Serbia

The official and national language of Serbia is Serbian, serving as the native language of about 88% of the country’s population. The Serbian language is the only European language written using two distinct scripts: Latin and Cyrillic. The Serbian Cyrillic is declared as the official script of the nation by the Constitution of Serbia, while the Latin script is described as the “script in official use”. 47% of the people in Serbia prefer using the Latin Serbian script as opposed to the 36% who support the use of the Cyrillic script, while 17% had no preference for either one. There are several dialects of the Serbian language, with the Torlakian language being the most widespread one in the south of the country. The Torlakian dialect is also considered to be one of the transitional dialects between Serbian and Bulgarian. Other dialects spoken in Serbia include: Šumadija-Vojvodina, Prizren South Morava,  Smederevo-Vršac, Kosovo-Resava, Svrljig-Zaplanje, Eastern Herzegovina, and Zeta-South Sandžak. Modern standard Serbian is based on the Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovina.

There are also a total of 15 minority languages officially recognized and spoken in Serbia, including: Bosnian, Croatian, Albanian, Romani, Romanian, Slovak, Rusyn, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Pannonian Rusyn, Montenegrin, and Hungarian. Vlach language is also spoken by the Vlach communities in the east of the country. The Bunjevac dialect is also utilized by the members of the Bunjevci community, whose speakers live in parts of Vojvodina as well as in southern parts of Hungary. The Bunjevac dialect is a Shtokavian-Western Ikavian dialect which is also considered a dialect of Serbo-Croatian by some linguists. These languages are granted an official status in the cities or municipalities where more than 15% of the population speak the languages. There are five languages recognized as official in the northern province of Vojvodina apart from Serbian, namely: Slovak, Rusyn, Hungarian, Romanian, and Croatian. While Serbian is the main language used by the city and municipal administration, the other five languages are used by provincial administration and by selected municipal or city administrations. Serbian is a lingua franca of the region, with a number of declared native speakers of the Serbian language exceeding the number of declared ethnic Serbs. Hungarian and Slovak are the most widely utilized minority languages which are dominant in several municipalities, with other languages dominating only several smaller villages.

Foreign languages spoken in Serbia include English as the most popular foreign language, with English classes offered to students in many schools across the country. The hard-of-hearing community in Serbia utilizes the Yugoslav Sign Language. The Yugoslav Sign Language is the deaf sign language of the nations of the former Yugoslavia and is used in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

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