok", written by the Croatian linguist Petar Skok: Etimologijski rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika ("Etymological Dictionary of Croatian or Serbian"). I-IV. Zagreb 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).
Podle čl. 3 odst. 2 Statutu Rady je jejich počet 12 a jsou uživateli těchto menšinových jazyků: [...], srbština a ukrajinština
The administrative divisions of Serbia (Serbian: административна подела Србије / аdministrativna podela Srbije) are regulated by the Government of Serbia Enactment of 29 January 1992, and by the Law on Territorial Organization adopted by the National Assembly of Serbia on 29 December 2007.Serbia is divided into 29 districts by the Enactment of 29 January 1992, while the units of the territorial organization are: municipalities and cities and autonomous provinces, by the Law on Territorial Organization.Bijeljina
Bijeljina is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in the Republika Srpska entity and is the provincial center of Semberija, a geographic region in the country's northeast. As of 2013, it has a population of 107,715 inhabitants.Dunam
A dunam (Ottoman Turkish: دونم; Turkish: dönüm), also known as a donum or dunum and as the old, Turkish, or Ottoman stremma, was the Ottoman unit of area equivalent to the Greek stremma or English acre, representing the amount of land that could be ploughed by a team of oxen in a day. The legal definition was "forty standard paces in length and breadth", but its actual area varied considerably from place to place, from a little more than 900 m2 in Ottoman Palestine to around 2500 m2 in Iraq.The unit is still in use in many areas previously ruled by the Ottomans, although the new or metric dunam has been redefined as exactly one decare (1000 m2), which is 1/10 hectare (1/10 * 10,000 m2), like the modern Greek royal stremma.FK Borac Čačak
Fudbalski klub Borac Čačak (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Борац Чачак), or simply Borac Čačak, is a professional football club based in Čačak, Serbia. The home ground is Čačak Stadium, which has seating capacity of 8,000.
The word Borac in translation means fighter in English. Mainly because of the horizontal stripes, Borac's nickname is Zebre (Zebras).FK Javor Ivanjica
FK Javor Ivanjica (Serbian Cyrillic: ФК Јавор Ивањица) is a professional football club from Ivanjica, Serbia. The club plays in the Serbian SuperLiga and has spent last 15 years playing mostly the 1st-tier league, and occasionally the 2nd-tier Serbian First League.FK Rad
Fudbalski klub Rad (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Рад), commonly known as Rad, is a professional Serbian football club based in Belgrade. The club's name translates as "work" or "labour" due to being formed by the construction company of the same name in 1958.FK Spartak Subotica
Fudbalski klub Spartak Subotica (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Спартак Суботица) is a professional football club from Subotica, Serbia, that plays in the Serbian SuperLiga. The club was founded in 1945 and was named after Jovan Mikić Spartak, the leader of the Partisans in Subotica, who was a national hero and was killed in 1944. The club was named Spartak Subotica until the end of the 2007–08 Serbian League Vojvodina season when it was merged with Zlatibor Voda who won promotion to the Serbian First League thus gaining the name Spartak Zlatibor Voda. In 2013 the board decided to return the original name of the club: "FK Spartak Subotica".Gavrilo Princip
Gavrilo Princip (Serbian Cyrillic: Гаврило Принцип, pronounced [ɡǎʋrilo prǐntsip]; 25 July 1894 – 28 April 1918) was a Bosnian Serb member of Young Bosnia, a Yugoslavist organization seeking an end to Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the age of 19 years old he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, initiating a chain of events that would lead to the outbreak of World War I. Princip and his accomplices were arrested and implicated the Serbian nationalist secret society known as the Black Hand, leading Austria-Hungary to issue a démarche to Serbia known as the July Ultimatum.Princip said the archduke was targeted because "as future Sovereign he would have prevented our union by carrying through certain reforms", an allusion to the archduke's reputed support for structural reforms of the monarchy that would assign more autonomy to the Slavic lands. This was a threat to the Serbian irredentist project.
Princip was a Yugoslav nationalist associated with the movement Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) which predominantly consisted of Serbs, but also Bosniaks and Croats. During his trial he stated: "I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria."Princip died on April 28, 1918, from tuberculosis caused by poor prison conditions that had cost him a limb earlier.Kruševac
Kruševac (Serbian Cyrillic: Крушевац [krûʃeʋats] (listen)) is a city and the administrative center of the Rasina District in central Serbia. It is located in the valley of West Morava, on Rasina river. According to the 2011 census, the city administrative area has a population of 128,752, while the urban area has 58,745 inhabitants.
The city was founded in 1371, by Prince Lazar of Serbia (1371–1389), who used it as his seat.Luka Jović
Luka Jović (Serbian Cyrillic: Лука Јовић, pronounced [lûːka jǒːʋitɕ]; born 23 December 1997) is a Serbian professional footballer who plays for German club Eintracht Frankfurt and the Serbia national team as a striker. From July 2019, he will play for Spanish side Real Madrid.Politika
Politika (Serbian Cyrillic: Политика; English: Politics) is a Serbian daily newspaper, published in Belgrade. Founded in 1904 by Vladislav F. Ribnikar, it is the oldest daily newspaper still in circulation in the Balkans and is considered to be Serbia's newspaper of record.Serbia national basketball team
The Serbia national basketball team (Serbian: Кошаркашка репрезентација Србије / Košarkaška reprezentacija Srbije) represents Serbia in international basketball competition and is controlled by the Basketball Federation of Serbia. Serbia is currently ranked fourth in the FIBA World Rankings.From 1992 to 2003, the national team played under name of FR Yugoslavia and from 2003 to 2006 under name of Serbia and Montenegro in international competitions. Following the Montenegrin declaration of independence in 2006, Basketball Federation of Serbia retained the place of Basketball Federation of Serbia and Montenegro as a FIBA member. Therefore, all the results and medals from this period are succeeded by the Serbian men's national basketball team.Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (Serbian: српска ћирилица/srpska ćirilica, pronounced [sr̩̂pskaː t͡ɕirǐlit͡sa]) is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for Serbo-Croatian, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two alphabets used to write standard modern Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin, the other being Latin. In Croatian, only the Latin alphabet is used.
Karadžić based his alphabet on the previous "Slavonic-Serbian" script, following the principle of "write as you speak and read as it is written", removing obsolete letters and letters representing iotified vowels, introducing ⟨J⟩ from the Latin alphabet instead, and adding several consonant letters for sounds specific to Serbian phonology. During the same period, Croatian linguists led by Ljudevit Gaj adapted the Latin alphabet, in use in western South Slavic areas, using the same principles. As a result of this joint effort, Cyrillic and Latin alphabets for Serbo-Croatian have a complete one-to-one congruence, with the Latin digraphs Lj, Nj, and Dž counting as single letters.
Vuk's Cyrillic alphabet was officially adopted in Serbia in 1868, and was in exclusive use in the country up to the inter-war period. Both alphabets were co-official in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and later in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Due to the shared cultural area, Gaj's Latin alphabet saw a gradual adoption in Serbia since, and both scripts are used to write modern standard Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian; Croatian only uses the Latin alphabet. In Serbia, Cyrillic is seen as being more traditional, and has the official status (designated in the Constitution as the "official script", compared to Latin's status of "script in official use" designated by a lower-level act). It is also an official script in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, along with Latin.
The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was used as a basis for the Macedonian alphabet with the work of Krste Misirkov and Venko Markovski.Serbian cuisine
Serbian cuisine (Serbian: српска кухиња/srpska kuhinja) is the traditional cuisine of Serbia, sharing characteristics with the rest of the Balkan nations (especially former Yugoslavia).
Historically, Serbian food is characterized by a mixture of Byzantine–Greek, Mediterranean, Turkish–Oriental and cuisine of Austro–Hungarian Empire, as well as medieval Slavic influences. Serbian law bans production and import of genetically modified food (GMO), which has caused a long-running dispute with the World Trade Organization, preventing the country from becoming a member of the organization.Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian ( (listen); srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски; also called Serbo-Croat , Serbo-Croat-Bosnian [SCB], Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian [BCS], or Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian [BCMS]) is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties.
South Slavic dialects historically formed a continuum. The turbulent history of the area, particularly due to expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in a patchwork of dialectal and religious differences. Due to population migrations, Shtokavian became the most widespread dialect in the western Balkans, intruding westwards into the area previously occupied by Chakavian and Kajkavian (which further blend into Slovenian in the northwest). Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs differ in religion and were historically often part of different cultural circles, although a large part of the nations have lived side by side under foreign overlords. During that period, the language was referred to under a variety of names, such as "Slavic" in general or "Serbian", "Croatian", "Bosnian", "Slavonian" or "Dalmatian" in particular. In a classicizing manner, it was also referred to as "Illyrian".
The process of linguistic standardization of Serbo-Croatian was originally initiated in the mid-19th-century Vienna Literary Agreement by Croatian and Serbian writers and philologists, decades before a Yugoslav state was established. From the very beginning, there were slightly different literary Serbian and Croatian standards, although both were based on the same Shtokavian subdialect, Eastern Herzegovinian. In the 20th century, Serbo-Croatian served as the official language of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (when it was called "Serbo-Croato-Slovenian"), and later as one of the official languages of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The breakup of Yugoslavia affected language attitudes, so that social conceptions of the language separated on ethnic and political lines. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia, Bosnian has likewise been established as an official standard in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and there is an ongoing movement to codify a separate Montenegrin standard. Serbo-Croatian thus generally goes by the names Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and sometimes Montenegrin and Bunjevac.Like other South Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian has a simple phonology, with the common five-vowel system and twenty-five consonants. Its grammar evolved from Common Slavic, with complex inflection, preserving seven grammatical cases in nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Verbs exhibit imperfective or perfective aspect, with a moderately complex tense system. Serbo-Croatian is a pro-drop language with flexible word order, subject–verb–object being the default. It can be written in Serbian Cyrillic or Gaj's Latin alphabet, whose thirty letters mutually map one-to-one, and the orthography is highly phonemic in all standards.Smederevo
Smederevo (Serbian Cyrillic: Смедерево, pronounced [smêdereʋo] (listen)) is a city and the administrative center of the Podunavlje District in eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) downstream of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
According to the 2011 census, the city has a population of 64,105, with 108,209 people living in its administrative area.
Its history starts in the 1st century BC, after the conquest of the Roman Empire, when there existed a settlement by the name of Vinceia. The modern city traces its roots back to the late Middle Ages when it was the capital (1430–39, and 1444–59) of the last independent Serbian state before Ottoman conquest.
Smederevo is said to be the city of iron (Serbian: gvožđe) and grapes (grožđe).University of Belgrade
The University of Belgrade (Serbian: Универзитет у Београду / Univerzitet u Beogradu) is a public university in Serbia. It is the oldest and largest university in Serbia, and one of the most important educational and research centers in Southeast Europe.
Founded in 1808 as the Belgrade Higher School in revolutionary Serbia, by 1838 it merged with the Kragujevac-based departments into a single university. The University has around 75,000 students and over 6,400 members of academic staff. Since its founding, the University has educated more than 378,000 bachelors, around 25,100 magisters, 29,000 specialists and 14,670 doctors. The University comprises 31 faculties, 12 research institutes, the university library, and 9 university centres. The faculties are organized into 4 groups: social sciences and humanities; medical sciences; natural sciences and mathematics; and technological sciences.
On the prestigious Shanghai Ranking (ARWU), the University of Belgrade ranks between 201st and 300th place, according to the most recent (2016) global ranking. In 2014, it ranked 151-200, specifically in the areas of mathematics and physics.Užice
Užice (Serbian Cyrillic: Ужице, pronounced [ûʒit͡se] (listen)) is a city and the administrative centre of the Zlatibor District in western Serbia. It is located on the banks of the river Đetinja. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 59,747, while its administrative area comprises a total of 78,040 inhabitants.Šid
Šid (Serbian Cyrillic: Шид, pronounced [ʃîːd]) is a town and municipality located in the Srem District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It has a population of 14,893, while the municipality has 34,188 inhabitants.