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What Language Do They Speak in Montenegro?

What Language Do They Speak in Montenegro

Key Takeaways

Official LanguageMontenegrin
Other LanguagesSerbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian
Native SpeakersApproximately 230,000
Recognized Minority LanguagesAlbanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian

An Overview of Montenegro’s Linguistic Tapestry

Nestled on the Adriatic coast, Montenegro is a Balkan country that astounds with its diverse linguistic panorama. While Montenegrin is officially heralded as the national language, the country vibrates with a multiplicity of languages that mirror its rich history and intricate social tapestry.

Official Language: Montenegrin

The Montenegrin language, recognized as the official language in the constitution, is a South Slavic language. This tongue, entwining both cultural identity and national pride, has been a subject of interesting debates and discussions, often reflecting the socio-political dynamic of the region.

History and Development of Montenegrin

Montenegrin, like Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, originates from the Shtokavian dialect, which is a part of the broader South Slavic dialect continuum. The declaration of Montenegrin as the official language in 2007 was pivotal in fortifying the national identity, especially post-independence.

Diverse Vernaculars: More Than Just Montenegrin

Despite the official status of Montenegrin, the polyglot character of Montenegro is undeniable. Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Albanian permeate the linguistic tapestry, intertwining with Montenegro’s historical, cultural, and social threads.

Linguistic Distribution in Montenegro

LanguagePercentage of Speakers

Montenegro’s intricate web of languages spins stories of cultural crossovers, ancient civilizations, and the enduring spirit of its people. Let’s explore the nuanced facets of these languages further.

Beyond the Borders: Minority Languages

Albanian: A Glimpse into the Past

Albanian holds a special place in the hearts of a significant minority in Montenegro. Mainly spoken by the Albanian minority, this language unfurls a rich history of Illyrian descent, offering a fascinating insight into the ancient roots of the region.

Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian: Shared Roots

The languages of Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian are inherently interwoven with Montenegrin, sharing common roots yet diverging in facets of identity and politics.

  1. Serbian: Predominantly used by the Serbian community in Montenegro.
  2. Bosnian: Primarily spoken among the Bosniak community.
  3. Croatian: While relatively less spoken, it is recognized as a minority language.

Each language, while similar in structure and vocabulary, represents a unique cultural and national identity, embodying the spirit and ethos of each respective community.

Navigating Through Montenegro: A Tourist’s Linguistic Guide

If you find yourself wandering through the enchanting landscapes of Montenegro, an understanding of the linguistic terrain might enhance your explorative journey.

Basic Montenegrin Phrases for Travelers

In case you wish to navigate Montenegro with a sprinkle of local vernacular, here are some fundamental phrases:

  • Hello: Zdravo
  • Thank you: Hvala
  • Yes: Da
  • No: Ne
  • Please: Molim
  • Excuse me / Sorry: Izvinite

English Proficiency in Montenegro

Worry not if you are an English speaker! Montenegro boasts a high level of English proficiency, especially in tourist hubs like Budva and Kotor. Most signages in tourist areas are also available in English, ensuring a convenient and accessible experience.

Montenegrin Language Facts

Language FamilySouth Slavic
Writing SystemLatin Alphabet
Number of Speakers WorldwideApproximately 230,000
DialectsEast Herzegovinian (Standard)
ISO Language CodeCNR


The mosaic of languages spoken in Montenegro narrates tales of cultural amalgamation, historical transformation, and the harmonious coexistence of diverse communities. Montenegrin, while binding the nation with threads of unity and identity, coexists with several languages, each narrating its own unique tale of Montenegro’s enriched past and vibrant present.

In delving deep into the linguistic waves that wash over the Montenegrin coast, we encounter not just a method of communication, but a comprehensive journey through time, unearthing stories of empires, civilizations, and the indomitable spirit of its people. As you wander through the picturesque landscapes, you’re not just traversing through physical terrain but also navigating through a rich, textured linguistic tapestry.

In the interplay of sounds, scripts, and dialects in Montenegro, we witness a symphony that is emblematic of its resilient history and dynamic cultural panorama.