Bosnian (Bosanski)

travel photo to inspire Bosnian language students
Buna river, near the town of Blagaj in southern Herzegovina by Talha Şamil Çakır - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

ALPHABET MATCHING GAME VOCABULARY FLASHCARDS

Bosnian, one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stands out as a unique and captivating language due to its rich historical and cultural backdrop. As a South Slavic language, Bosnian shares many similarities with Croatian and Serbian, yet it also incorporates a significant number of loanwords from Turkish, Arabic, and Persian, reflecting the region's Ottoman influence. This blend of linguistic elements gives Bosnian a distinctive flavor, making it an intriguing subject of study for linguists and language enthusiasts. Additionally, Bosnian uses both Latin and Cyrillic scripts, although the Latin script is more commonly used, adding another layer of complexity and interest for learners.

The Bosnian language holds a special place within various communities, including the Bosniaks, who are primarily Muslim and form the largest ethnic group in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian is also spoken by diaspora communities around the world, particularly in countries like Germany, Austria, the United States, and Canada, where many Bosnians sought refuge during and after the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Learning Bosnian not only opens doors to understanding the cultural and historical nuances of the Balkans but also fosters a deeper connection with these communities. The language serves as a bridge to a region known for its diverse cultural heritage, rich traditions, and complex history, offering learners a unique perspective on Southeast Europe.

Why Learn Bosnian?

Communication skills developed while learning Bosnian can improve your interpersonal skills in your native language as well. Understanding Bosnian enhances your opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc. Skills like problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study Bosnian. Studying Bosnian offers a sense of the past: culturally and linguistically.

Learning Bosnian offers numerous benefits across cultural, professional, and personal domains. Here are some key advantages:

  • Cultural Understanding
    • Cultural Enrichment: Bosnian is a gateway to the rich cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Learning the language allows for a deeper understanding of the region's literature, music, folklore, and traditions.
    • Historical Insight: The language's unique blend of Slavic roots with Turkish, Arabic, and Persian influences provides insights into the historical interactions and cultural exchanges that have shaped the region.
  • Professional Opportunities
    • Business and Trade: Bosnia and Herzegovina is an emerging market with opportunities in sectors such as tourism, energy, and manufacturing. Proficiency in Bosnian can be an asset for business and trade in the region.
    • International Relations: For those working in international organizations, NGOs, or diplomacy, knowing Bosnian is beneficial for engaging with local communities and governments.
  • Personal Growth
    • Cognitive Benefits: Learning a new language improves cognitive functions, enhances memory, and boosts problem-solving skills. Bosnian, with its unique grammar and vocabulary, provides a stimulating challenge.
    • Language Diversity: Adding Bosnian to your linguistic repertoire enhances your understanding of the South Slavic language group and the broader linguistic diversity of the Balkans.
  • Social and Community Engagement
    • Connection with Locals: Speaking Bosnian enables deeper connections with native speakers, fostering a sense of community and mutual respect. This is particularly valuable for anyone living in or frequently visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Cultural Exchange: Knowledge of Bosnian facilitates cultural exchange and dialogue, promoting greater understanding and appreciation between different cultural groups.
  • Academic and Research Advantages
    • Linguistic Research: Bosnian offers interesting opportunities for linguistic research, particularly in the areas of language contact, dialectology, and Slavic studies.
    • Historical Research: Understanding Bosnian is valuable for historical and cultural studies of the Balkans, providing insights into the region's complex past and its interactions with neighboring cultures.
  • Travel and Living Abroad
    • Travel: Learning Bosnian makes traveling in Bosnia and Herzegovina more enjoyable and immersive, allowing for more meaningful interactions with locals and a deeper appreciation of the culture.
    • Living in Bosnia and Herzegovina: For expatriates or those planning to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, speaking Bosnian facilitates daily life, integration, and participation in local community activities.
  • Diaspora Connections
    • Diaspora Communities: With significant Bosnian communities in countries like Germany, Austria, the United States, and Canada, speaking Bosnian can help connect with diaspora groups and enhance community ties.

Overall, learning Bosnian enriches personal and professional life while contributing to the preservation and promotion of a unique and historically significant language.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Bosnian?

The time it takes to learn Bosnian can vary widely depending on several factors, including prior language experience, the amount of time dedicated to study, and the learning methods employed. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of the time investment required:

  • Factors Influencing Learning Time
    • Prior Language Experience: Familiarity with other Slavic languages, such as Serbian, Croatian, or Russian, can significantly reduce the learning time due to structural similarities and shared vocabulary.
    • Learning Intensity: Intensive study, including immersion in a Bosnian-speaking environment or intensive language courses, can accelerate learning.
    • Learning Methods: A combination of formal classes, self-study, language exchange, and regular practice with native speakers tends to be most effective.
    • Language Aptitude: Individual aptitude for learning languages can greatly influence the duration of the learning process.
  • General Time Estimates
    • Basic Proficiency: Achieving basic conversational skills typically takes around 3-6 months with consistent study (approximately 5-10 hours per week). This includes being able to handle everyday conversations and basic reading and writing tasks.
    • Intermediate Proficiency: Reaching an intermediate level, where you can hold more complex conversations, understand a broader range of topics, and read and write more confidently, might take 6 months to 1 year of dedicated study.
    • Advanced Proficiency: Attaining advanced proficiency, which includes the ability to read and write complex texts, understand nuanced speech, and engage in professional or academic discussions, could take 1-2 years or more, depending on the intensity and consistency of study and practice.
  • Structured Learning Programs
    • Formal Language Courses: Universities and language institutes may offer structured programs that can range from a few months to several years, often including opportunities for immersion and cultural experiences.
    • Self-Study Programs: Online courses, textbooks, language learning apps, and other resources can provide flexible but less structured learning paths.
  • Immersion and Practice
    • Living in a Bosnian-Speaking Environment: Immersion in a Bosnian-speaking environment, such as living in Bosnia and Herzegovina or within a Bosnian-speaking community, can significantly accelerate the learning process.
    • Language Exchange: Regular practice with native speakers through language exchange programs or conversation partners enhances language acquisition and retention.

The journey to learning Bosnian is unique for each individual. While basic conversational skills can be achieved within a few months, reaching higher levels of proficiency requires sustained effort and practice over several years. The key to success lies in consistent study, immersion, and regular practice with native speakers.

Bosnian Alphabet & Pronunciation

A a
[a]
B b
[b]
C c
[ts]
Č č
[tʃ]
Ć ć
[tɕ]
D d
[d]
Dž dž
[dʒ]
Đ đ
[dʑ]
E e
[e]
F f
[f]
G g
[ɡ]
H h
[x]
I i
[i]
J j
[j]
K k
[k]
L l
[l]
Lj lj
[ʎ]
M m
[m]
N n
[n]
Nj nj
[ɲ]
O o
[o]
P p
[p]
R r
[r]
S s
[s]
Š š
[ʃ]
T t
[t]
U u
[u]
V v
[v]
Z z
[z]
Ž ž
[ʒ]

Basic Phrases in Bosnian

HelloZdravo
GoodbyeZbogom
YesDa
NoNe
Excuse meOprostite
PleaseMolim te
Thank youHvala ti
You are welcomeNema na čemu
Do you speak englishGovoriš li engleski?
Do you understandDa li razumiješ?
I understandRazumijem
I do not understandNe razumijem
How are youKako si?
Fine thanksDobro, hvala!
What is your nameKako se zoves?
My name isMoje ime je
Pleased to meet youDrago mi je što smo se upoznali

Bosnian Grammar

Bosnian Nouns

Mančoveče
Womanžena
BoyDečko
GirlDjevojka
CatMačka
DogPas
FishRiba
WaterVoda
MilkMlijeko
EggJaje
HouseKuca
FlowerCvijet
TreeDrvo
ShirtKošulja
PantsHlače

Bosnian Adjectives

Colors in Bosnian

BlackCrna
WhiteBela
RedCrveno
OrangeNarandžasta
Yellowžuto
GreenZeleno
BluePlava
PurpleLjubičasta
PinkRoze
GraySiva
BrownSmeđa

Numbers in Bosnian

ZeroNula
OneJedan
TwoDva
ThreeTri
FourČetiri
FivePet
SixŠest
SevenSedam
EightOsam
NineDevet
TenImati
ElevenJedanaest
TwelveDvanaest
TwentyDvadeset
ThirtyTrideset
Fortyčetrdeset
FiftyPedeset
Sixtyšezdeset
SeventySedamdeset
EightyOsamdeset
NinetyDevedeset
HundredSto
ThousandHiljadu

Bosnian Verbs

To beBiti
To haveImati
To wantželjeti
To needTrebati
To helpPomoći
To goIći
To comeDoći
To eatJesti
To drinkPiti
To speakGovoriti

Building Simple Sentences

More Complex Bosnian Sentences

AndI
OrIli
ButAli
BecauseJer
WithSa
AlsoTakođe
HoweverKako god
NeitherNi jedno ni drugo
NorNiti
IfAko
ThenOnda

Useful Bosnian Vocabulary

Bosnian Questions

WhoKo
Whatšta
WhenKada
WhereGde
WhyZašto
HowKako
How manyKoliko
How muchKoliko

Days of the Week in Bosnian

MondayPonedeljak
TuesdayUtorak
WednesdaySrijeda
ThursdayČetvrtak
FridayPetak
SaturdaySubota
SundayNedjelja
YesterdayJučer
TodayDanas
TomorrowSutra

Months in Bosnian

JanuaryJanuara
FebruaryFebruar
MarchMarta
AprilAprila
MayMaja
JuneJuna
JulyJula
AugustAvgusta
SeptemberSeptembra
OctoberOktobar
NovemberNovembra
DecemberProsinca

Seasons in Bosnian

WinterZimi
SpringProljeće
SummerLeto
AutumnJesen

Telling Time in Bosnian

What time is itKoliko je sati?
HoursSata
MinutesMinuta
SecondsSekundi
O clockSati
HalfPolovina
Quarter pastčetvrt prošlosti
BeforePrije
AfterPosle