Serbo-Croatian Srpskohrvatski Jezik, South Slavic
language that is the native language of most speakers in Serbia, Montenegro,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. It historically served as an important
secondary language in Slovenia and Macedonia. The Croats, who are Roman
Catholic and who lived for centuries under Venetian or Austro-Hungarian rule,
and the Serbs, who are Eastern Orthodox in religion and who, after a short
period of independence, lived for five centuries under Turkish domination,
have adopted distinct standard (literary) forms, Croatian and Serbian; with
the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Bosnian form must also be
recognized. Vocabulary and pronunciation differences exist among the three but
form no real barrier to communication. The Croats and Bosnians use the Roman,
or Latin, alphabet; the Serbs and Montenegrins of present-day Yugoslavia use
Cyrillic. (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)
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