What Languages Are Spoken In Serbia: 3 Big Groups

January 6, 2021

What languages are spoken in Serbia? This is not a very easy question since there are many minorities whose language is only official in some regions.

Serbia is a small country in Southeast Europe, located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, with 7 million inhabitants that are mostly Serbs, but also members of some of the 40 different national communities.

As a country of hospitable people, temperamental cheerleaders with a sporting spirit, divine nature, unusual traditions, and a great cultural heritage that makes the entire European cultural heritage richer, Serbia is one of those points on the world map that you must discover and experience.

About The People Who Live In Serbia

If we had to single out two collective traits of the people of Serbia, those 2 things would certainly be temperament and hospitality. Thanks to these characteristics, you will always have a good time in Serbia and feel at home.

Serbia is home to members of about 40 different nationalities, each of which has left its mark on the collective spirit of the people.

Without Kosovo and Metohija, the total population of Serbia is 7,120,666.

The majority of the population are Serbs - 82.86 percent, and the largest national minorities are Hungarians (3.91 percent), Bosniaks (1.82 percent), Roma (1.44 percent), Yugoslavs (1.08 percent), Croats (0.94 percent), Montenegrins (0.92 percent), Albanians (0.82 percent) and others. 

The largest number of minorities live in Vojvodina.

Like all of the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia, Serbia provides a home for people from all over the former republics living inside its borders. Being combined with the many dialects of their own languages, there are dozens of different ways people talk in Serbia. Of course, Serbian is the most widely and commonly spoken language in Serbia, but many others can be heard in the streets. Read on to learn more about this.

 

What Languages Are Spoken In Serbia: Official Language

Serbian is the official language spoken in Serbia. This beautiful but complex language is the native language of more than 88% of the population in the country. Did you know that Serbian is the only European language that can be written using two different scripts? You can use both the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic letters to write the language. Although the Constitution of Serbia recognizes Serbian Cyrillic as the official script of the Serbian nation, the Latin alphabet can be seen everywhere, and it is actually described as the “script in official use.” 

According to one of the many surveys on this topic organized in the country, 47% of the population preferred the Latin Serbian, script while 36% supported the official Cyrillic script. About 17% did not have a preference for either of these variations. 

What Language Is Spoken In Serbia
Cyrillic Script

Children in schools learn both scripts but are encouraged to use Cyrillic on tests, in notebooks, and in homework. However, they can choose. 

Serbian is spoken in all parts of this beautiful country, save a few villages. The language has several dialects, one of which being the Torlakian dialect spoken in the South. 

Citizens of Serbia tend to take pride in their accents, and many jokes and stereotypes exist based on them. It is extremely easy to tell from which part of the country they come from when you spend some time there. 

What Languages Are Spoken In Serbia: Regional And Minority Languages

Several minority languages are officially recognized in the country of Serbia. These languages are primarily Croatian, Bosnian, Hungarian, Slovak, Rusyn, Bulgarian, Albanian, and Romanian. As you can see, almost all of these are Serbia’s direct neighboring countries. 

When we are talking about Serbia, these minorities and their respective languages have been granted official status in both the municipalities and cities where more than 15% of citizens speak one of these languages. In the province of Vojvodina (in the north of the country), there are six languages that are recognized as official, and they include Serbian, Slovak, Rusyn, Romanian, Hungarian, and Croatian. People of foreign origin, usually from these surrounding countries, have no trouble speaking Serbian and are often bilingual.

In case you didn’t know, people from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia understand each other perfectly, as they are essentially the same language that has been changed and adapted by each people. Serbo-Croatian is often the name for this one language. 

What’s more, people from Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria also speak a similar language to Serbian (and therefore Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin), but the differences are greater. However, people have little trouble understanding each other. This part of Europe (the Balkan Peninsula) is special because of this, as seven countries have limited to no language barrier, which presents a giant benefit for business, friendships, and traveling.

Which Foreign Languages Are Spoken In Serbia?

When we are talking about non-Balkan or Slavic foreign languages, English is by far the most popular foreign language spoken and studied in Serbia. All primary and secondary schools and most universities have either obligatory or elective English classes or courses. Many signs in English can be seen in the cities, and Serbian people, especially the younger generations, are excellent English speakers when compared to what the rest of the world averages. 

Other foreign languages spoken and studied in Serbia are German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian.

Lastly, I should also mention that the sign language officially used in Serbia is the Yugoslav Sign language, while the most common keyboard layouts are South Slavic Latin and Serbian Cyrillic.

Main Characteristics Of The Serbian People

What Languages Are Spoken In Serbia

Hospitality

Hospitality seems to be innate to the people of Serbia, and a smile, cordiality and good mood are the main characteristics of the host and a guarantor of good conduct and enjoyment. Hospitality is common in Serbia, and so often that warm and cordial welcome and intimacy above the usual surprises many guests and remains in their fondest memories. So don't be surprised when they kiss you three times in Serbia, because it's a custom here, and when you drink, shout "Cheers!" to return the kindness to the hosts in the best way.

Serbs Love Festivals And Celebrations

There is always a reason for joy in Serbia. Even when there isn't, the temperamental and cheerful Serbian people always find a way to joke and a way to have fun. Traditional events that abound in entertainment, music, and gourmet food are the right place to get to know the playful temperament of the people of Serbia.

If you want to visit Serbia or to surprise your Serbian friend or partner by speaking their native language, you should consider using Ling App. This great app will help you learn the most common expressions in an interesting and fun way.

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