CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Tue Jun 15 03:38:52 CEST 2010

Hi, I am happy with either solution --

a new code for Montenegro (and I note that there seems to be a tendancy to give ever more minute differences distinct language codes)

or with Montenegrin added to the description field for [sr] (possibly variant codes could then be assigned to the various variants).


I went to the site url provided by Peter:
"This premise was based on the fact that they can communicate together to a greater or lesser degree. To Vuk Stefanovic-Karadzic, correct meant "widely in use". Everything that did not fit within this "norm" was declared incorrect and non-literate; for example, three sounds unique to the Montenegrin language (that are used in spoken language even today) were left out of this standardization. This created an artificial division between oral and written language. Even today in Montenegro, many older people and village folk still use the original non-standard language, which is generally more expressive and poetic. "
This suggests that the orthographic difference has a corresponding dialectical/pronunciation difference.
Nevertheless, the information about the degree of difference is conflicting.


Based on the info at the URL I previously supplied -- --

this is little more than an orthographic difference.


However I found different -- and still conflicting information elsewhere:

""Montenegrin is different in many ways," she says. "Take the word for 'milk', for example. In Serbian it's 'mleko', in Croatian 'mljeko' and in Montenegrin 'mlijeko'." "

Adnan Cirgic is a proponent; he plant to catalogue the differences apparently:
'According to him, the most important difference is the dialectical usage of long e (e in Serbian, je, ije in Montenegrin).

"In addition to the 30 letters in Serbian, Montenegrin has three more distinct sounds, of which two are widely used all across the Montenegrin linguistic space. This has also been acknowledged by Serbian linguists. These consonants should therefore find their way into our standard language. Besides, Montenegrin has a handful of other sounds produced by the conversion of the long e which are unknown to Serbian… I am currently working on the differences between Serbian and Montenegrin language. The number of such differences is more than obvious and sufficient to speak about a separate Montenegrin standard.'"

Jelica Stojanovic is an opponent who says that the geography is not right to call this dialect Montenegrin:

''Speaking of dialects, the territory of today's Montenegro fits perfectly (and always did!) into the wider continuum of the Serbian language, as its inalienable part – no speech, no dialect nor a single linguistic specificity or a trait ends on the borders of Montenegro, none of it is 'only Montenegrin', nor 'generally Montenegrin', as the non-scientific circles attempt to portray it. As for the traditional and cultural identification and name-giving, the language in Montenegro, ever since it has a name, has been only Serbian.' "


(Not enough information for a decisive answer from me.)


Regarding Leif's comment that Montenegro is divided between about 60% Serbian speakers and about 40% Montenegrin -- my understanding is that this number has changed recently; many more used to identify their language as Serbian but decided that since they were Montenegrins they should call it Montenegrin (it's still the same dialect that each speaks . . . )


For me the variant subtag is an acceptable solution but this does not give any Montenegrin standard the weighting that Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian standards have  -- at least not in the opinions of some. 




--C. E. Whitehead

cewcathar at 

From: petercon at
To: cewcathar at; ietf-languages at
Subject: RE: Montenegrin
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 18:08:12 +0000

From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of CE Whitehead
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 10:29 AM

>According to,
"Montenegrins speak and write Montenegrin. It is sociolinguistically, ethnically, and culturally a separate language. For example, the Montenegrin language has 33 letters while Serbian and Croatian each have 30. "

ISO 639 codes languages, however, not orthographies. Clearly we have other cases of a single language being spelled differently in different regions, and Region subtags being used to capture those distinctions; e.g. en-US vs. en-GB, though the character inventories in those two orthographies are the same. Assuming the veracity of that claim (which I haven’t personally verified), do three extra letters imply that it would be overall better for implementations to tag “Montenegrin” with a distinct language ID rather than using “sr-ME”? 

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