The role of orthographic and phonetic distances in mutual intelligibility between Montenegrin and Bulgarian
Logos et Littera: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text
It is generally believed that speakers of closely related languages are able to understand each other to some degree without resorting to a lingua franca as a communicative mode. The extent to which languages are mutually intelligible depends on a variety of linguistic and extralinguistic factors, including the genetic proximity of the language varieties concerned. This study looks at mutual intelligibility between two closely related Slavic languages, namely Montenegrin and Bulgarian, and
... Bulgarian, and examines the role of orthographic and phonetic distances in the process of word recognition. In a small-scale word translation experiment, native speakers of Montenegrin and Bulgarian were tested on their ability to decode the meaning of 98 written and spoken nouns in the related language without prior instruction. The results reveal a strong correlation between orthographic/phonetic distances and correctly recognized words, which suggests that linguistic distances may act as relatively significant predictors of intelligibility between the two languages in question.