Ethnicity and Language Diversity in Kosovar, Serbia

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Like many countries in Europe, Kosovo is a candidate country for visa entry. In recent times there has been an upsurge of Kosovans choosing to migrate to the European Union (EU). This is primarily due to the enlargement of the union’s enlargement team, known as the European enlargement area. Since Kosovar is not among the member states of the union, it has experienced a rapid enlargement in its population both in terms of population size and political clout. It has therefore become an attractive destination for both Serbs and Kosovans who want to immigrate to the EU.

Kosovo

Ever since the early nineties, the Kosovar region of Serbia has been fighting wars with the neighbouring countries of the former Yugoslavia, like Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. In 1995, Kosovo became a constituent part of the independent state of Yugoslavia. At the time, Kosovo had already achieved a high degree of development and respectability both in the international community and within her own country. However, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the governments of Kosova, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and SERBIK have sought to incorporate Kosova into their respective societies and further enhance their territorial integrity. As a result, Kosovar regularly plays the role of a divided nation.

In the mid-twenty-first century, ethnic cleansing took place in Kosovar, resulting in the forced displacement of the majority population by the minority ethnic Albanians, who moved into what was left of their towns and cities. The mass influx of Kosovars into the rest of the Balkan region has been blamed on a variety of factors, such as the collapse of the communist regime in Albania, the intervention of foreign military personnel, the opening of borders by Belgrade in order to integrate the kosovois into the western communities, the growth of armed groups in the region and the deployment of Croatian and Russian army units. All these conditions have had a marked impact on the ethnic composition and identity of the Kosovars, who were already feeling the effects of centuries of discrimination and had come to regard their former cultural identity as a thing of the past.

The ethnic composition of Kosovars is also highly diverse. While there is a significant presence of several national and ethnic groups, including Croats, Roma, Muslims and Jews, there is no clear demographic indication of the percentage of each group in Kosovar. Kosovars themselves will not provide a definite figure of the number of non-Kosovar inhabitants, even though certain estimations have been made. A census taken in 1998 put the non-Kosovar population at around 4.2 million, with the ratio of males to females at roughly 4.5 to one. In addition to this, estimates based on the 1997 census found that around two percent of Kosovars were of Arab origin, and another one percent were of Turkoman-Iranian origin. Regardless of the exact ethnic breakdown, many of the non-Kosovars who live in Kosovar are of foreign origin, reflecting the general demographic trend of enlargement of former Yugoslavia countries.

Unlike neighboring countries of Serbia and Croatia, which have experienced brutal ethnic cleansing and warlord rule, the government of Kosovar has been relatively successful in attracting a large number of local ethnic minorities. There are Serbs, icans, Arabs, Kojis, Jews and Gypsies among the numerous minority groups who live in Kosovar. Some of the local population are even openly integrated into the communities of neighboring countries, forming part of the diverse national community. For example, there are Serb bakeries and bakerwomen from Southeastern Europe, who speaks both Bosnian and Kosovar, and there are numerous Arab bakeries whose menu features Kosovar ingredients.

The language of Kosovar, Stret Kara, is closely related to Italian and is recognized as equal to the language of neighbouring countries of Serbia and Croatia. It is also worth noting that the Serb language is spoken by around a hundred thousand people, including men, women, young and old. Most of those speaking Serbo-Kosovar are of the ethnic minority category, though there is also a significant proportion of Kosovar speakers who are Kojis or Czech speakers.

There has been an influx of tourists and immigrants in Kosovar over the past few decades due to the liberal policies implemented by the Kosovar government and the relative openness of neighbouring countries to accommodate Kosovar immigrants. There are around twenty thousand foreign tourists visiting Kosovo every year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kosovo. Over the past few years there has also been an influx of Serbs from northern Yugoslavia who settled in Kosovo as they were offered work in the cantons of Kosovar and Kvarner.

Kojis are the most commonly used language in Kosovo, though there are small percentages of Jews and Muslims living in the area. The most widespread language in Kosovar is Serbo-Kojis, used by around eighty percent of the population. This is likely to increase as the Roma (Roma men and women) migrate to northern and central Kosovar from their country of origin in southern EURsterdam, Germany. The total population of Kosovar is estimated to be up to five hundred thousand strong including a small percentage of Muslims, Christians and people of other religions.