|Native to||Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and neighboring regions|
|Native speakers||2.5–3.5 million (2008)
(number is ambiguous)
|Writing system||Latin (Gaj)
Cyrillic (Serbian Cyrillic alphabet)[Note 1]
|Official language in||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Recognised minority language in|| Serbia
|Linguasphere||part of 53-AAA-g|
|South Slavic languages and dialects|
Bosnian (bosanski / босански [bɔ̌sanskiː]) is a standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language, a South Slavic language, used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian.
Standard Bosnian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin. Until the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, they were treated as a unitary Serbo-Croatian language, and that term is still used in English to subsume the common base (vocabulary, grammar and syntax) of what are today officially four national standards, although the term is no longer used by native speakers.
Standard Bosnian uses a Latin alphabet.[Note 1] Bosnian is notable among the varieties of Serbo-Croatian for having an eclectic assortment of Arabic, Turkish and Persian loanwords, largely due to the language's interaction with those cultures through Islamic ties. This is historically corroborated by the introduction and use of Arebica (Matufovica) as a successor script for the Bosnian language, largely replacing the now extinct Bosnian Cyrillic (Bosančica) upon the introduction of Islam, first among the elite, then amongst the public. The Bosnian language also contains a number of Germanisms not often heard in Croatian or Serbian and that have been in use since the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The first official dictionary of the Bosnian language, authored by Muhamed Hevaji Uskufi, was printed in the early 1630s, whereas, in comparison, the first dictionary in Serbian was printed only in the mid-19th century. Written evidence and records point to the Bosnian language being the official language of the country since at least the Kingdom of Bosnia, as further corroborated by the declaration of the Charter of Ban Kulin in 1189, one of the oldest South Slavic documents in the Balkans and one of the oldest to be written in Bosančica.
Modern language and standardisation
Although Bosniaks are, on the level of colloquial idiom, linguistically more homogeneous than either Serbs or Croats they (unlike the other two) failed to codify a standard language in the crucial 19th century, with at least two factors being decisive:
- The Bosniak elite, as closely intertwined with Ottoman life, wrote predominantly in foreign (Turkish, Arabic, Persian) languages. Vernacular literature written in Bosnian with the Arebica script was relatively thin and sparse.
- The Bosniaks' national emancipation lagged behind that of the Serbs and Croats, and because denominational rather than cultural or linguistic issues played the pivotal role, a Bosnian language project did not arouse much interest or support amongst the Bosniak intelligentsia of the time.
Nevertheless, the literature of the so-called "Bosniak revival" at the start of the 20th century was written in an idiom that was closer to the Croatian standard than to the Serbian: it was western Štokavian dialect, Ijekavian accent, and used Latin script, but had recognizable Bosniak lexical traits. The main authors were the polymath, politician and poet Safvet-beg Bašagić and the storyteller Edhem Mulabdić.
On a formal level, the Bosnian language began to take a distinctive shape in the 1990s and 2000s: lexically, Islamic-Oriental loan words are becoming more frequent; phonetically: the phoneme /x/ is reinstated in many words as a distinct feature of vernacular Bosniak speech and language tradition; also, there are some changes in grammar, morphology and orthography that reflect the Bosniak pre-World War I literary tradition, mainly that of the Bosniak renaissance at the beginning of the 20th century. The legal distinction occurred in the mid-1990s. The 1993 language law declared that there was a single official language for Bosnians: "In the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ijekavian standard literary language of the three constitutive nations is officially used, designated by one of the three terms: Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian. Both alphabets, Latin and Serbian Cyrillic, are used equally in order to appease the Latin-alphabet-using Bosniaks and Croats and the Cyrillic-alphabet-using Serbs." However, the 1994 constitution declared that these were three official languages: "The official languages of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be: Bosnian language, Croat language and Serb language. The official scripts shall be Latin and Cyrillic."
The constitution of Republika Srpska, the Serbian entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, did not recognize any language or ethnic group other than Serbian. Bosniaks were mostly expelled from the territory controlled by the Serbs from 1992, but immediately after the war demanded to restore their civil rights on those territories. The Bosnian Serbs refused to make references to the Bosnian language in their constitution and as a result had constitutional amendments imposed by High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch. However, the constitution of Republika Srpska refers to it as the "Language spoken by Bosniaks" because the Serbs had to officially recognize it but still avoid recognition of its name.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN), and the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN) recognize the Bosnian language. Furthermore the status of the Bosnian language is also recognized by bodies such as the United Nations, UNESCO, and translation and interpreting accreditation agencies.
Serbia includes the Bosnian language as an elective subject in primary schools. Montenegro officially recognizes the Bosnian language; its 2007 Constitution specifically states that although Montenegrin is the "official language", also "in official use are Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian languages".
The name for the language is a controversial issue, primarily for Croats and Serbs and it is alternatively referred to as "Bosniak" (bošnjački; also spelled "Bosniac"). The name "Bosnian language" is controversial for those Serbs and Croats who think the name of the language implies it is the language of all Bosnians, which includes Bosnian Croats and Serbs. Croats and Serbs mostly use the Croatian and the Serbian, respectively. It should be noted that all three languages are mutually intelligible and are examples of Ausbausprache. Due to the conjunction of historical circumstances, all are essentially identical due to being codified on the same Neo-Shtokavian dialect, with a number of people identifying their language as the unified Serbo-Croatian language.
Differences between standard Bosnian and standard Croatian and Serbian
|This section requires expansion. (November 2012)|
- Humac tablet
- Hval Manuscript
- Language secessionism in Serbo-Croatian
- Mutual intelligibility
- Oriental Institute in Sarajevo
- Pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language
- Dialects of Serbo-Croatian
- Serbo-Croatian grammar
- Serbo-Croatian phonology
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 106 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
- "Accredited Language Services: An Outline of Bosnian Language History". Accredited Language Services. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Alexander 2006, pp. 1-2.
- David Dalby, Linguasphere (1999/2000, Linguasphere Observatory), pg. 445, 53-AAA-g, "Srpski+Hrvatski, Serbo-Croatian".
- Benjamin V. Fortson, IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431, "Because of their mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
- Václav Blažek, "On the Internal Classification of Indo-European Languages: Survey" retrieved 20 Oct 2010, pp. 15-16.
- See Art. 6 of the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, available at the official website of Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Algar, Hamid (2 July 1994). Persian Literature in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Oxford: Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford). pp. 254–68.
- Balić, Smail (1978). Die Kultur der Bosniaken, Supplement I: Inventar des bosnischen literarischen Erbes in orientalischen Sprachen. Vienna: Adolf Holzhausens, Vienna. p. 111.
- Balić, Smail (1992). Das unbekannte Bosnien: Europas Brücke zur islamischen Welt. Cologne, Weimar and Vienna: Bohlau. p. 526.
- Dobraća, Kasim (1963). Katalog Arapskih, Turskih i Perzijskih Rukopisa (Catalogue of the Arabic, Turkish and Persian Manuscripts in the Gazihusrevbegova Library, Sarajevo). Sarajevo.
- ANDLER, CH (1915). Pan-Germanism: Its plans for German expansion in the World. Paris: Librairie Armande Colin. p. App. I, II - pp. 69–71.
- Sarajevo archiv
- "Gammel ordbok i ny drakt" (in Norwegian). University of Oslo. 2012-04-10.
- Mahmutćehajić, Rusmir (2003). Sarajevo essays: politics, ideology, and tradition. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 252. ISBN 9780791456378.
- Franz Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica, Viennae, 1858, p. 8-9.
- Bugarski, Ranko (2004). Language in the Former Yugoslav Lands. Slavica Publishers. p. 142. ISBN 0-89357-298-5.
- "Decision on Constitutional Amendments in the Federation". Office of the High Representative. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- "The Constitution of the Republika Srpska". U.S. English Foundation Research. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- "Decision on Constitutional Amendments in Republika Srpska". Office of the High Representative. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- Greenberg, Robert David (2004). Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and its Disintegration. Oxford University Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-19-925815-5.
- ISO 639-2 – Library of Congress
- Sussex, Roland (2006). The Slavic Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-521-22315-6.
- Rizvanovic, Alma (2 August 2005). "Language Battle Divides Schools". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- http://www.pravda.gov.me/vijesti.php?akcija=rubrika&rubrika=121 See Art. 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro, adopted on 19 October 2007, available at the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Montenegro
- CDM : CafedelMontenegro
- "Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina". Office of the High Representative. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- Alexander, Ronelle (2006). Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, a Grammar: With Sociolinguistic Commentary. pp. 1–2.
- Gröschel, Bernhard (2001). "Bosnisch oder Bosniakisch?" [Bosnian or Bosniak?]. In Waßner, Ulrich Hermann. Lingua et linguae. Festschrift für Clemens-Peter Herbermann zum 60. Geburtstag. Bochumer Beitraäge zur Semiotik, n.F., 6 (in German). Aachen: Shaker. pp. 159–188. ISBN 978-3-8265-8497-8. OCLC 47992691.
- Kordić, Snježana (2005). "I dalje jedan jezik" [Still one language]. Sarajevske sveske (in Serbo-Croatian) (10): 83–89. ISSN 1512-8539. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- Kordić, Snježana (2011). "Jezična politika: prosvjećivati ili zamagljivati?" [Language policy: to clarify or to obscure?]. In Gavrić, Saša. Jezička/e politika/e u Bosni i Hercegovini i njemačkom govornom području: zbornik radova predstavljenih na istoimenoj konferenciji održanoj 22. marta 2011. godine u Sarajevu (in Serbo-Croatian). Sarajevo: Goethe-Institut Bosnien und Herzegowina ; Ambasada Republike Austrije ; Ambasada Švicarske konfederacije. pp. 60–66. ISBN 978-9958-1959-0-7. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".
|Bosnian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bosnian language.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Bosnian proverbs|
- Basic Bosnian Phrases
- Learn Bosnian – List of Online Bosnian Courses
- English–Bosnian dictionary on Glosbe
- Gramatika bosanskoga jezika za srednje škole. Dio 1. i 2., Nauka o glasovima i oblicima. Sarajevo: National government of Bosnia and Hercegovina, National Printing House. 1890.
- Буквар: за основне школе у вилаjету босанском. Sarajevo: Vilayet Printing House. 1867.