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Thread: I want to learn!

  1. #21
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    croatian girl, i like your post about differences

    but i would not agree completely that people in croatia would get offended if foreigner uses incorect language..

  2. #22
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    Somebody mentioned they separated because of political reasons, but friends, keep in mind that they formally united for politic reasons as well.
    I think you have an interesting point here. Politics can do and undo things that way. I guess even linguists don't agree on an exact definition of a language. So it's always the official ideas that will have the last word. Indeed, nowadays the langages are called different, and i guess tend to evolve more and more that way, whereas maybe beforehand the differences that existed were denied by the decisionmakers...

    When I think again about the example I gave about the french spoken in France and in Belgium, it's interesting to see that many belgian words or grammatical differencies are simply called mistakes.
    I guess in another political context, Belgian-french could be considered as an official language, and those mistakes would actually be the rule.

    There is no simple truth in those matters.

  3. #23
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    In my univeristy in London, you can do a degree in Serbian and Croatian, but the language is treated as a single language.

    E.g. I do Russian, in my second year I got offered the choice to learn a second language, and one of the choices was "Serbian and Croatian" (a a single second language).

    My friend is learning Serbian and Croatian. He says that the only difference is the alphabets, and every so often he lears a word which is different in both languages.

    The same sort of thing exists in Romania and Moldova. In Moldova the official language is Moldovan. Moldovan however is just a dialect of Romanian. Not a separate language.

    I accidently bought a Serbian newspaper the other day (I was buying Russian newspapers, and didn't look properly, just saw the Cyrillic and picked it up). Anyway, loads of the adverts in it were written in Latin.

    But my point is. One of the biggest difference between Serbian and Croatian is that one uses Cyrillic, the other Latin.

    But if you compare a passage of Serbian in Latin, and the same passage in Croatian, how different are they? 99% the same, if not identical depending on the text.
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  4. #24
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    I'm actually learning serbo-croatian, because the book I use was edited before that language stopped to exist.
    In fact, it seems to be more Serbian ("lepo" and not "ljepo", grammatical habits also...) but some texts are Croatian, which means they make a difference.

    We all agree, i guess, that those languages are intelligible, and extremely close, and can actually be considered as one by many linguists.
    But we can't deny that they are not officially one and the same language anymore, and that it probably will accentuate their differences.
    Languages are in constant evolution, that's why it's difficult for anyone to say something clear about all this.

  5. #25
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    The same sort of thing exists in Romania and Moldova. In Moldova the official language is Moldovan. Moldovan however is just a dialect of Romanian. Not a separate language.
    It's not quite the same situation. The Romanian language is a remarkably uniform one, and the Moldovan literary language is exactly the same as the Romanian. It was simply given the name Moldovan for strictly political reasons.

    In the case of Serbian and Croatian, the language(s) are near totally mutually intelligible, but there is an important phonological difference between them and not just a few words that are different for whatever reason. That is how their literary languages pronounce the old slavic vowel "jat", as iblix pointed out. It's somewhat similar to how o's in Russian words become i's in corresponding Ukrainian words. For example, Croatian words lijepo, mlijeko, prijevoz, ljeto, dijete, htjeti letjeti etc as opposed to Serbian lepo, mleko, prevoz, leto, dete, leteti, hteti etc. There are many more examples and this, along with the Serbian "da" infinitive constructs, are the easiest way to tell if something is written in Croatian or Serbian although these differences in the words are not any kind of big problem in understanding.

    This is only really holds true when talking about the literary languages though. When talking about spoken language, things are much more complicated. Ekavski forms (lepo, dete, mleko etc) are used almost exclusively by Serbian speakers, but some Serbs, like those in Bosnia and Montenegro, also use Ijekavski (lijepo, dijete, mlijeko) words. A Serbian friend of mine originally from Sarajevo, for example, speaks a mixture of ekavski and ijekavski words. In Croatia, the spoken language situation is more complicated because there are a number of Croatian-specific dialects that vary greatly with standard Croatian in vocabulary, pronunciation, and even grammar (kajkavski future tense is very different from the other Croatian dialects). For example, the dialect my family speaks is ikavski (lipo, dite, mliko..) with a lot of italian-derived words.

    So the best way to think about is that in terms of spoken language, there are a number of regional dialects that are associated with one nation or another. But there are also three standard literary languages which are national languages, but those three national literary languages are probably more similar between each other than some of the Croatian dialects are to standard Croatian. The literary languages have recognizable differences from each other and differ much more than "99%", but those differences don't get much in the way of intelligibility.
    "In Wenceslas Square, in Prague, a guy is throwing up. Another guy comes up to him, pulls a long face, shakes his head, and says: 'I know just what you mean.'"
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