I do not see the point in claiming there are separate languages named "Montenegrian", "Moldavian" or "Macedonian" when those were actually made up during the communism era and didn't exist before the Second World War. Before the First World War, Serbian was the official language of the Kingdom of Montenegro. People living in contemporary Macedonia used to identify themselves as Bulgarians, and Romanian speaking people in Russian Empire (today part of Moldavia and Ukraine) also identified themselves as Romanians.

I understand such countries need to develop their identity after more than 40 years of communism. However I do not see how it would help those isolated, small and poor countries to develop to deny their common language with their larger neighbor. Having a common language with a larger, more widely recognized country would only help to get foreign people interested in the region.

Also, I do not see why former Yugoslav countries now deny the existence of a common Serbo-Croatian language, although this makes slightly more sense than the above, considering the atrocious crimes each of those communities committed against each other during the 1990s, and the fact that the writing can be either in Cyrillic or in Latin characters.

In French speaking Switzerland or Belgium we have no problem saying we speak French, this do not create any problems - we don't have to claim we speak "Swiss" or "Belgian" - and that despite the fact a small fraction of our languages actually differs (the #1 difference is how we count).

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    On the other hand, in the Muslim world it seems many countries does the exact opposite and deny they do not speak Arabic, and call whatever they speak an "Arabic dialect". I guess it's entirely political in the end...
    – Bregalad
    Sep 3, 2016 at 20:42
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    In Moldavia (also known as Moldova) the principal language is Romanian, so far as I understand. And as regards Serbia and Croatia, I believe that whilst the spoken languages are the same, Serbian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet and Croatian in the Roman alphabet. But the differences do not end there. Whilst the main religion of Serbia is Greek Orthodox, in Croatia it is Roman Catholic. The border was one of the fault lines of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which when it was broken up in 1918 left a hotch-potch of national identities, which remain unresolved to this day.
    – WS2
    Sep 3, 2016 at 23:05
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    Seriously, what exactly were you asking? Your remarks seem more like a complaint than a question.
    – WS2
    Sep 3, 2016 at 23:08
  • @WS2 seriously, this wasn't a complaint - I don't care what those governemnts are doing since I have nothing to do with those regions - however I just ask myself out of simple curiosity about the world. I tried to edit the question, does it still sound like a complaint ?
    – Bregalad
    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:10
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    @Bregalad No; according to my understanding, the StackExchange rules and common practices say that edits that invalidate the existing answers are not appreciated. Sep 4, 2016 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


"Why do they deny it?" — the answer is, they do not deny.


Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti called for making Romanian Moldova's official language rather than Moldovan, as currently specified in the constitution.

"We are ethnic Romanians, although we call ourselves Moldovans," the president said in a speech at Moldova's Academy of Sciences marking National Language Day on August 31 in Chisinau.

"Let us learn and accept this fact once and for all and concentrate on other problems," he said.

Radio Liberty

Update 2017-12-14:

The Government supports the legislative initiative to amend Article 13 of the Constitution of Moldova by replacing the phrase "Moldovan language, functioning on the basis of the Latin script" with "Romanian language", the government's communication and protocol department has reported.Moldpres


Indeed, there exists a certain amount of controversy in Montenegro as per how to call the official language of the country. This article sums it up very well, and the most common argument is:

"The official language in Montenegro is Montenegrin, but it may be referred to as Serbian, Bosnian or Croatian" — Miodrag Vukovic, a representative of the ruling DPS

Being a member of Linguistics.SE community who is especially interested in dialectology, the OP knows very well that the dialects of language always vary. Even the languages spoken by people from the same family may differ by a certain extent. Of course, this difference is very small but still noticeable. Increasing the scope to a street, village, region etc. makes the differences more evident. So we can safely assume that variations of Serbian language, spoken in Beograd and Crna Gora are essentially different to qualify for being essentially different dialects.

Naturally, Montenegrins may prefer having linguistic standards established by their own linguistic institutes, avoiding any dependence on Serbian Language Institute that seems to be responsible for establishing the rules for Standard Serbian.
To better understand the alternative, imagine if Montenegrin and Serbian scientists would publish books "The Grammar of Standard Serbian", contradicting to each other the same way as the respective dialects differ. There would be no problem at all if one of these books were called "Standard Montenegrin".

  • You are right that moldava changed their official language back to Romanian recently, somehow I missed this.
    – Bregalad
    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:25

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