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Re: Debian in Yugoslavia

On Sun, Sep 24, 2000 at 02:35:30AM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 22, 2000 at 01:41:51PM +0200, Josip Rodin wrote:
> > Since there is no Serbo-Croatian language, they could only translate it into
> > Serbian, as there's already a Croatian translation of the web site.
> > 
> > He told me in private mail that he won't bother translating it, because most
> > of them can read Croatian. I'm not sure if his compatriots will think that's
> > appropriate; I guess we should just wait and let them decide what suits them
> > best.
> Stop me if I remember this incorrectly, since I'm just an ignorant American
> who's trying to become less ignorant:
> Serbo-Croat is a spoken language which is the same in both Serbia and
> Croatia, modulo any regional, dialectal differences, but there are two
> written forms of this spoken language, called Serbian and Croatian.  Serbian
> uses the Latin alphabet and Croatian uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
> Have I got all that straight?

As surely some offended Croats and Bosnians will tell you, this is not
correct :-)

It depends on how you define "language". One definiton says it is 
a dialect with an army, and according to this, you were right some
years ago, but are not anymore.

It is true that all the dialects in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and
Bosnia&Hercegovina are mutually intelligible. It is true that  you can
observe some of these dialects are closer than others, and you can form
groups out of them, and these groups are called "Serbian language",
"Croatian language", "Bosnian language".

It is true that Serbian language is written in cyrillic, and that
Croatian in latin alphabet. Bosnian is written in both scripts.

It is true that Croatian and Bosnian governments are feeding the
respective languages (via newspapers, school textbooks etc) with
archaic words, dialect words and similar, in a stubborn attempt to
differenciate the languages as much as possible.

A not so long time ago (in the era of Socialistic Federative Republic of
Yugoslavia) there was indeed one "official" language, Serbo-Croatian,
written in two variants, latin and cyrillic, with bijective mapping
between the two script, and in two official variants (ekavski and
ijekavski - correct me somebody if this is wrong)

So, Serbo-Croatian existed in the same sense that the italian language
exists today. Or the norwegian language.  Or the english language (minus
the army part). Or in much stronger sense than the Chinese language.
Or Arabic.

And Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian do exist now in the same sense that 
there are separate Norwegian and Swedish (put Danish here too if you
want) languages. Or Slovak and Czech. (the differences and
intelligibility might be bigger or smaller for different pairs of
languages, but the idea stays)

Of course, if you ask (any) Croat or Bosnian, s/he will vehemently deny
that there ever was anything like Serbo-Croatian, and argue that
Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian are three really separate languages, and
give a lot of examples why they are separate. And given the recent
experience in yugoslavian war, this attitude is not surprising at all.

Ok, sorry for this rather lengthy and off-topic response. I am going to
put on my flame-proof vest, and make a debian package or too to
compensate (now if only for each off-topic post there was a new package

Any other discussion, flames, invectives please via private mail.

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