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What is Serbian?

Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, which is a Slavic language (Indo-European) of the South Slavic subgroup. It is spoken by the Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania and neighboring countries.

Read Also: Serbian Language Translation

The History of Serbian

Serbian in the Middle Ages

Prince Rastko Nemanjić (1174–1235) was the youngest son of Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja. He later left royal life, and took monastic vows under the name Sava. As he monk in Mount Athos in the name of “Sava”, he wrote the “Karyes Typicon”, which was implicitly the first codification of the Serbian language.

The second reform was during the rule of Despot Stefan Lazarević, of which Serbian ortography was known as Resava school.

Serbian in the Modern times

Before 1400, most Serbian vernaculars had two accents, both with fall intonation (the short one and the long one). That’s why they are called “old accents”. And by 1500, the old accents moved by one syllable towards the beginning of the word, changing their quality to rising accents.

Writing system of Serbian

Standard Serbian language uses both Cyrillic (ћирилица / ćirilica) and Latin script (latinica / латиница). Although Serbian language authorities have recognized the official status for both scripts in contemporary standard Serbian language for more than half of a century, however, due to historical reasons, Cyrillic was made the official script of Serbia’s administration by the 2006 Constitution. But the law does not regulate scripts in standard language, or standard language itself by any means, leaving the choice of script as a matter of personal preference and to the free will in all aspects of life (publishing, media, trade and commerce, etc.), except in government paperwork production and in official written communication with state officials which have to be in Cyrillic.

The Alphabetic Order

Cyrillic alphabets:

  • А Б В Г Д Ђ Е Ж З И Ј К Л Љ М Н Њ О П Р С Т Ћ У Ф Х Ц Ч Џ Ш

Latin alphabets:

  • A B C Č Ć D Dž Đ E F G H I J K L Lj M N Nj O P R S Š T U V Z Ž

Cyrillic Alphabet

Latin alphabet


А а
A a

Б б
B b

В в
V v

Г г
G g

Д д
D d

Ђ ђ
Đ đ

Е е
E e

Ж ж
Ž ž

З з
Z z

И и
I i

Cyrillic Alphabet
Latin alphabet

Ј ј
J j

К к
K k

Л л
L l

Љ љ
Lj lj

М м
M m

Н н
N n

Њ њ
Nj nj

О о
O o

П п
P p

Р р
R r

Cyrillic Alphabet
Latin alphabet

С с
S s

Т т
T t

Ћ ћ
Ć ć

У у
U u

Ф ф
F f

Х х
H h

Ц ц
C c

Ч ч
Č č

Џ џ
Dž dž

Ш ш
Š š


Serbian verbs are conjugated in four past forms. They are perfect, aorist, imperfect, and pluperfect. Among them, the last two have a very limited use. Imperfect is still used in some dialects, but majority of native Serbian speakers consider it archaic; one future tense and one present tense. These are the tenses of the indicative mood, also got the imperative mood.

The conditional mood has two more tenses: the first conditional, which is commonly used in conditional clauses, both for possible and impossible conditional clauses; the second conditional, which should be used for impossible conditional clauses, without use in spoken language. Serbian also has active and passive voice, just like English.

Besides, Serbian has one infinitive, two adjectival participles (The Active and Passive), and two adverbial participles (The Present and The Past).

Those above are just few descriptions about Serbian. More information about Serbian and Serbian Translation, please feel free to contact CCJK at any time.