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Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is divided between the four mutually intelligible standard varieties of Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin.


  • The people of Bosnia -- meaning Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs -- could each say they're speaking their own, individual language. They say that it's their national language, and that it's not for Europe, Belgrade, or Zagreb to decide differently... The same is true for Montenegrins. If they think Montenegrin is a distinct language, then basically it is. If on the other hand they decide to share a language with Serbs or Croats, that would work just as well. But the tendency here is to see each of these languages as special and distinct.
  • When several nations or countries speak a common language, linguists do not list all these peoples in the name of the language because that would be too long a name... In our case, linguists introduced a two-part name in the 19th century, and today's linguists have inherited it, just like today's chemists inherited terms in chemistry, or as American linguists inherited the name for their language. The edges of the tongue are named with the two-part name model, and the central zone is not necessarily named when the edges are known. This is the same as with Indo-European names, the edges are named, and the central zones of Armenian and Persian are not. I must point out that all these names only bind linguists and not ordinary people, they can call the language whatever they want, and they don't have to call it at all.
  • When foreigners come to our country ... they point out that in Zagreb they are told that they speak Croatian very well, in Belgrade that they speak Serbian very well, and in Sarajevo that they speak Bosnian very well, and they always say the same thing. But how can a resident, let's say, from Posavina, let's say, a Croat, find it acceptable to claim that he and a Dalmatian, not to mention a Zagorac, speak the same Croatian language, and that he and his neighbor, a Bosniak or a Serb with whom he communicates on a daily basis, do not speak the same, but different languages.
    • Josip Baotić, translated quote from "Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and its Disintegration" (2004) by Robert D. Greenberg, New York: Oxford University Press, page 153, ISBN 9780191514555

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