Written by: Olivera Tolimir
One of the favorite days of every linguist and language teacher falls on February 21st each year.
Yes, we’re talking about International Mother Language Day!
The holiday is behind us, so it’s the perfect time to look back at the ways of honoring it.
Organizations such as UNESCO help the survival of languages endangered due to the lack of speakers. Many teachers, students, and activists celebrate the day by organizing multicultural events. Guests talk about their countries and languages and sometimes even bring their homeland’s most famous food and drinks.
The day celebrates linguistic diversity in all its glory.
But why would you remember your native language only on one day of the year?
Do you have Serbian roots but live abroad?
Are you interested in learning to demonstrate your love for the Serbian language throughout the year?
If your answers are yes, stay with us! We prepared a list of five things you should do if you care for the Serbian language (and we know you do). Maybe you’ve done some of them already or do them all the time!
Sing with Your Kids in Serbian
The first and most crucial thing to show love for the Serbian language is to teach it to your children. Many parents living abroad are worried it’ll confuse their little ones to speak one language at home and another in school.
But that couldn’t be further away from the truth!
There are numerous aspects in which bilingual children develop better than their monolingual friends. If you’re interested in learning more about them, check out our blog post about the importance of speaking Serbian with your children.
The kids’ brains are like sponges. They’ll absorb two languages so effortlessly that you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t introduced the third one!
Of course, you shouldn’t represent the Serbian language as a lesson in your home. Use it like a regular mother tongue (which it is) while playing with your kids, feeding, and scolding them for not picking up their toys.
And don’t miss singing the beautiful Serbian songs for children with them! Our favorite is Išli smo u Afriku da sadimo papriku (We went to Africa to plant pepper). It’s a cute imaginary story about kids going to Africa to plant Serbian spicy peppers. Naturally, all the animals became interested in the new food. But as much as the elephant, camel, monkey, parrot, and others were eager to try it, they didn’t expect it to be spicy, so they became pretty unhappy about it.
The text was written by Ljubivoje Ršumović, one of the most famous Serbian contemporary poets for children.
The music was written by Minja Subota. He was a Serbian musician, songwriter, composer, and host of one of the most loved Serbian TV shows for children.
Ask Your Grandma / Mom to Teach You How to Make Sarma
Is there a better way to learn Serbian imperative than listening to your grandma explaining how to make your favorite Serbian dish?
Of course, it doesn’t have to be sarma. Although, we’ll have to ask for proof of your Serbian origin if sarma isn’t your favorite!
All jokes aside, this is a win-win-win situation for you. You’ll get to:
- learn to make the best food in the world
- spend time with your family
- learn Serbian.
We recommend you do it as soon as you can!
Watch the Movie Ivkova Slava
As we’ve mentioned in more than one blog post, watching Serbian movies is one of the best ways for your sentences and pronunciation to sound natural.
We even have two blog posts about the evergreen quotes from the most beloved Serbian movies. You can check out the sequel here.
We haven’t mentioned Ivkova slava (Ivko’s Slava) because there isn’t enough space on the internet for everything we’d like to share about Serbian movies.
Anyway, Ivkova slava is a comedy made by book of Stevan Sremac. As its title says, it’s about Ivko’s slava. To understand this movie, you have to be familiar with two well-known Serbian sayings:
- You don’t invite people to slava (your close friends and family are supposed to show up).
- Slava is celebrated for three days.
For sure, this sounds extreme. But in reality, we usually inform people at what time they’re supposed to come to slava. And we celebrate it for three days only when all the guests can’t fit in our apartment the first day.
The humor of Ivkova slava is based on the two sayings above but taken to extremes. Ivko’s guests came to stay for three days, and they were serious about it. It was an adventure for the protagonist, for sure!
We recommend this movie because you’ll learn a lot about our customs back in the day, and about the Serbian language, too!
Also, it’s a perfect preparation for our next advice.
Go to a Slava (and Discuss Politics)
You can’t honor the Serbian language and your origins without going to slava!
You can learn all you need to know about slava in our blog post dedicated exclusively to it. But how will it help you celebrate your mother tongue?
Slava is the best place for discussing all kinds of topics, especially politics. If you manage to discuss politics with your uncle without him getting insulted by your disagreeing, you can safely say you’re confident in your Serbian language knowledge!
Of course, you don’t have to stick to politics. Whatever you like to talk about, you’ll find someone to discuss it with at every slava. It’s a joyful and often loud event full of people, laughter, and happiness.
Listen to the Serbian Song Tamo Daleko
Tamo daleko is a more than 100-year-old song dedicated to Serbian soldiers retreating through Albania during World War I. It was written in 1916 by an amateur musician Đorđe Marinković.
It’s an emotional song about all the pain and struggle the Serbian Army had to endure. Many Serbs consider it our unofficial anthem. It was even played at our world-known scientist Nikola Tesla’s funeral.