From the point of view of linguistics, there is no doubt whatsoever that Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin represent “a common language.”
Linguist Ranko Bugarski said this on Thursday while promoting his new book, “Do you speak common (language),” published by Biblioteka XX Vek – and added that this language has been separated into four for political reasons.
“From the political and administrative, but by no means from the aspect of linguistics, we have four different languages,” Bugarski said.
“Everyone can call that common language any way they wish, because the essence is not in the name of the language, but in the awareness that we speak a common language, and that this is something that brings great benefits to – which are pushed to the side and are not being used for political reasons,” he said.
This, Bugarski continued, was the essence of the Declaration on the Common language that was “offered for the signing to the public” last year.
He then revealed that he still calls this language “Serbo-Croatian” – but “with no pretension of imposing that name on anyone,” and observed that in his 85 years, he has been speaking the same language that went by “five or six” different official names.
Linguist Vera Vasic also addressed the gathering to say there are “convincing linguistic arguments” in the declaration, proving that this is the same language.
“When choosing between one’s profession and one’s political stance, advantage must be given to professional knowledge, but the reactions suggest that many linguists are abandoning that principle,” said Vasic.
According to her, “if it is accepted that we really do speak a common language, it could lead to reconciliation – that is why work should be done to raise the level of tolerance and promote the advantages of a common language.”
“The current four languages are four political languages. These are not standard languages, but instead the standard results of politics,” Vasic said.
According to her, this political separation brings with it many bad consequences – the most drastic examples being the so-called “two schools under one roof.”