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(E) "Serbo-Croatian" Does Not Exist
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  05/8/2002 | Letters to the Editors | Unrated
(E) "Serbo-Croatian" Does Not Exist
Mr. Champion, 
In your Wall Street Journal article "Western-Trained Finance Ministers Are 
Ramping Up Serbia's Recovery" published on May 8, 2002, I found an error 
that is both offensive and untrue. During an economic meeting between 
Albanians, Croats, Romanians, Bosniacs, Bulgarians, Moldovans, Macedonians, 
and Serbs, you wrote: 
While the common language for the dinner was English, it wasn't long before 
Serbo-Croatian took over, especially at the Serb-Macedonian end of the 
The “Serbo-Croatian” language simply does not exist. These two languages 
are very similar, in the same way as Norwegian and Swedish, or Flemish and 
Dutch, but are absolutely not the same. The term “Serbo-Croatian” became 
popular under the Serbian dictatorship when Yugoslavia was forcefully 
created in 1918. It was a Serbian scheme meant to unite the South Slavic 
people under the false impression that they spoke an identical language and 
had the same history and culture. This could not be farther from the 
truth. In reality, “Serbo-Croatian” became the Serbian language imposed on 
the unwilling non-Serbian population of Croats, Slovenes, and Macedonians 
in the former Yugoslavia. The Declaration Concerning the Name and Position 
of Croatian Literary Language was written in March 1967 and firmly states 
that the two languages are not equal. Even though they are derived from 
the same Indo-European branch of languages, they use different spelling and 
pronunciation of words, and thousands of different nouns and verbs. 
Croatian and Serbian are even written in two different alphabets: Latin and 
Cyrillic, respectively. In essence, many scholars find it no longer 
academically or politically responsible to claim that these two independent 
languages are one. Croatia is a free and sovereign nation and has its own 
language. So please correct the way in which you refer to these two 
languages. To do otherwise is to continue to spread Serbian propaganda. 
Jeffrey Bacic 
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 
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  • Comment #1 (Posted by john)

    do serbs and croats and macedonians speak the same language and understand each other in this day and age ?
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