Partly owing to the bizarre geographical and political conformation of their territory, the degree of national consciousness, as symbolized in the names by which the various divisions of the Serbo-Croatian race designate themselves, each other, and their language, is very unequal, and the nomenclature itself, which largely follows merely the designations of the provinces, confused. Thus the inhabitants of Bosnia call themselves Bosnians, those of Montenegro call themselves Montenegrins, while throughout Bosnia and Dalmatia the term Servian merely implies allegiance to the Eastern Church.

It is psychologically characteristic that the Croatians, and the Roman Catholics of Bosnia, unless they have been undeceived by a philological training, express their separatist tendencies by emphasizing the imaginary difference between Croatian as spoken by them, and Servian as spoken by members of the Orthodox faith. The Servians of Servia, on the other hand, reasonably and justly affirm the essential unity and identity of the Servian language as spoken from Istria to Macedonia, while the Montenegrins call their speech, with characteristic ingenuousness, ' our language.' Again, the half million Mohammedan Serbs of Bosnia who embraced Islam at the Turkish conquest in order to maintain their hold on the good things of this world are known to themselves and to others only as Mussulmans, though they speak nothing but Servian.

The duplex name Serbo-Croatian is of course an artificial and purely literary term; it is largely used in scientific works, but is quite unknown to any section of the people to which it is applied. Generally speaking, Servian and Orthodox on the one hand, Croatian and Roman Catholic on the other, are synonymous and convertible terms that, is to say, the difference between Servians and Croatians is neither racial nor, in spite of dialectic variations, linguistic. It is confessional and psychological.

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