A feature that sets Serbo-Croatian apart from other Slavic languages is its use of musical pitch or intonation. It possesses four kinds of musical accent : two rising inflections, one long and one short, and two falling inflections, one long and one short. This musical intonation apparently reflects the earlier Indo-European pitch accent. Grammatically, Serbo-Croatian resembles Polish.
The oldest extant texts in Serbo-Croatian date from the 12th cent. For a number of centuries the literary language of the Serbs was a variant of Church Slavonic , and in Catholic Croatia it was usually Latin, although in the 13th cent. the Croats began to write down their spoken language. In the 19th cent. the Serbian philologist Vuk Stefanovíc Karadžić , through his writings and efforts, accomplished several major linguistic reforms. The most important one instituted the spoken tongue as the basis of the literary language. Karadžić also worked for a more phonetic spelling and consequently for a revision of the alphabet to that end. See also Yugoslav (South Slav) Literature .
See grammars by M. Partridge (1964) and O. Grozdić (1969).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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