Naลก jezik at Munich Airport

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I’m about to fly off to Australia transiting through Munich Airport ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช … so I’m preparing myself to be ready to speak in “naลก jezik” (“our language”).

๐Ÿ‘‰ So what is this “naลก jezik” (“our language”)?
๐Ÿ‘‰ And why is it spoken at Munich Airport?

“Naลก jezik” is the euphemism used by people from ex-Yugoslavia in diaspora communities, especially in western Europe, to describe their joint spoken ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ (note, not written) language previously called “Serbo-Croatian”.

As a term, “naลก jezik”:
๐Ÿค๐Ÿป is more inclusive than using the ethnic-specific names of the individual successor languages: Serbian ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ, Croatian ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท, Bosnian ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ, Montenegrin ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช
๐Ÿค๐Ÿป avoids potential animosity between the various speakers of these languages
๐Ÿค๐Ÿป is easier than saying the names of all four languages (what a word salad!)
๐Ÿค๐Ÿป reflects the near 100% mutual intelligibility between all four languages i.e. it’s a shared spoken language
๐Ÿค๐Ÿป can only really be used by those who speak it

But if I’m going to Munich๐Ÿป, surely I should be brushing up on my German? ๐Ÿค”

Well, you’d think that, but based on my last experience at Munich Airport (in transit to Belgrade ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ, of course), it seemed to me that everyone working there was from former Yugoslavia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ. I was surprised to find almost all of the security officials, the cleaning staff, the people at the information desk and even the hospitality staff inside the lounge speaking to each other in “our language” that I even piped in and spoke “our language” to them and no one bat an eyelid ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

This was not a unique experience. The word goes in former Yugoslavia that there are so many people from the region living in Vienna that you can negotiate the ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น capital speaking solely “our language”. One time a Serbian TV crew decided to put that to the test. And the result? If the crew didn’t happen to encounter someone on the streets and shops of “Beฤ” (Vienna) who knew “our language” then it was easy for a local to rustle up someone who could.

I had a similar experience a few years ago when I was in Miami ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ, a city with a huge Spanish-speaking population. Granted, I was only a few miles away from Little Havana ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡บ but still it was somewhat surreal to be in what otherwise superficially was typical US suburbia but interacting with bus drivers, going into chain stores and businesses (such as Target and Little Caesar’s Pizza) and asking for directions solely in Spanish.

Or the time I was on a public bus where all the passengers were speaking in Portuguese, including the bus driver, who had Portuguese radio blaring… on my way to Vianden, Luxembourg ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ (Portuguese ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น make up almost 15% of Luxembourg’s population).

โœจ What made all these circumstances special is that there was no or little visible or physical presence of the dominant spoken language (such as signage).

Have you ever been in similar situations?