Learn Serbian!

Serbian is a rich language with a long literary history. If you learn Serbian, you can open many doors to other languages and a unique culture of Eastern Europe.

Serbian is part of a macro-language called Serbo-Croatian, once spoken officially in Yugoslavia, but with the breakup of that country in the 1990s, this macro-language is now disappearing in favor of its constituent languages Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian. They are all mutually intelligible and share many characteristics and much vocabulary, but are beginning to assert themselves as distinct languages.

Serbian is spoken by more than 7 million people throughout Serbia and other parts of old Yugoslavia (including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro), Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and in pockets in Greece, the United States and other countries. It is closely related to Bulgarian, Macedonian and Slovenian, and as a Slavic language it is more distantly related to Russian, Polish, Czech and others. Serbian has a long literary tradition and uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but also the Latin alphabet in some regions.

Due to political reason, Serbian was the dominant language of Yugoslavia and gets more attention than Croatian and Bosnian, but if you are learning Serbian this is to your advantage since you will have more resources to learn from.



Free/Internet
FSI Serbo-Croatian This is a very comprehensive course to learn Serbian, but it is much older, based on the old Serbo-Croatian standard, and you will need some more modern vocabulary from another source. But the best part of this course is that you can download it for free! There are a few reasonably priced software programs based on this course - see Additional Resources below if you would like that alternative.

Software

Before You Know It, or BYKI as it is known, is a vocabulary flashcard program from Transparent Language that has lots of little extras, and they keep improving it all the time. With thousands of words and phrases of vocabulary and native-speaker audio, BYKI Serbian is a great supplement to help you absorb Serbian. One of the features I most like is the fact that you can edit and add vocabulary yourself. Combined with other learning sources and a little creativity, BYKI can be an indispensable part of your language learning routine. Best of all you can try a limited version for free! Get your Free BYKI™ Lite download by Transparent Language

Book/Audio
Teach Yourself Serbian
This is a new course from Teach Yourself. It contains more conversational elements than other courses and could be a good all-around course to get started. It will definitely provide the most common vocabulary (and therefore be a good complement to the FSI course above) and be relatively up to date. This course comes with audio cds, and it is inexpensive and easy to find.

Book/Audio
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
This is the most interesting course that I found for learning Serbian. This is one course that teaches the common characteristics of the three languages, along with sections for each language separately in order to focus on the unique qualities of each. It is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the similarities between Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian and learn all three! This is a very comprehensive course, but be aware that there is a textbook, a more comprehensive grammar and an audio portion that are all sold separately. The link to the right is only for the textbook - be sure to add the audio and grammar also if you want it. I highly recommend getting the audio with the textbook at the least.


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- Ferdinand De Saussure