Most Americans don’t think of Serbia as a travel destination or a place to do business. However, the truth of the matter is that Americans and Serbians actually share a deep commitment to independence. The country is steeped in a history that includes fighting foreign invasions, weathering assassinations and handling political intrigue. Sound familiar?
Once considered a danger zone, this country situated neatly on the border of Europe is now considered a democracy as well as a fascinating travel destination and even a place to do business. But before you visit or try to conduct business with the Serbs, it’s probably in your best interest to learn Serbian. And as you are about to find out, learning this unique language can work to your advantage in other countries, too.
What is Serbian?
Serbian comes from the Shtokavian dialect for the most part. The alphabet is based on Latin and Cyrillic. Since Serbia has a multiple number of ethnicities within its borders, there are actually other languages spoken as well by the Jews, Bosnians, Croatians and Slovaks. Serbian is the official language; however, the government does not frown on those who speak their ethnic languages in their own neighborhoods. It’s kind of like living in Los Angeles, where the majority of people speak some form of English, but Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and even Russian languages are freely spoken in their respective neighborhoods with ease.
No doubt, however, you can get around and take in the country’s deep history and modern social life better by learning Serbian. It’s best to learn Serbian it from an expert who can guide you through the basics using English explanations, videos and exercises.
Once you have the basics down, if you really want to be able to explore Serbia in comfort and be able to gain a deeper understanding of its culture, maybe even engage some Serbians while you make your way through the amazing historical districts, fine eateries and museums, take on this follow-up Serbian course. It may take a little longer than the first course, but it’s worth it to be able to communicate effectively, especially if you are going to explore the country or do business with its people.
While Serbian is the official language of Serbia, it is recognized as an acceptable or “minority” language in nearby countries and provinces, including Montenegro, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia and Slovakia.
It’s not easy to learn a foreign language, especially if you are an adult. Children can pick up on other languages easily. However, there are tried and true methods to learning a foreign language such as Serbian in a fun, fast, and cost-effective way. It’s worth a try to be able to expand your vocabulary and perhaps set you up to take a trip to another country such as Serbia or even Hungary or Romania where Serbian is spoken as well. Another option to learn Serbian comes from a practical perspective in this course. This instructor has taught himself how to speak a foreign language and is offering his insights on how to do it in an efficient manner.
A Fascinating Tidbit
While Serbia may seem far away and its language a bit daunting, here’s an interesting piece of information: the modern words “vampire” and “paprika” have their roots (so to speak) in Serbia. Some may think vampire goes back to Austria or Germany, but it actually goes further back to Serbia and the lore about the “original vampire,” Arnold Paole, who in the early 18th century supposedly terrorized a town in Serbia in the night. The word as we know it today comes from the Serbia word вампир, which translates to “vampire,” which eventually made its way into Austria and Germany and then became a thing of much lore and dark mystery.
A Deeper Understanding
Over time, Serbia has gone through a variety of invasions, colonization and religious affiliations, thus the reason its language is such a mixture. Today, the country is predominantly Orthodox Christian. Officially, Vuk Karadzic, a linguist who developed the written version using phonemics, established the Serbian language in written form in 1814.
Exploring Your Options
Serbia’s centerpiece is the historic city of Belgrade. It’s loaded with museums, cultural centers and a bustling arts culture. Serbia is in fact renowned for its literature, paintings, music and dance forms, as well as areas in science. Native Nikola Tesla, for example, is considered to be one of the most important historical figures when it comes to the invention and development of electricity and magnetic fields.
Sure, Serbia can hold your attention as a travel destination, and add the fact that if you learn Serbian, you can use it to communicate in other nearby countries as well. But taking on the language can also enable you to establish business with the Serbian people. It’s a global marketplace out there now, and the more people you can attract, the greater is the potential for you to make money.
Consider this: Serbia is the second largest consumer market in the region with 7.5 million potential buyers of your product or service. Just like any other modern culture, Serbians like new technological innovations, fashions and anything that makes their lives easier and more comfortable.
According to recent statistics almost every household in Serbia has a phone, and many of which also has a cell phone. And about 50 percent have a PC and access to the Internet. Studies show the Serbs are very health conscious, especially in their food choices, but they are also interested in healthcare and health-oriented products, as well as products that will help improve their quality of life.
Again, remember that the Serbian language is an accepted form of communication in Serbia as well as several neighboring countries. Your initiative to learn Serbian could open your business up to a whole new set of consumers and partnerships.