John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Thu May 1 18:56:10 CEST 2003

Mark Davis scripsit:

> That is different from what I have heard. Vladimir Weinstein, who
> works here, is Serbian, and says that Serbian is written in both
> Cyrillic and Latin script.

That seems to be the view of the Government of Serbia
as well, which says on its official Web site at
http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/cms/view.php?id=1015 :

	The official language in the Republic is Serbian and the alphabet
	in official use is Cyrillic, as well as Latin.

The site info.gov.yu, run by the Federal Ministry of Information, is
apparently in the Serbian language, but in the Latin alphabet entirely.
The same is true of www.montenegro.yu.	I found a claim from an unofficial
source that in Montenegro, "[u]nlike in Serbia, the Cyrillic and Latin
alphabets are deemed to be equal".

Life's Little Ironies Department:  Vuk Karadzic, the founder of the
modern Serbian Cyrillic orthography, was an ethnic Serb and thought
of himself as standardizing literary Serbian -- but his phonological
conventions were based on the Ijekavian dialect, now thought of as
characteristically Croatian.  Although his orthography was adopted for
Serbian, his phonology was not, and modern Serbian, like pre-Karadzic
Serbian, remains Ekavian in character.	(In Karadzic's day, literary
Croatian was based on the rather more divergent Kajkavian dialect.)

I think, based on the divergent evidence, that it would be a mistake to
suppose that Serbian has a fixed default script in the sense that most
languages do.

John Cowan   jcowan at reutershealth.com  http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Most languages are dramatically underdescribed, and at least one is 
dramatically overdescribed.  Still other languages are simultaneously 
overdescribed and underdescribed.  Welsh pertains to the third category.
        --Alan King

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