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Article: Serbian Language for Agencies and Outsourcers
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 04:24
Jul 5, 2007

This topic is for discussion of the translation article "Serbian Language for Agencies and Outsourcers".

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Larisa Djuvelek-Ruggiero  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:24
English to Bosnian
+ ...
Clearing out possible misconception about -"Republika Srpska/Bosnia and Herzegovina " that was used Jul 29, 2007

Pretty good article, however one might get impression that so called "Republika Srpska" is another name for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is absolutely not the case.

"Republic of Srpska or Republika Srpska is one of the two political entities that together compose the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the other entity is the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina."

As for the language of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is nothing left for a debate. Official language of that country is Bosnian language.

Thank you.

Larisa Djuvelek-Ruggiero

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xxxmiro_s  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
thank you Aug 4, 2007

Dear colleague,

Thank you for your comments.

I am sorry to respond with delay, the summer holidays are to blame.

The reason for using a slash between the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina has to do with the previous part of the sentence where I wrote about the speakers, rather than how language was treated in legislation, namely

"...whereas Iyekavian is mostly spoken in Montenegro, and the Republic of Srpska/Bosnia and Herzegovina..."

I might have put it clearer by saying "in RS and the rest of BiH", as the Serbs live elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in Croatia and other ex-Yugoslav republics.

In the opening sentence I used brackets because I referred to political and administrative arrangement and how language was legally treated in one of the entities:

"Serbian language is either official or predominant language in Serbia, Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)".

As I already stated in the article, the issue of languages in the former "Croato-Serbian/Serbo-Croatian" linguistic space is under debate and this sociolinguistic issue was not a focus of the few words I wrote. The focus of my article was the Serbian language and its function was practical advice for an average outsourcer

However, as for the official BiH language I could not agree less with you. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a whole, does not have an official language, or script. Those familiar with the political and administrative organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina know that the issue of languages in BiH is governed by the constitutions of the entities, rather than the BiH's.

BiH Constitution:

Has no provisions on (the official) language(s).

Republic of Srpska Constitution:

Article 7

The Serbian language of iekavian and ekavian dialect and the Cyrillic alphabet shall be in official use in the Republic, while the Latin alphabet shall be used as specified by the law.
In regions inhabited by groups speaking other languages, their languages and alphabet shall also be in official use, as specified by law.

Based on a decision of the international governer of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Amendment LXXI 19 April 2002) this article was awkwardly worded as follows:

Article 7

Official languages in the Republic of Srpska shall be the language of the Serbian people, language of the Bosniak people, and the language of the Croatian people. Official scripts shall be Cyrillic and Latin.

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitution:

Article 6

The official languages of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be: Bosnian language, Croat language and Serb language. The official scripts shall be Latin and Cyrillic.

Therefore, the issue of languages is governed not at the level of BiH but at the level of the entities.

With kind regards,


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Said Kaljanac a.k.a. SARAJ  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Bosnian to French
+ ...
Confusing... Oct 21, 2007

Although very interesting article, some things are, I must say rather biased, inaccurate and even confusing.

In your article you mentioned the morpheme "ъ" saying that it was replaced by "e" and/or "iye".

Actually the morpheme replaced by "e" / "iye" / "y" is "ь". There are still some traces in Serbian and Bosnian cyrillic:

н + ь = њ
л + = љ

Furthermore, the very same morpheme in some cases simply disappeared.

All the feminines ending by "ost" for example (stvarnost, jasnost, pospanost,...) lost their "soft sign" - ь at the end of the word.

Talking about Republika Srpska alongside other countries is almost considering it as a separate State and is rather confusing. If you list the regions, then why not continuing and be more precise saying that Shumadija ekavian was imposed to the rest of iyekavian Serbia and that Croatian Zagorje is also ekavian, yet they speak Croatian.

The same goes with, "Serbian" used outside Serbia. Do really Serbs living in Croatia, for example, speak Serbian and not Croatian? If that's the case I've never heard it when I traveled to Dalmatia (where people speak "ikavian" and not to mention all the regional dialects influenced by the Italian language).

When it comes to Bosnian (which you mentioned as Bosniak), I am sorry, but if you dig up some historical documents you will certainly come across the name used already in the 10th century, which doesnt make it new. The Bosnian cyrillic used in the western region of the Balkans was called Bosantchitsa, wasn't it? So the language used in Bosnia was referred to as Bosnian untill the late 19th century. Also, curiously enough, one of the most ancient dictionaries published in the Balkans bears "Bosnian language" on it.

Of course during the 20th century the term Bosnian language almost disappeared under Yugoslavia educational regime in favor of Serbocroat/Croatoserb. But it just didn't happen. So instead of saying that new languages emerged, I would probably go for the term "re-emerge."

As far as some historical documents are concerned, Dubrovnik Republic had a treaty with Bosnia in the 12th century. The treaty was signed in Bosnian and by the Bosnian ruler. The original of the document is kept in St. Petersburg, while the copy can easily be found in the archives of the city of Dubrovnik. If you go there on holiday, takle a look, it is open to public and not very expensive.

Next time, please, if you write an article about the Serbian language, it would be maybe more useful if you check up all the parallel sources too in order to inform the readers completely about the situation. The latter is already so much complicated for outsiders.

With my deepest respect


[Edited at 2007-10-21 22:50]

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xxxmiro_s  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
oh well... Oct 21, 2007

Dear Said,

I must say I don't understand what your points have to do with the subject matter of my article. It's "SERBIAN language for agencies and outsourcers" !

The purpose of the article was to tell the average outsourcer that when they look for a Serbian translator that it is not the same thing if the translator in question is from Banjaluka or from Belgrade, i.e. that the Serbs live in more than one newly formed country in the Balkans and that the Serbs have their official language - Serbian language, which has two equal dialects - Ekavian and Iyekavian...etc, etc...

I already said that the issue of languages is under debate in the region and I have no intention to debate with you or anyone else on it. Let's leave it to the professionals and experts in the field. Discussing it in this forum would be rather amateurish.

All the best,


[Edited at 2007-10-22 06:55]

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Said Kaljanac a.k.a. SARAJ  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Bosnian to French
+ ...
Hi again Oct 21, 2007

Hi Miroslav,

I didn't mean to offend you or debate, just to clarify some things. My point was simply to say that we should be cautious when explaining some things to outsiders, because indeed there are some minor differences between regional languages/dialects, but also between opinions and linguistical theories behind them.

As I said in another thread on the subject, the real issue is not a language/the languages, but how everyone of us in the Balkans sees it/them and what is the concept behind each name.

For example, does the term Serbian means one of the South Slavic languages spoken exclusively by Orthodox Christians in the Balkans (accents being not important) or is it simply a strandardized language in Serbia and spoken by all its inhabitants regardless their religious ties and spoken as such outside Serbia (accents being important, since it is standardized)? In other words, for this latter example, will an Orthodox in Dalmatia or Bosnia use "ekavian" and standardized Serbian from Serbia?

If we apply the first above mentioned theory, then indeed Serbs in some part of Herzegovina and Dalmatia, for example, speak ikavian Serbian. If we apply the second above mentioned theory, then we are forced to conclude that Orthodox locals in Herzegovina and Dalmatia, for example, do not use standard Serbian and therefore we cannot refer to as Serbian language.

All in all, I understand perfectly well what you mean, nevertheless we should not forget that it is much more complicated than what it appears to be.

Anyway, regarding your article, what would be interesting is that Bosnian, Croatian and Montenegrin speakers take part in it and bring some additional information or clarification. But then we risk to get caught trapped in such a complicated article that no agency or outsources will take the time to read it.

Very best regards,


p.s. I hope you know that there are parts in Bosnia where ikavian dialects are used and that Serbian/Orthodox population living there use it.

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xxxmiro_s  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
My dear collegue Oct 22, 2007

You raised so many issues in your posts that, as I previously said, it would be extremely inappropriate and pointless to even try to answer some of them. Also, I believe some of the issues really don't belong in this thread, including political, historical, etc. Perhaps you could start forum threads with the topics you mentioned, I am sure some of the colleagues would be interested.

I believe you agree a member of a people has the right to call their language by its proper name. I am a Serb from Bosnia and my language is Serbian. I believe I have historical, scientific, traditional, and other reasons to do so.

And I will not even try to list them here.

I don't mind if you call the language you speak whatever you wish. That is your right and I respect that.

Going back again to the purpose of this article and following up on what I already said, when a client wishes to do business in Belgrade and needs some technical documents/certificates/etc translated into Serbian, this article should tell him/her in less than a few hundred words what kind of the translator's product he should expect (something like when we translate into English for the end user in the US, it will be probably slightly different from the British version, at least in spelling and a bit in vocabulary).

The motivation for the article came to me from an outsourcer who told me about how she did not know what to do when a client told her that the translation should go to Belgrade and that she should make it Ekavian.

And, to repeat myself once again, the debate on language(s) is still underway in the region and I will leave it to real professionals. I believe we can't do much except to try to solve some practical problems we/agencies/outsourcers are facing daily. This article was an attempt to do so.



[Edited at 2007-10-22 13:58]

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Ksenija Mincic-Obradovic
New Zealand
Local time: 00:24
English to Serbian
+ ...
Dear Mirslav Apr 11, 2008

Thanks for publishing this article, I find it useful. It is very confusing for agencies and outsourcers to understand the nitty-gritties of Serbian language. I experienced it myself many times.


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xxxmiro_s  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
thank you Apr 11, 2008

Dear Ksenija

Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you find it useful.

Best regards


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xxxmiro_s  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Ksenija, hvala Jun 12, 2008

Koleginice Ksenija, uspeo sam pronaci jat koji se ne promeni kad se "pejstuje". Evo ga: ѣ

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Article: Serbian Language for Agencies and Outsourcers

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