Ok, so could someone, who knows more about these things than me, please explain to me what the difference between all these languages that are located within the borders of former Yugoslavia is? I’m talking about languages like Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian.
Some say that they are actually just one language and there are just different dialects. I have, just to give you an example, heard that there is just the Serbian language and all the others, like Croatian and Bosnian for instance, are just smaller parts of it, only dialects if you will. This to me sounds like some kind of rationalization on the parts of the Serbs to make themselves sound better than their neighbours.
Some, on the other hand, insist that they are completely different languages, but this might as well be due to certain irrational/emotional tendencies. It might be, for example, due to the fact that the other ethnic groups just try to create themselves a stronger national indentity. After all, if you want to have your nation, a good starting place is to show to the world that you belong to a group which has its own language distinct from other languages.
Oh and what makes me even more dizzy is the fact that there is this language called Serbo-Croatian. What is it and is it a language worth learning in terms of being useful if I visit the Balkans? Some say it’s not spoken any longer, but others claim it is actually just a word describing all the different languages in the region of former Yugoslavia. I’m so confused over this…
Obviously the history of the region, all the politics and the ethnic conflicts and the like, complicate the situation a bit, so it might be quite hard to give me an answer which is a) correct based on the linguistic facts, and b) politically correct i.e. non-insulting towards the ethnic groups living in the area. I would still like to know what the truth is.
PS This is my first message on these forums, so I’m not one hundred percent sure if this is the correct place for my question, but here it is nevertheless. I hope you can make something out of my English. I haven’t used in a while.