Wiktionary:About Serbo-Croatian

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Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language spoken in the modern-day states of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. Today, each of those states regulates its own standard variety of the language, termed Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, and Montenegrin, respectively. All four standard varieties are based on the same subdialect (Eastern Herzegovinian) of the same dialect (Shtokavian) of Serbo-Croatian; they are mutually intelligible and have almost identical vocabulary and grammar. They are therefore treated as a single language on Wiktionary under the header ==Serbo-Croatian==. Other dialects of Serbo-Croatian, such as Old Shtokavian, Kajkavian, and Chakavian, are also treated under this header. Context tags indicate words which are restricted to one or more dialects (Kajkavian, etc) or subdialects/standard varieties (Croatian, etc). All words which meet Wiktionary's general criteria for inclusion are allowed, regardless of which dialect or subdialect/standard variety they are used in.

Alternative forms of the same word (e.g. IjekavianEkavian pairs), or words that are confined to a specific standard or a region, should be handled by means described below.

Entry formatEdit

You are advised to read Wiktionary:Entry layout explained before continuing; it sets forth general formatting rules for entries.


Serbo-Croatian entries should begin with the L2 header ==Serbo-Croatian==. If there are other languages on a page besides Serbo-Croatian as is the case in the entry aba, for example), each section is separated from the others by four dashes (----) on an otherwise empty line.

The headers allowed below the "Serbo-Croatian" header are the same as those found in English entries. They also have the same order and levels as in English entries, and the format of their content will generally be identical as well, though certain differences between the two languages have to be taken into account, such as the "Declension" header.

The headwordEdit

Serbo-Croatian is written in both the Cyrillic script and the Latin (Roman) script. The two are not mixed together. Hence, identical entries in both scripts may be created, each linking to the other.

For nouns, the template {{sh-noun}} should be used, as can be illustrated at the example entries at gȍvōr and го̏во̄р, which have the following headword lines:



The first named parameter to template |g= is the gender. It can take values m, f or n, for masculine, feminine, and neuter gender, respectively.

The named parameter |head= is for the specification of the headword that should be displayed, if it is different e.g. due to the addition of diacritics) from the basic pagename. Serbo-Croatian (including all its standard varieties) has 4-way pitch accent system that is denoted by diacritics: double grave (short falling), grave (short rising), inverted breve (long falling), and acute (long rising), plus macron to denote post-tonic lengths. Such accent marks should be specified as alternative displays, by means of the head= parameter to specialized templates such as {{sh-noun}}, as well as general templates such as {{head}}, as the |alt= parameter to {{t}} (when adding translations), or as the second unnamed parameter to {{l}} (when linking to specific entries in various lists) and {{m}} (when mentioning Serbo-Croatian words).

Module:sh-headword will automatically detect the script using the page name, transliterate from Latin to Cyrillic or from Cyrillic to Latin, and link to the entry in the other script (removing diacritics from the entry name if necessary).

Inflection templatesEdit

Various templates exist to provide inflections of inflecting words. Detailed information on each of those can found on their respective documentation pages. All the templates should use additional |sc=Cyrl parameter with Cyrillic-script content.

For nouns, use the {{sh-decl-noun}} template. It accepts 14 parameters, corresponding to seven cases and two numbers (singular and plural). Example of its usage can be found on the entry gȍvōr.


All inflected case forms must be provided manually in order to provide the possibility of entering accentual paradigms in each of the inflected forms. Serbo-Croatian morphology is not extremely complex, but its free and mobile pitch-accent system raises the total number of morpho-accentological paradigms to several hundred, which cannot be easily encoded into the MediaWiki template language. Most contributors will, however, only enter normal inflection without accent marks.

For verbs, the standard inflection template is {{sh-conj}}. For example of usage, see the inflection tables of govòriti / гово̀рити and ìći / ѝћи.


The first 3 parameters (present verbal adverb, past verbal adverb and verbal noun) are optional and only those forms that the verb in question actually has should be passed to the template, and the rest omitted. The difference in spelling of the Future I between Croatian and Bosnian/Serbian in -ti verbs is handled with parameters f1.hr and f1.stem - the former should contain the infinitive without the final -i for -ti verbs. For -ći verbs, both those parameters must be identical to the infinitive form.

Varieties and dialectsEdit

Standard Serbo-Croatian varieties are of two forms: Ekavian (Serbian in Serbia) and Ijekavian (Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian in Bosnia-Herzegovina). Each of these merits entries in each script. Different jat reflexes should be linked to under an ===Alternative forms=== header, immediately after the ==Serbo-Croatian== header. For example, the entry mlijéko has as its alternative-forms section:

===Alternative forms===
* {{alter|sh|mléko||Ekavian}}
* {{alter|sh|mlíko||Ikavian}}

Each of these other alternative forms is a full-blown entry by itself. Care should be taken, however, not to provide the Ikavian variant in Cyrillic script, because it has and is historically been written only in Roman script. Also, since the Ikavian form is sub-literary, it should not appear in example sentences, translation tables, or any other similar places.

All the other differences between codified varieties of Serbo-Croatian are to be handled similar to the reflex of jat, at the ===Alternative forms=== header. These include:

  • verbs in -irati (Croatian and Bosnian) vs. verbs in -ovati/-isati (Bosnian and Serbian)
  • miscellaneous differences in derivational morphology (e.g. agentive suffixes -ka vs. -ica)

More of such differing details can be found at the Wikipedia article Differences between standard Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

When particular spelling or meaning is only confined to a certain region or standard, it should be marked with a context label such as {{lb|sh|Croatian}}, {{lb|sh|Serbian}}, {{lb|sh|Bosnian}} or {{lb|sh|Montenegrin}}. Additionally, one should further elaborate on the usage, distribution and the "standard" status of the term in the ====Usage notes==== sections, which is intended for such purpose (see WT:ELE). If there is no regional label specified, it is assumed that the term or meaning is common to all codified varieties of Serbo-Croatian, which is the case in some 95% of words. Ekavian and Ijekavian variants should be unmarked in the definition lines, since their assignment to particular standards may be assumed from their spellings. Ikavian variants, on the other hand, should always have an {{lb|sh|Ikavian}} context label, since the Ikavian form (of both Shtokavian and Chakavian) is sub-literary and not a part of any standard.

Non-standard dialects such as Kajkavian, Chakavian, and Torlakian should be marked with context labels of their own, as {{lb|sh|Kajkavian}}, {{lb|sh|Chakavian}}, and {{lb|sh|Torlakian}}. Wiktionary allows dialectal terms, but one should take care to provide at least one citation for them, as they are not found in the usual dictionaries, but in specialized ones.


Translations for Serbo-Croatian at English entries should be of the following format (at the translation entry of speech):

* Serbo-Croatian:
*: Cyrillic: {{t|sh|го̏во̄р|m|sc=Cyrl}}
*: Roman: {{t|sh|gȍvōr|m}}

As with definition lines, in the absence of regional labels, it is assumed that the word is valid in all varieties. Note the usage of |alt= parameter that provides alternative display with accent marks, and the |sc=Cyrl in case of Cyrillic spelling.

In case of regional differences, things get a bit more complicated. For example, at the translation table of organize.

* Serbo-Croatian:
*: Cyrillic: {{t|sh|организовати|орга̀низовати|sc=Cyrl}} {{qualifier|Serbian}}
*: Roman: {{t|sh|organizovati|orgànizovati}} {{qualifier|Bosnian|Serbian}}, {{t|sh|organizírati}} {{qualifier|Croatian}}

Translation that pertain only to particular national standard(s) should be marked with a label indicating the standard(s) which they pertain. Also, care should be taken to provide Cyrillic script only for Serbian-specific or universal forms, not for Bosnian and Croatian, as these are normally only written in Latin script.

For variant jat reflexes, both Ekavian and Ijekavian forms should be listed next to one another, with qualifier tags ({{qualifier|Ekavian}} and {{qualifier|Ijekavian}}, respectively), in both scripts. E.g., at the translation table for milk:

* Serbo-Croatian:
*: Cyrillic: {{t|sh|мле́ко|n|sc=Cyrl}} {{qualifier|Ekavian}}, {{t|sh|млије́ко|n}} {{qualifier|Ijekavian}}
*: Roman: {{t|sh|mléko|n}} {{qualifier|Ekavian}}, {{t|sh|mlijéko|n}} {{qualifier|Ijekavian}}

The order of scripts and jat variant forms should match the above example.

Further readingEdit

It is permissible to link to the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Wikipedias using the codes |lang=bs, |lang=hr and |lang=sr as well as to the Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia (|lang=sh). The {{pedia}} link shall be used under the ===Further reading=== header to save space when linking to more than one Wikipedia. {{wikipedia}} is acceptable when only linking to one Wikipedia, and should be used directly under the ==Serbo-Croatian== header.

See also w:Serbo-Croatian.