The official language of Serbia is Serbian which is a variety of Serbo-Croatian. Serbian is noteworthy because it uses two types of writing systems for the same language: Latin and Cyrillic. While the Serbian Latin alphabet was designed in 1830 by Ljudevit Gaj the nation’s Cyrillic alphabet was created in 1814 by Vuk Karadžić. In 2006 Serbia declared Cyrillic as the official script of its government. The modern Serbian Cyrillic alphabet includes thirty letters with twenty five consonants and five vowels.

88% of the country’s population speaks Serbian. An estimated nine to ten million people speak this language not only in Serbia but also the neighboring countries of Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. Other minority languages include Albanian, Bosnian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Croatian, Bulgarian, and Rusyn. While Serbian Cyrillic is the nation’s official script Latin is regarded as the "script in official use". According to a 2014 national survey some 36% of Serbia’s residents preferred the Cyrillic alphabet while the Latin version was popular with 47% of the people.

Basic Serbian phrases include “Здраво. Zdravo, “for a simple hello and “Kaкo стe? Kako ste?” meaning how are you? Another useful phrase, “Дpaгo ми je. Drago mi je,” in English can be translated to “pleased to meet you”. In Serbian the words yes and no translate to “Да. Da” for the affirmative and “Не. Ne,” for a negative response.

Among the recognized minority languages in Serbia are Slovak, Hungarian, Bosnian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Romanian, and Rusyn. The languages of these neighboring eastern European countries are spoken throughout the nation. Over 15% of Serbia’s population is a member of an ethnic minority. While approximately 83% of the national population is considered to be Serbian about 3.5% are Hungarians, with members of the Roma and Bosniak community each making up about 2% of the total population.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018