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Speaking Croatian to a Serb - Diplomacy Q

 Language Learning Forum : Questions About Your Target Languages Post Reply
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JohannaNYC
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Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Arabic (Egyptian)

 
 Message 1 of 38
26 September 2012 at 2:25am | IP Logged 
I joined a local language exchange and there's a meeting coming up this week.
Unfortunately, there will only be one Arabic speaker (don't know what dialect) and one
Serbian speaker. Everyone else speaks or wants to practice Japanese, Spanish and other
popular languages.

Should I just concentrate on the Arabic for this meeting (or just helping others with
their Spanish and English)?? Or if the chance arises should I explain to the Serb that I
know that Croatian and Serbian are two different languages but can we still practice a
bit anyway??

What are your thoughts? I want to practice so I can make faster progress, but I don't
want to offend anyone.
1 person has voted this message useful



Merv
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 Message 2 of 38
26 September 2012 at 3:38am | IP Logged 
JohannaNYC wrote:
I joined a local language exchange and there's a meeting coming up this week.
Unfortunately, there will only be one Arabic speaker (don't know what dialect) and one
Serbian speaker. Everyone else speaks or wants to practice Japanese, Spanish and other
popular languages.

Should I just concentrate on the Arabic for this meeting (or just helping others with
their Spanish and English)?? Or if the chance arises should I explain to the Serb that I
know that Croatian and Serbian are two different languages but can we still practice a
bit anyway??

What are your thoughts? I want to practice so I can make faster progress, but I don't
want to offend anyone.


OK, most Serbians would feel more offended by you trying to lecture to them that Croatian and Serbian are
different languages (which they aren't, since they are mutually intelligible, so they're different variants of the
same language) than trying to speak to them using the Croatian variant. Most would be enthused that you're
taking the time and making the effort to learn their language.

I think your worry would be much more appropriate if you were trying to use the Serbian variant with a Croatian,
although even in that case the number of people who would get bent out of shape is rather small - especially
towards a foreigner.

Edited by Merv on 26 September 2012 at 3:38am

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Chung
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 Message 3 of 38
26 September 2012 at 10:45am | IP Logged 
JohannaNYC wrote:
I joined a local language exchange and there's a meeting coming up this week.
Unfortunately, there will only be one Arabic speaker (don't know what dialect) and one
Serbian speaker. Everyone else speaks or wants to practice Japanese, Spanish and other
popular languages.

Should I just concentrate on the Arabic for this meeting (or just helping others with
their Spanish and English)?? Or if the chance arises should I explain to the Serb that I
know that Croatian and Serbian are two different languages but can we still practice a
bit anyway??

What are your thoughts? I want to practice so I can make faster progress, but I don't
want to offend anyone.


I'm pretty much with Merv on this one. Unless it turns out that you're dealing with a touchy nationalistic purist, just use what you've learned already on the Serb. He/she should be impressed enough with your effort and there's no need to express your view that they're different languages.

I used to think similarly to you after having got my introduction by working through TY Croatian and the designated Croatian section of "Introduction to the Croatian and Serbian Language". However my thinking changed after using what I learned as "Croatian" on Bosnians, Montenegrins and Serbs as well as Croats. I was praised for my efforts to use Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin or Serbian, depending on whom I was addressing.
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Serpent
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 Message 4 of 38
26 September 2012 at 3:09pm | IP Logged 
Better say you're learning Serbo-Croatian :)

Edited by Serpent on 26 September 2012 at 3:14pm

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vonPeterhof
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 Message 5 of 38
27 September 2012 at 9:43am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Better say you're learning Serbo-Croatian :)
A quick glance at the talk page for Wikipedia's "Serbo-Croatian" article shows that this might also not be such a good idea. It seems like to a lot of Croats the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing this term is not the Southwestern part of the South Slavic dialect continuum, but the Yugoslavian attempt at creating a unified standard language to replace both standard Croatian and Serbian. Combine the offence taken at the (perceived) suggestion that Croatian is a dialect of this artificial register with the widespread fallacy that "language=writing", and you get repeated screams of "Serbian language and Croatian language are TWO SEPARATE languages".
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Serpent
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 Message 6 of 38
27 September 2012 at 2:48pm | IP Logged 
Well judging by the posts above, Serbs emphasize the similarities while Croats emphasize the differences. Also just anecdata but at this forum only Serbs seem to list Serbo-Croatian rather than Serbian.

Edited by Serpent on 27 September 2012 at 2:48pm

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Марк
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 Message 7 of 38
27 September 2012 at 3:10pm | IP Logged 
But for practical purposes it's obviously one language.
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prz_
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Poland
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Speaks: Polish*, English, Bulgarian, Croatian
Studies: Slovenian, Macedonian, Persian, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian, Armenian, Kurdish

 
 Message 8 of 38
27 September 2012 at 9:41pm | IP Logged 
Just remember to use the form "da + personal form of the verb" and say kompjuter instead of računalo and everything will be fine.


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