|Native to||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo and the Bosnian diaspora|
|2.5–3.5 million (2008)
(number is ambiguous)
|Latin (Gaj's alphabet)
Cyrillic (Vuk's alphabet)[Note 1]
Bosnian Cyrillic (Bosančica)
Official language in
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|South Slavic languages and dialects|
Bosnian i// (bosanski/босански; [bɔ̌sanskiː]) is the standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian mainly used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian, and also an officially recognized minority or regional language in Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Kosovo.
Bosnian uses both Latin and Cyrillic alphabet,[Note 1] with Latin in everyday use. It is notable among the varieties of Serbo-Croatian for a number of Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian loanwords, largely due to the language's interaction with those cultures through Islamic ties.
Bosnian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of 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 this term is controversial for native speakers, and paraphrases such as "Serbo-Croato-Bosnian" (SCB) or "Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian" (BCS) are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.
Although Bosnians are, on the level of colloquial idiom, linguistically more homogeneous than either Serbians or Croatians, unlike those nations they failed to codify a standard language in the 19th century, with at least two factors being decisive:
- The Bosnian 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 Bosnians' 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 intelligentsia of the time.
The literature of the so-called "Bosnian revival" at the start of the 20th century was written in an idiom that was closer to the Croatian standard than to the Serbian one: it was a western Shtokavian dialect with an Ijekavian accent and used a Latin script, but had recognizable Bosnian lexical traits. The main authors were the polymath, politician and poet Safvet-beg Bašagić and the storyteller Edhem Mulabdić.
The modern Bosnian standard took shape in the 1990s and 2000s. Lexically, Islamic-Oriental loanwords are more frequent; phonetically: the phoneme /x/ (letter h) 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.
Nauk krstjanski za narod slovinski, by Matija Divković, the first Bosnian printed book. Published in Venice, 1611
Bosnian dictionary by Muhamed Hevaji Uskufi Bosnevi, 1631
Controversy and recognition
The name "Bosnian language" is a controversial issue for some Croats and Serbs, who also refer to it as the "Bosniak" language (Serbo-Croatian: bošnjački / бошњачки; [bǒʃɲaːtʃkiː]). Bosniak linguists however insist that the only legitimate name is "Bosnian" language (bosanski), and that that is the name that both Croats and Serbs should use. The controversy arises because the name "Bosnian" may seem to imply that it is the language of all Bosnians, while Bosnian Croats and Serbs reject that designation for their idioms.
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, including internet translation services.
Most English-speaking language encyclopaedias (Routledge, Glottolog, Ethnologue, etc.) register the language solely as "Bosnian" language. The Library of Congress registered the language as "Bosnian" and gave it an ISO-number. The Slavic language institutes in English-speaking countries offer courses in "Bosnian" or "Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian" language, not in "Bosniak" language (e.g. Columbia, Cornell, Chicago, Washington, Kansas). The same thing in German-speaking countries, where the language is taught under the name Bosnisch, not Bosniakisch (e.g. Vienna, Graz, Trier) with very few exceptions.
Some Croatian linguists (Zvonko Kovač, Ivo Pranjković, Josip Silić) support the name "Bosnian" language, whereas others (Radoslav Katičić, Dalibor Brozović, Tomislav Ladan) hold that the term Bosnian language is the only one appropriate[clarification needed] and that accordingly the terms Bosnian language and Bosniak language refer to two different things[clarification needed]. The Croatian state institutions, such as the Central Bureau of Statistics, use both terms: "Bosniak" language was used in the 2001 census, while the census in 2011 used the term "Bosnian" language.
The original form of The Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina called the language "Bosniac language", until 2002 when it was changed in Amendment XXIX of the Constitution of the Federation by Wolfgang Petritsch. The original text of the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was agreed in Vienna, and was signed by Krešimir Zubak and Haris Silajdžić on March 18, 1994.
The constitution of Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated 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 they demanded the restoration of their civil rights in those territories. The Bosnian Serbs refused to make reference 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 were required to recognise the language officially, but wished to avoid recognition of its name.
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, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian are also in official use.
Historical usage of the term
- In the work Skazanie izjavljenno o pismeneh that was written between 1423 and 1426, the Bulgarian chronicler Constantine the Philosopher, in parallel with the Bulgarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Czech and Croatian, he also mentions the Bosnian language.
- The notary book of the town of Kotor from July 3, 1436 recounts a duke buying a girl that is described as a: "Bosnian woman, heretic and in the Bosnian language called Djevena".
- The work Thesaurus Polyglottus, published in Frankfurt am Main in 1603 by the German historian and linguist Hieronymus Megiser, mentions the Bosnian dialect alongside the Dalmatian, Croatian and Serbian one.
- The Bosnian Franciscan Matija Divković, regarded as the founder of the modern literature of Bosnia and Herzegovina, asserts in his work "Nauk krstjanski za narod slovinski" ("The Christian doctrine for the Slavic peoples") from 1611 his "translation from Latin to the real and true Bosnian language" ("A privideh iz dijačkog u pravi i istinit jezik bosanski")
- Bosniak poet and Aljamiado writer Muhamed Hevaji Uskufi Bosnevi who refers to the language of his 1632 dictionary Magbuli-arif as Bosnian.
- One of the first grammarians, the Jesuit clergyman Bartolomeo Cassio calls the language used in his work from 1640 Ritual rimski (Roman Rite) as naški ("our language") or bosanski ("Bosnian"). He used the term "Bosnian" even though he was born in a Chakavian region: instead he decided to adopt a "common language" (lingua communis) based on a version of Shtokavian Ikavian.
- The Italian linguist Jacobus Micalia (1601–1654) who states in his dictionary Blagu jezika slovinskoga (Thesaurus lingue Illyricae) from 1649 that he wants to include "the most beautiful words" adding that "of all Illyrian languages the Bosnian is the most beautiful", and that all Illyrian writers should try to write in that language.
- 18th century Bosniak chronicler Mula Mustafa Bašeskija who argues in his yearbook of collected Bosnian poems that the "Bosnian language" is much richer than the Arabic, because there are 45 words for the verb "to go" in Bosnian.
- The Venetian writer, naturalist and cartographer Alberto Fortis (1741–1803) calls in his work Viaggio in Dalmazia (Travels into Dalmatia) the language of Morlachs as Illyrian, Morlach and Bosnian.
- The Croatian writer and lexicographer Matija Petar Katančić published six volumes of biblical translations in 1831 described as being "transferred from Slavo-Illyrian to the pronunciation of the Bosnian language".
- Croatian writer Matija Mažuranić refers in the work Pogled u Bosnu (1842) to the language of Bosnians as Illyrian (a 19th century synonym to South Slavic languages) mixed with Turkish words, with a further statement that they are the speakers of the Bosniak language.
- The Bosnian Franciscan Ivan Franjo Jukić states in his work Zemljopis i Poviestnica Bosne (1851) that the Bosnia was the only Turkish land (i.e. under the control of the Ottoman Empire) that remained entirely pure without Turkish speakers, both in the villages and so on the highlands. Further he states "[...] a language other than the Bosnian is not spoken [in Bosnia], the greatest Turkish [i.e. Muslim] gentlemen only speak Turkish when they are at the Vizier".
- Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, a 19th century Croatian writer and historian, stated in his work Putovanje po Bosni (Travels into Bosnia) from 1858, how the 'Turkish' (i.e. Muslim) Bosniaks, despite of converting to the Muslim faith, preserved their traditions and the Slavic mood, and that they still today speaks the purest variant of the Bosnian language, only when they refuse to mix the vocabulary with the Turkish words.
Differences between Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
The differences between the Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian literary standards are minimal. Although Bosnian employs more Turkish, Persian, and Arabic loanwords—commonly called orientalisms—it is very similar to both Serbian and Croatian in its written and spoken form.
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 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.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bosnian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- 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
- "European charter for regional or minority languages: Application of the charter in Serbia" (PDF). Council of Europe. 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 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
- Driton Muharremi and Samedin Mehmeti (2013). Handbook on Policing in Central and Eastern Europe. Springer. p. 129.
- Tomasz Kamusella (15 January 2009). The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-55070-4.
In addition, today, neither Bosniaks nor Croats, but only Serbs use Cyrillic in Bosnia.
- 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.
- Radio Free Europe – Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just 'Our Language'? Živko Bjelanović: Similar, But Different, Feb 21, 2009, accessed Oct 8, 2010
- "Collection of printed books in Arabic, Turkish and Persian". Gazi Husrev-begova biblioteka. 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- Alexander, Ronelle (2006). Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, a Grammar: With Sociolinguistic Commentary. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 409.
- Greenberg, Robert D. (2004). Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration. Oxford University Press. p. 136.
- "ISO 639-2 Registration Authority – Library of Congress". loc.gov.
- Sussex, Roland (2006). The Slavic Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-521-22315-6.
- "Glottolog 2.5 – Bosnian". glottolog.org.
- "Bosnian". Ethnologue.
- Bernard Comrie (ed.): The World's Major Languages. Second Edition. Routledge, New York/London, 2009
- columbia.edu http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/subj/BCRS/W1202-20161-001/. Missing or empty
- "BCS 1133 – Continuing Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I – Acalog ACMS™". cornell.edu.
- "Courses". uchicago.edu.
- "Bosnian Croatian Serbian". washington.edu.
- "Why Study Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (BCS) with the KU Slavic Department?". ku.edu.
- "Institut für Slawistik » Curricula". univie.ac.at.
- "Bosnisch/Kroatisch/Serbisch". uni-graz.at.
- "Universität Trier: Slavistik – Bosnisch-Kroatisch-Montenegrinisch-Serbisch". uni-trier.de. 28 July 2015.
- Central Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Croatia Census of 2001, Population by native language
- Central Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Croatia, Census of 2011, Population by native language, retrieved January 19, 2014
- "[Projekat Rastko] Odbor za standardizaciju srpskog jezika". rastko.rs.
- Svein Mønnesland, »Language Policy in Bosnia-Herzegovina«, (pp 135. – 155.). In: Language : Competence–Change–Contact = Sprache : Kompetenz – Kontakt – Wandel, edited by: Annikki Koskensalo, John Smeds, Rudolf de Cillia, Ángel Huguet; Berlin ; Münster : Lit Verlag, 2012., ISBN 978-3-643-10801-2, p. 143. "Already in 1990 the Committee for the Serbian language9 decided that only the term 'Bosniac language' should be used officially in Serbia, and this was confirmed in 1998."
- "Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina". Office of the High Representative. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- Decision on Constitutional Amendments in the Federation, retrieved January 19, 2014
- Washington Agreement (PDF), retrieved January 19, 2014
- "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. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. 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.
- Rizvanovic, Alma (2 August 2005). "Language Battle Divides Schools". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- CDM : CafedelMontenegro
- Muhsin Rizvić (1996). Bosna i Bošnjaci: Jezik i pismo (PDF). Sarajevo: Preporod. p. 6.
- Aleksandar Solovjev, Trgovanje bosanskim robljem do god. 1661. - Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja, N. S., 1946, 1, 151.
- V. Putanec, Leksikografija, Enciklopedija Jugoslavije, V, 1962, 504.
- Muhsin Rizvić (1996). Bosna i Bošnjaci: Jezik i pismo (PDF). Sarajevo: Preporod. p. 7.
- Ivan Lovrenović (2012-01-30). "DIVKOVIĆ: OTAC BOSANSKE KNJIŽEVNOSTI, PRVI BOSANSKI TIPOGRAF". IvanLovrenovic.com. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- hrvatska-rijec.com (17 April 2011). "Matija Divković – otac bosanskohercegovačke i hrvatske književnosti u BiH" (in Croatian and Bosnian). www.hrvatska-rijec.com. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- Muhsin Rizvić (1996). Bosna i Bošnjaci: Jezik i pismo (PDF). Sarajevo: Preporod. p. 24.
- "ALJAMIADO AND ORIENTAL LITERATURE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (1463-1878)" (PDF). pozitiv.si.
- Muhsin Rizvić (1996). Bosna i Bošnjaci: Jezik i pismo (PDF). Sarajevo: Preporod. p. 8.
- Vatroslav Jagić, Iz prošlost hrvatskog jezika. Izabrani kraći spisi. Zagreb, 1948, 49.
- Alberto Fortis (1774). Viaggo in Dalmazia. I. Venice: Presso Alvise Milocco, all' Appoline, MDCCLXXIV. pp. 91–92.
- Matija Mažuranić (1842). Pogled u Bosnu. Zagreb: Tiskom narodne tiskarnice dra, Lj. Gaja. p. 52.
- Ivan Franjo Jukić (Slavoljub Bošnjak) (1851). Pogled u Bosnu. Zagreb: Bérzotiskom narodne tiskarnice dra. Ljudevita Gaja. p. 16.
- Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (1858). Putovanje po Bosni. Zagreb: Tiskom narodne tiskarnice dra, Lj. Gaja. p. 114.
- "Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just 'Our Language'?". Radio Free Europe.
- 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.
- Kafadar, Enisa (2009). "Bosnisch, Kroatisch, Serbisch – Wie spricht man eigentlich in Bosnien-Herzegowina?" [Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian – How do people really speak in Bosnia-Herzegovina?]. In Henn-Memmesheimer, Beate; Franz, Joachim. Die Ordnung des Standard und die Differenzierung der Diskurse; Teil 1 (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. pp. 95–106. OCLC 699514676. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Kordić, Snježana (2005). "I dalje jedan jezik" [Still one language]. Sarajevske sveske (in Serbo-Croatian). Sarajevo (10): 83–89. ISSN 1512-8539. ZDB-ID 2136753-X. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2014. (COBISS-BH).
- —— (2011). "Jezična politika: prosvjećivati ili zamagljivati?" [Language policy: to clarify or to obscure?] (PDF). 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. OCLC 918205883. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2015. (ÖNB).
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".
|Bosnian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Bosnian.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bosnian language.|
|Wikiquote has 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.