Bosnian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina by about 2.2 million people. On a formal level, Bosnian began to emerge as a distinct language after the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It became one of official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994, along with Croatian and Serbian.
Bosnian is written with both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. Historically it was written with a version of the Cyrillic alphabet known as Bosnian Cyrillic from the late 10th century. This alphabet was only used in Bosnia. During the Ottoman era Bosnian was written with a version of the Arabic alphabet.
The first Bosnian dictionary, a rhymed Bosnian–Turkish glossary authored by Muhamed Hevaji Uskufi, was composed in 1631.
Bosnian is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Croatian, Serbian and Montenegrin. For more information see an article about Serbo-Croatian language issues.
This chart shows the Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet, which was used from the 10th century until the 20th century, in some places. It was never standardised and most letters had several different forms - the typical forms are shown here. Some of the letters used in the modern Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet were not used in this version, and there are some extras letters that are no longer used.
Hear the Bosnian alphabet
Cвa љyдскa бићa paђajy сe слoбoднa и jeднaкa y дoстojaнствy и пpaвимa. Oнa сy oбдapeнa paзyмoм и свиjeшћy и тpeбa дa jeднo пpeмa дpyгoмe пoстyпajy y дyхy бpaтствa.
Sva ljudska bića rađaju se slobodna i jednaka u dostojanstvu i pravima. Ona su obdarena razumom i sviješću i treba da jedno prema drugome postupaju u duhu bratstva.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Bosnian
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Page last modified: 22.02.22
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