Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I've been census'ed...

Ok, how does one express that your details have been taken as part of a census?? For the past two weeks, a census was taken in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has been a HUGE issue here for many reasons, and all the different sides didn't want it to be taken for each of their own reasons. No one knows how many people there are in the country and of which nationality/language/religion as the last census was taken when it was still Yugoslavia in 1991, and in between there was a little thing called a war, with refugees, displaced people and a lot of people killed...


Here is a great article by Time Magazine on the impact this census has had on the country.

And so it was interesting for me to realise that I would actually be part of the census... yes, anyone who is living over a year in the country, even on a temporary residency, is counted! And after being home for much of the first 10 days of the census, the person doing the census in our street came when I was gone and Ljilja filled out my form on my behalf :(

There are three "contentious" questions: Nationality, Religious Background and Home Language... At first I thought that she had only got two out of three right: South African and Protestant, as somehow instead of putting "English" as my home language she put "srpski" (Serbian)... but when she explained her reasoning, I guess she is right: the language I speak in my home right now is "srpski" as that is what she and I communicate in... not English! (I live in the part of the country where the language is called Serbian, although when I was learning it in Zenica I called it Bosnian, and  Croatian - as I lived with Croat landlords - but it is all more-or-less the same language...)

Anyway, right now there is a lot of debate as to the validity of the findings, and the bureau for statistics will only have preliminary results in 3 months... so we will see how many South Africans there are who speak "Serbian" as their home language, I suspect not so many! 

2 comments:

Victor said...

Wow. Can you please tell me how to pronounce "srpski?" At first I thought I was being a silly Westerner needing to add vowels where none are needed. But I've looked at the word several times and I'm guessing it's one of those that actually does have other vowels sounded even though they don't write it. Answer this: How many syllables does it have?

Belinda Chaplin said...

Actually, the "r" is a vowel sound in Serbian. You need to roll it... it has two syllables 'srp' and 'ski'... we have lots of other fun words including crkva (church), prst (finger) vrt (garden), smrt (death), cvrst (strong), krv (blood) and trg (square) :)

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