Languages of Montenegro

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Languages of Montenegro
Official languages Montenegrin
Minority languages Albanian (Gheg), Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
Sign languages Yugoslav Sign Language

Montenegro has one official language, specified in the Constitution of 2007 as Montenegrin. In 2011, the majority of the population declared "Serbian" to be their native language, while 37% declared it to be "Montenegrin". Linguistically, they are the same language (a dialect of Serbo-Croatian), but an incipient Montenegrin standard is in the process of being formulated.

Recognized minority languages are Albanian, Bosnian, and Croatian. Albanian is an official language of the municipality of Ulcinj. Slovak speakers are scattered around the country.

Additionally, there are a hundred or so Italians in Montenegro, concentrated in the Bay of Kotor (the Venetian Cattaro) and the coast. They are the descendants of the Venetian-speaking population of the areas around Cattaro that belonged for many centuries to the Republic of Venice. Although the country is endowed with only limited areas of suitable soil and climate, farming dominated Montenegro’s economy until the mid-20th century. Less than one-tenth of the land is farmed, and about two-fifths of this is devoted to grains. In upland areas the principal agricultural activity is sheepherding. Despite the country’s significant seacoast, commercial fishing is negligible. Montenegrin taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, excise duties, sales taxes, property taxes, taxes on financial transactions, and use taxes. Montenegro’s 150 miles of seacoast have long been a major tourist destination. Attractive landscapes, picturesque old stone houses, and beaches draw both domestic and foreign tourists. The kings of prewar Yugoslavia had a summer palace near Miločer, and the postwar regime transformed the ancient fishing village of Sveti Stefan into a luxury resort. The city of Ulcinj—whose architecture has been influenced by the Greeks, Byzantines, Venetians, and Asians—is an important tourist destination.

The Montenegrin language is written in Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, but there it is a growing political movement to use only the Latin alphabet officially when Montenegro enters the European Union.

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