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Purism and anti-purism in present-day Serbian language

Written by Ivan Klajn, this article appeared on the journal Južnoslovenski filolog in 2008.
Unlike the situation in the Croatian language where, as in other languages in the countries under the Austria-Hungary rule, purism developed, while in the Serbian language the easy importation of the loan words became one of the lasting characteristics of the linguistic standard. This belief is also shared with the present-day Serbian linguists and the rare occurrences of purism are noted exclusively by laymen. While in Croatia, from the middle of the last century to this day there has been an incessant campaign against serbism, in Serbia, without too much resistance, a considerably larger number of the Croatian words have been included into the Serbian language as “enriching the language”. At the same time, the Croatian “new speech”, with its enforced artificial coinage of new words and rekindling of the archaisms serves as a warning to what the Serbian language today would have been like if in Serbia, too, there had existed and had been implemented the repression of barbarisms.


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