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I learned recently that Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia have applications pending to join the EU after Croatia. So, I was curious hypothetically whether anyone knows if Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian will be treated as separate languages or whether the Parliament will follow the example of the ICTY and classify them as one single language. A Croatian interpreting student colleague of mine compared the idea to having a UK English booth, a Canadian English booth and an American English booth. At the same time, I remember reading that several defendants from trials at the ICTY complained that they did not for instance want to be interpreted by a Croatian if they were Serbian because of ideological reasons or potential problems with nuance.

asked 14 Jun '13, 20:15

charlielee's gravatar image


edited 15 Jun '13, 05:08

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Hi Charlielee,

Firstly I don't think those countries are going to join any time soon (like in the next 10 years) but more importantly only the politicians can decide what happens with the languages - and that will most likely be part of their accession treaties.

At the moment interpreters at the EU institutions may have all of these languages separately in their combinations (and also Serbo-Croat which has been revived at least in theory, and presumably to counter the problem you describe above)


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answered 15 Jun '13, 03:12

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Hi Charlielee,

I'm not really sure about the future EU classification of the languages mentioned nor the prospect of the applications from Serbia and Bosnia to join the EU (Kosovo is a 'banana state' as you would appreciate).

In the linguistic essence both (so called) Bosnian and Croatian languages are a dialect variants of the Serbian language, born thru different political (and ideological) processes in order to justify the existence of the two 'nations'. In light of this it may be wise to separate Australian, American, British and all other variants of the English language and call them Australian language, American language, British language, etc.

Back to your original question _ not really sure as to how the EU will classify those variants of the Serbian language (Bosnian & Croatian) however I have a feeling this will be based upon Geo-political preferences of the EU, in which the 'languages' will be forcefully recognized against the existing linguistic facts.

Regards, Doug

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answered 30 Jul '13, 20:01

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question asked: 14 Jun '13, 20:15

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last updated: 30 Jul '13, 20:01

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