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English and Other Languages Change Serbian

Natasa Popovic
Photo: Sandy Peters
People who settle in a new country often accept the language of that country, but to a lesser degree they also influence the language of the new country.

 

Natasa Popovic from Yugoslavia

People say that languages are alive and constantly changing. They are influenced by many factors. For me two of the most important factors in this process are the degree of migration of people and the economic power of a country.

People who settle in a new country often accept the language of that country, but to a lesser degree they also influence the language of the new country.

I was very surprised when I started to research the roots of some Serbian words. I found that many words have roots in the languages of the Middle East. Serbia was occupied several times by people from the Middle East. They brought not only their people, but also some words. Many of our very common, popular words such as kiosk, karavan (caravan) and yoghurt have roots in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.

But on the other hand, the economic power of the U.S.A. and Western Europe has also brought new words into our language. I cannot find a Serbian word for sandwich or cafe. They have been accepted as purely Serbian words. There are no Serbian equivalents.

Nowadays, the use of English high-tech words has become widespread: computer, e-mail, cell phone... It seems that there is only one language in the world for high tech.

Really, I don't know if this phenomenon is good or not. Saving your language from others is important, but impossible.


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