[I'm still 140 messages back, so this might already have been covered.]
> Aren't Serbian and Croatian the standard example of two "languages" that are
> really the same language but are treated separately (a) for political reasons
> and (b) because Cyrillic is used to write the former and Latin to write the
> latter? Are there any linguistic or vocabulary differences between them?
Already back in those days when Yugoslavia still was a federation of
six republics, each of the four republics that use Serbocroat had their
own standard for the language. Or at least so I was told in the
beginning of the nineties when I was reading soc.culture.yugoslavia.
The difference is not only one of scripts. While Croat is hardly
ever written in Cyrillic script, Serbian uses both scripts. If you
watched the pictures from the rising against Milosevic in October
last year, you could see placards saying for instance GOTOV JE ("He
is finished) in Latin script.
As for the linguistic differences, there are indeed difference
between the dialects in Zagreb and Belgrade. However, the differences
between Zagreb and Split are just as big.
But there are ambitious people in all countries that tries to modify
the languages as much as possible to make them more distinct. Whether
they will succeed, it remains to see. There are some 100.000 Serbs
living in Zagreb. I don't think you will be able to spot them by
identifying their odd dialect.
As a final token: here in Stockholm, there are a number of institutes
that offers evening courses in a various subjects, inluding languages.
Some institutes offers lessons in Croat, an other in Bosnian, a third
in Serbian. But no one has more than one of them. Go figure.
-- Erland Sommarskog, Stockholm, firstname.lastname@example.org
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