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BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Language

Cities in BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Sarajevo

Bosnian Language MapPhoto:Public domain

To satisfy every population group, Bosnia-Herzegovina has had three official languages since 1991: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, three variants of Serbo-Croatian, which hardly differ from one another, comparable to the differences between English and American.

Serbo-Croatian is a Slavic language and is related to Slovenian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian and Belarusian. Serbian (Ekavski) and Croatian (Ijekavski) are in fact dialects of each other. The difference is that many Croatian words with a letter "j" or the sound "ij" appear in the first syllable have a Serbian equivalent, but without these letter (s).

Some examples:

Enlgish Serbian Croatian

river reka rijeka

milk mleko mlijeko

child dete dijete

left levo lijevo

nice lepo lijepo

president predsednik predsjednik

Germany Nemacka Njemacka

Bosnian has many Turkish words, a holdover from Turkish rule. Serbs and Croats have purified their language more in order to distinguish themselves from the others.

Serbian is often written in the Cyrillic script (Bosancica); Bosnian and Croatian in Latin.

The Cyrillic script dates back to the ninth century and was designed by two Byzantine missionaries, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius. The Cyrillic script is based on Greek and Hebrew letters.

Common names in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Muslim girls: Azra, Saliha

Serbian girls: Nina, Radmila

Croatian girls: Silvija, Natalia

Muslim boys: Aziz, Hajrudin

Serbian Boys: Dragan, Milan

Croatian boys: Franjo, Danko

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Sources

Campschreur, W. / Bosnië-Herzegovina : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen : Novib

Gabrielpillai, M. / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gareth Stevens Publishing

Milivojevic, J. / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Children’s Press

Phillips, D. / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Chelsea House Publishers

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2021
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