|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 (Serbian alphabet)[Note 1]
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.
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 recognition as an independent state from 110 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
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- 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.
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- Radio Free Europe – Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just 'Our Language'? Živko Bjelanović: Similar, But Different, Feb 21, 2009, accessed Oct 8, 2010
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- CDM : CafedelMontenegro
- "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.