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Serbian language

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Serbian or Serb (in its own language: српски, srpski) is a Slavic language belonging to the Serbo-Croatian diasystem, spoken by Serbian people and Montenegrin people. It is the state language of Serbia and Montenegro and one of the state languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

The state of Montenegro states that its official language is Montenegrin (црногорски, crnogorski). In fact, there is no real difference between standard Serbian and what is called the Montenegrin language. The few intents to create a new, diverging Montenegrin standard variety have not been fully implemented yet.

Writing system

Serbian may be written with the Cyrillic alphabet (ћирилица, ćirilica) or with the Latin alphabet (latinica). In Serbia, only the Cyrillic script is official but the Latin script is also widely used. It is very easy to switch from one to another writing system thanks to a simple system of correspondence. This coexistence of two alphabets resembles the situation of Belarussian.

The alphabetic order is different between the two systems.

  • Cyrillic order (called азбука, azbuka): А Б В Г Д Ђ Е Ж З И Ј К Л Љ М Н Њ О П Р С Т Ћ У Ф Х Ц Ч Џ Ш
  • Latin order (called abeceda): A B C Č Ć D Dž Đ E F G H I J K L Lj M N Nj O P R S Š T U V Z Ž
Serbian Alphabets
Cyrillic letter Cyrillic
letter name
Latin letter Latin
letter name
Pronunciation
(IPA)
Pronunciation
(English
approximate equivalent)
A, a a A, a a [a] a in "father", u in "cut"
Б, б бе B, b be [b] b
В, в ве V, v ve [ʋ] Resembles v.
Г, г ге G, g ge [g] g in "give"
Д, д де D, d de [d] d
Ђ, ђ ђе Đ, đ
(Dj, dj is an unofficial,
foreign transcripcion)
đe [dʑ] dy in "good year"
E, e e E, e e [e] e in "let"
Ж, ж же Ž, ž že [ʒ] s in "pleasure"
З, з зе Z, z ze [z] z
И, и и I, i i [i] i in "link"
J, j је J, j je [j] y in "yet"
К, к ка K, k ka [k] k
Л, л ле L, l le [l] l
Љ, љ ље Lj, lj lje [ʎ] li in "million"
М, м ме M, m me [m] m
Н, н не N, n ne [n] n
Њ, њ ње Nj, nj nje [ɲ] ni in "onion"
O, o o O, o o [o] aw in "saw", o in "song"
П, п пе P, p pe [p] p
Р, p ре R, r re [r] rolled r
C, c се S, s se [s] s
T, т те T, t te [t] t
Ћ, ћ ће Ć, ć će [tɕ] ty in "let you"
У, y у U, u u [u] oo in "look" or "soon"
Ф, ф фе F, f fe [f] f
X, x ха H, h ha [x] Scottish ch in "loch"
Ц, ц це C, c ce [ts] ts
Ч, ч че Č, č če [tʃ] ch in "such"
Џ, џ џе DŽ, dž dže [dʒ] j
Ш, ш ша Š, š ša [ʃ] sh