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(E) Latin as a literary language among the Croats
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  09/3/2004 | Letters to the Editors | Unrated
(E) Latin as a literary language among the Croats


Latin as a literary language among the Croats


Some of you might be interested in one of Dr Franolic's essays on the web, "Latin as a literary language among the Croats":

I just wanted to bring a few works to your attention on the subject of Croatian vs Serbian language.

First, there is a good book in English on the differences between Croatian and Serbian and some of the history behind "unification": Miro Kacic, Croatian and Serbian: Delusions and Distortions, Zagreb: Novi Most, 1997.

Second, Branko Franolic wrote an excellent essay on the history of the Croatian literary language, which included differences between Serbian and Croatian. The essay may now be out of print and only available in French -- Branko Franolic, La langue litteraire croate: apercu historique, Paris: Nouvelles editions latines, 1972. However, it is worth looking for.

Finally, if any of you are interested in Illyrianism, the following may interest you:
Marcus Tanner, "Illyrianism and the Croatian Quest for Statehood", Daedalus, Vol. 126, 1997.

best wishes

Just to add something to Robert Jerin's discussion.

Many people often forget that the official language in Croatia according to its 1974 constitution was "Croatian or Serbian that is the Croatian Literary Language." It was NOT called Serbo-Croatian - the name Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian was the official language of the SRs of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, NOT of Croatia.

The example of English language dictionaries is instructive. A two volume set I bought in the early 1980s (by, I beleive Drvodelic, but I don't have the name in front of me) is called "Hrvatski ili Srpski - Engleski Rijecnik" (Croatian or Serbian - English Dictionary). This indicated that the book was based on the Croatian language. If you bought such dictionaries which were entitled "Serbo-Croatian/English Dictionary" those were in Serbian.

This was reflected in school report cards as well. I have seen a number from Croatia from the 1970s and 1980s which call the subject "Croatian or Serbian." The subject was not called Serbo-Croatian.

This shows that there were already deep differences between Serbian and Croatian during the period when Yugoslavia existed. Even the Communist 1974 Constitution had to respect these differences.

A final point - in the late 1980s Matthew Mestrovic, the President of the Croatian National Congress, testified in Congress concerning the need for the Voice of America to establish a separate Croatian-language section. My understanding is that during his testimony, in response to those who said that Serbian and Croatian were the same thing, Mestrovic pulled out a Yugoslavia Thousand Dinar Note and pointed out that the currency contained both the Serbian and the Croatian words for the word "Thousand" (Hiljada and Tiscua). I thought that to be very clever and an interesting means to present the differences to those who have a concept that the language was supposedly being "broken up" by those "bad" Croatian "separatists" who apparently "hated" their fellow South Slavs so much that they wanted to "create" a "new" language!

John Kraljic


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