Serbo-Croatian also known as Serbo-croat or Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian(BCMS) is a South-slavic language which is spoken in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

South Slavic dialects historically formed a continuum. The turbulent history of the area, particularly due to expansion of the Ottoman Empire, resulted in a patchwork of dialectal and religious differences. Due to population migrations, Shtokavian became the most widespread in the western Balkans, intruding westwards into the area previously occupied by Chakavian and Kajkavian (which further blend into Slovenian in the northwest). Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs differ in religion and were historically often part of different cultural circles, although a large part of the nations have lived side by side under foreign overlords. During that period, the language was referred to under a variety of names, such as "Slavic", or according to region, "Bosnian", "Serbian" and "Croatian", the latter often in combination with "Slavonian" or "Dalmatian".

In the 19th century Serbo-croatian got standardised by Serbian and Croatian Writers,Linguists etc. long before Yugoslavia came into existence. From the very beginning, there were slightly different literary Serbian and Croatian standards, although both were based on the same Shtokavian subdialect, Eastern Herzegovinian. In the 20th century, Serbo-Croatian served as the official language of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (when it was called "Serbo-Croato-Slovenian"),and later as one of the official languages of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, "Serbo-Croatian" started falling out of official use, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia preferring "Bosnian" "Croatian" "Montenegrin" and "Serbian" respectively.

Like other South Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian has a simple phonology,with 5 vowels and 25 consonants. Its grammar evolved from Common Slavic, with complex inflection, preserving seven grammatical cases in nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Verbs exhibit imperfective or perfective aspect, with a moderately complex tense system. Serbo-Croatian is a pro-drop language with flexible word order, subject–verb–object being the default. Serbo-croatian uses the a modified latin and a cyrillic script, both of which are entirely phonetic.

Different standards Edit

Main article: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin Compared

Much like most things in the Balkans, Serbo-croatian is very controversial because people disagree on wether it is one language or not. In Serbia it is more widely considered one language. And in Bosnia and Croatia more people think they are different languages. 

Have whatever opinion about this that you'd like, I don't give one.

Comparison Edit

Serbian Edit

  • Around 10 Million native speakers
  • Alternates between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets
  • ekavian (the reflex of Old Church Slavonic letter yat is -e-; "child" in Serbian is "dete", "song" is "pesma")
  • More German and Russian Vocabulary

Croatian Edit

  • Around 6 Million native speakers
  • Always uses the latin alphabet
  • ijekavian (the reflex of yat is -ije- or -je-; "child" is "dijete", "song" is "pjesma")
  • More Slovene and Latin Vocabulary

Bosnian Edit

  • 2,5 Million native speakers
  • Usually uses Latin alphabet
  • ijekavian
  • More Turkish Vocabulary

Montenegrin Edit

  • 0,3-0,5 Million native speakers depending on criteria
  • Alternates between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets
  • ijekavian
  • Has 2 additional letters: (Ś[sj],Ź[zj] in Latin) (Ć[sj],З́[zj] In cyrillic)

Alphabets and spelling Edit

Gaj's latin alphabet, Serbian cyrillic script. Glagolitic script, Arabica

Serbo-Croatian uses 2 scripts, Gaj's latin alphabet, a modified latin alphabet, and the Serbian cyrillic script. In Bosnian and Croatian, only latin is used. In Montenegrin and Serbian, both scripts are used.The Serbo-Croatian alphabets were developed during the same time and entirely congruent.(the scripts can be transliterated 1:1). They are also entirely phonetic and shouldn't be difficult for an outsider to get used to.

Besides Latin and Cyrillic 2 other alphabets were also historically used:

The Glagolitic script was used to some degree in Croatia from the 9th century until the 19th century. (it also saw some minor use in Bulgarian and Czech)

The Arabic script was used by Bosniaks during Ottoman times between the 16th and 19th century, it's often called Arabica

Do I have to learn all scripts? Edit

Gaj's latin alphabet is used in all standards so you have to know it if you're studying Serbo-Croatian no matter what.

Serbian cyrillic is only used in Serbian and Montenegrin, it can be ignored if you are only interested in Bosnian and Croatian and not at all in Serbian and Montenegrin. In every other situation, learning Serbian Cyrillic is highly recommended.

Glagolitic and Arabica are not used in modern Serbo-Croatian and only useful if you're a historian.

Resources Edit

Please list in what standard the resource is in

General Resources

Resource Duolingo Lingivst Clozemaster Memrise JW languages LingQ
Available? No No Serbian+Croatian Yes No No
Assimil Pimsleur Michel Thomas Language transfer FSI
Sort of1 No No No Yes

1 Serbian is only available from French. Croatian is only available from French, Italian and German

Razgovorajte s nama (Croatian) Edit

  • Schoolbook. Consists of a textbook and a workbook
  • Consists of 3 parts: A2/B1, B1/B2, B2/C1
  • Contains speaking exercises; recommended to go through with a friend or family member who speaks the language
  • Gives some info about Croatia
  • Not available on Amazon; might be difficult to obtain.

HR4EU (Croatian) Edit

  • Duolingo-like course
  • Decent for beginners

Media Edit

Please list what standard the media is in

Music Edit


Artist Subgenre Standard
Artan Lili Alt Rock Serbian
Van gogh - Serbian
Riblja čorba - Serbian
Kerber - Serbian
Pero Defformero Folk metal Serbian
Artan Lili Alt rock Serbian
Repetitor Punk Serbian
Idoli New wave Serbian
Aerodrom Croatian
M.O.R.T Punk Croatian
Vatra Pop-Rock Croatian
Zoran čalić band - Croatian
Zabranjeno pušenje New primitivism Bosnian


Artist Subgenre Standard
Denis i Denis Synthpop Croatian
Paraf Synthpop Croatian


Arist Subgenre Standard
Himzo Polovina Sevdah Bosnian

Shows Edit

Bolji Život (Serbian)

Lud zbunjen normalan (Bosnian) (You can find all episodes on youtube)

Večernja škola (Croatian) (You can find all episodes on youtube)

Children's shows Edit

Movies Edit

Profesionalac (Serbian)

Do Koske (Serbian)

Lepa Sela Lepo Gore (Serbian)

News Edit

Reading Edit

Bilingual text Edit (Croatian) (Serbian, also contains some books in other languages)

Children's literature Edit

Vlak u Snijegu

Plesna haljina žutog maslačka

Brotips Edit

  • The Fact that Serbo-Croatian has seven cases might sound Intimidating. But you should know the Nominative right away and the Dative and Locative have the exact same conjugation so you only really have to learn five.
  • While the Serbo-croatian standards are mostly mutually intelligible it still might still be worth it to focus on one standard for consistency, especially if you like one ex-yu country more than the others or if you're learning it for your family and your entire family speaks the same standard
  • Not a lot of mainstream games have Serbo-Croatian translations, but most Indie games that support an enormous amount of langs support one or more Serbo-Croatian standards.
Slavic languages
Bulgarian Polish Russian Serbo-Croatian Ukrainian

Scripts Serbian cyrillic script Gaj's latin alphabet

Standards Bosnian Croatian Serbian Montenegrin

Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin Compared