Haz (kapitankraut) wrote in linguaphiles,

Croatian vs Serbian

For those of you with experience in these two languages/this language (depending on your perspective), a question:

How easy would it be for an educated adult who speaks Croatian to read and translate a simple text - such as a song lyric - in Latin-script Serbian?

The background here is that I'm working on a paper about the breakup of Yugoslavia, and one of the other people in my class is (I believe) from Croatia - she's certainly Croatian, but I'm not sure where she was actually born. She's adamant that she can't understand a word of Serbian, and I think a lot of the reason that she has this impression is because of the use of Cyrillic in Serbian (people here and elsewhere have told me it's pretty easy to understand one if you know the other).
Therefore, what I'm thinking about doing when I present the paper is to get this other student to read and translate a simple text in Latin-script Serbian. My hope is that she'll have very little trouble, which would show my point that the two languages are very similar. Obviously this isn't a great idea if there's a risk that she won't find it as easy as I'd hoped, so what's anyone's opinion here?

EDIT: I should probably add that I have no intention of telling the girl what language the text is in until after she's read it and translated it. The object of the exercise will be to demonstrate that her belief that she can't understand Serbian is based more on conditioning than anything else.

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