If I were to ask a French person to give me examples of foreign words in their language, I’m sure they would have no difficulty in citing several with Italian, Spanish, German and even Russian origins.
That said, I’ll bet that they won’t be able to give me any Serbian words. It would nevertheless be unfair of me to reproach them for their “ignorance”, as there exists just one word with Serbian etymology that is used in all European languages.
It’s “vampire”, which is directly linked to ancient Slavic mythology, their cosmogony and their belief in monsters. The word vampire is made up of “pir” (pronounced “pir”), meaning fire in ancient Slavic, and the ancient prefix “un” (pronounced “oun”), which expresses negation, and it is used for a being whom fire cannot harm, condemned to remain the prisoner of a body that has not been cremated.
The first case of vampirism was recorded in 1725 in the small village of Kisiljevo, in eastern Serbia. As the region was under Austrian administration at the time, the curious story of the Serbian peasant Petar Blagojevic – who, after his death, came back to haunt the villagers and took several victims and who, when he was exhumed, had a mouthful of blood and a well-preserved body – really piqued the interest of the Austrian emperor. Thanks to autopsies in reported cases of vampirism in Serbia, ordered by Charles VI of Austria, carried out by Austrian military surgeons and then published in a report entitled “Visum et Repertum” in 1732, the vampire character received international glory which still lasts to this day.