2008-08-01

Thanks for the memos

For anybody who wants it, here is the statement that Radovan Karadžić wanted to make to the Tribunal yesterday (the translation precedes the original text, which is signed).

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why does he write in Serbian using the Latin alphabet? I thought Serbs used the Cyrillic script.

Anonymous said...

Are you implying that Karadžić, the master of disguises, is perhaps not a "real" Serb after all, because he's using latinica? He'd be very offended, I'm sure.

But, just in case you didn't know, Serbian can be written in either alphabet -- Latin or Cyrillic.

If you think that latinica is not Serbian, tell it to the scholars at the Matica srpska ...

... or tell it to the readers of one of Serbia's largest-circulation newspapers

And if you need a guide, check out what the Serbian version of Wikipedia has to say about
Srpska latinica

AR

Eric Gordy said...

It is not at all unusual for people in Serbia to use Latin script. Both Latin and Cyrillic scripts are in regular everyday use, and just about everybody reads and writes in both. In Bosnia and Hercegovina, of which Karadzic is a citizen, both scripts are also in use, although you are more likely to encounter the Cyrillic script in the areas that are now part of the RS.

I am guessing that Karadzic probably wrote his text using Microsoft Word (thin evidence: the letter "i" is capitalised when it is used as an equivalent for the English "and" -- this is an annoying automatic feature of the software, which can be turned off but everyone forgets). И тим софтвером се може писати ћирилицом беѕ икаквог проблема.

Owen said...

Which software? I can't even get accented Roman characters in Comments - or do you mean you use Cyrillic script in Word and then cut and paste?

Eric Gordy said...

Owen, for that you need to change the keyboard. Sometimes you have to activate the keyboard for the languages you want. On either PC or Mac, it can be done with the control panel. Or if you feel like doing it Gutenberg style, you can maually insert Unicode characters.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, but a bit unusual. Why don't the Russians, and the Bulgarians 't double up with two alphabets. Or the Greeks? Is this some kind of legacy of Serb Yugoslavianism.

Eric Gordy said...

It is unusual, but the history is even more unusual. I think for Serbia the main reason is that different parts of the country were in different cultural spheres. But there are other historical artifacts -- the use of Arabic script (but not any Arabic language) in some texts. In Turkey the shift to Latin script was imposed in the early 20th century for political reasons. Possibly some of the reasons here are political too, such as "Yugoslavism." But there are also practical considerations, for example that a book published in Latin script will not lose its market in Serbia, and will also have access to markets in Croatia in BH.

Anonymous said...

I guess this is this a bit like things in Norway where there are different spelling systems and the one you use reflects your political beliefs and cultural background?

Eric Gordy said...

I suppose, but then I am often wrong in guessing who is going to use which script. Some of my urban friends have a theory that people who have studied languages (possibly snobbish code for completed more years of school) are more likely to use Latin script, but at least my observation doesnt seem to bear it out.