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Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2000 3:10 am

Differences Of Balkanian Nations

Mon Jun 02, 2003 8:24 pm

I am interested in differences of former Yugoslav (and some other Balkanian) nations (Macedonians, Serbian, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Albanians, Croatians, Slovenians, Bulgarians).
In particularly, I am interested in:
1.Language they speaks (and it's group)
2.Religion of theirs (as far as I know, Bosnians and Albanians are muslims, Croats and Solovenians Catholics and others Orthodox. Do they have their own Orthodox churches in each of countries or are they all Russian orthodox or Serbian orthodox, etc.?)
3.Alphabets they use

As far as I know Serbians, Bosnians, Croats and Montenegrins uses the same language (Serbo-Croat), just Croatians writes in latin alphabet, while others writes in cyrillic. If this is true, what actually differs Serbians from Montenegrins? (they speak same language, has the same alphabet, believes in same religion, are of the same race, etc.). Also, ais it true that Bulgarians and Macedonians speaks the same language of Slavic branch? What alphabet do they use then? Also, about Bosnian nation: it seems they are also the same as Serbs except religion. Do they have any traditions? Also, do they (or Montenegrins) had any their own language in the past? If not, does that means that any Serbian or Montenegrin converted to Islam becomes Bosnian?

Thanks in advance for answers,
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Differences Of Balkanian Nations

Mon Jun 02, 2003 8:53 pm

It used to be common to bundle Serbo-Croat (err...), Bulgarian, Slovenian, and Macedonian, (plus Church Slavonic) into the "South Slavic" group. They are all closely related.

However, it's not quite so clear cut; there are still strong ties to other neighbouring languages outside the "south slavic" group &c. and there are differing degrees of similarity within the group. I hear that Bulgarian and Macedonian are very similar.

Most (but definitely not Bulgarian, and maybe not Macedonian) have no article, lots of cases but few tenses, and heavy-duty noun inflection.

Bulgarian uses Cyrillic in a very similar way to Russian; presumably Macedonian does too. The Cyrillic alphabet isn't a monolithic/universal set of graphemes any more than the Latin alphabet is; just as English, French, German &c have their own ways of using it, their own prounciation systems, and a handful of special characters - the same with languages using Cyrillic.

Slovenian uses the Latin alphabet. Roughly speaking, you'll find the Latin alphabet where you find Catholics.
Cunning linguist
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RE: Differences Of Balkanian Nations

Tue Jun 03, 2003 1:24 am

Slovenian uses the Latin alphabet
Or Slovene. Oops.

Using "Serbo-croat" is (IME) a quick way to offend lots of people in the ex-Jugoslav countries. However, there is very little difference between Croatian and Serbian (and Bosnian). All can be written in a common Latin-based alphabet, but some Serbs (and Bosnians) may prefer a Cyrillic-based alphabet, it seems. The two alphabets have converged a bit so they're almost interchangeable!

A friend once told me that some dialects of Croatian have a lot of loanwords from Italian...? It sounds believable.

Bosnia (& Herzegovina) has a large Serb minority. Somebody conjured up "Bosniak" as an ethnic label, to avoid confusion with "Muslim" which should only be used as a religious label (although there is a strong correlation).

ISTR Albania was (until 1990) claimed to be the world's only officially (top-down) atheist country; it's effectively muslim now. Albanian has been shoehorned into a latin alphabet. It's not in the Slavic group; presumably more of the region used languages like Albanian before the Slav influx.

Often the idea expressing "dialects" as separate "languages" (or the reverse, labelling different languages as just dialects) is strongly affected by politics.
There's much more difference between some "dialects" of Chinese than there is between Serbian / Croatian / Bosnian, for example. The term "Albanian" also masks a lot of local variation.
Cunning linguist
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RE: Differences Of Balkanian Nations

Tue Jun 03, 2003 11:40 am

Bobrayner- you are right that some croatian dialects are loan words from the italian language. escpecially on the adriatic islands, where they are so close to Italy. On the island that my mother was born they basically have their own language the islands language is mixed of croatian and italian, they pretty much speak half croatian and half italian. A typical croatian would not clearly understand what the person from that island is saying.


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