Serbian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Serbia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia by
about 9-10 million people. It is official in Serbia, and is the
principal language of the Serbs.
Serbian at a glance
Native name: српски / srpski [sr̩̂pskiː]
Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Balto-Slavic, Slavic, South Slavic, Western, Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, Neo-Shtokavian, Eastern Herzegovinian
Number of speakers: c. 9-10 million
Spoken in: Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, and neighboring regions
First written: 11th century
Writing system: Glagolitic, Cyrillic and Latin alphabets
Status: official language in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recognised minotiry language in Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Macedonia and Romania.
The Glagolitic alphabet was originally use to write Serbian from the 11th
century. It was later replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet, and the modern Serbian
Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by the Serbian linguist
Vuk Karadžić, and the Serbian Latin alphabet was designed
by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830. Serbian is currently written
with both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, which are both officially
recognised, although Cyrillic was made the official script of Serbia's
government in 2006. Literate Serbians are able to read and write their
language in both scripts, and media organisations typically choose
to use one or the other.
Up to the mid 19th century there was no standard written form
of Serbian, but there was extensive literature. In 1850 a group of
Serbian and Croatian writers and linguists decided to create a standard
written form based on the widely-used Štokavian dialect. The modern
Serbian literary standard developed from this written form, which was the
official language of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, between 1918 and 1991. After Yugoslavia broke up
in the 1991 separate written and spoken languages began to emerge in the
different countries that made up the former Yugoslavia
Serbian contains many loan words from Greek and Turkish, and continues
to borrow new words from various languages. It is closely related to and
mutually intelligible with Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin.
For more information see an article about Serbo-Croatian language issues.
Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (ћирилица)
This chart shows the Cyrillic alphabet for Serbian in printed and
cursive styles, with the names of the letters, their Latin equivalents,
and their IPA transcriptions.
Serbian Latin alphabet (latinica)
Sample text in Serbian in the Cyrillic
Сва људска бића рађају се слободна и једнака у достојанству и правима. Она су обдарена разумом и свешћу и треба једни према другима да поступају у духу братства.
Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (cursive)
Sample text in Serbian in the Latin alphabet
Sva ljudska bića rađaju se slobodna i jednaka u dostojanstvu
i pravima. Ona su obdarena razumom i svešću i treba jedni prema
drugima da postupaju u duhu bratstva.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)