Learn Bosnian!

If you want to learn Bosnian, you may have to be a little forgiving with some of your resources, as I'll explain below. Also called Bosniak, it is spoken by over 2 million people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also in nearby Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It is mutually intelligible with Croatian and Serbian and uses both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Bosnian is a Slavic language and closely related to Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian and less so with Russian and other Slavic languages.

Bosnian was once considered a dialect of Serbo-Croatian, which could be called a macro-language. Serbo-Croatian consisted of Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and possibly another dialect or two. It was mostly a political creation in the country of Yugoslavia, where the Serbs imposed their rule, but as that country broke apart in the 1990's, the individual dialects began to assert theselves as separate languages and some of their differences are becoming more apparent. One of the ways in which Bosnian is different is in the adoption of more loan vocabulary from Turkish and Arabic.

Today, there are still a decent number of resources to learn Serbo-Croatian as a macro-language, but far fewer to learn the intricacies of the individual languages. Serbian gets the most attention, but there are also a few resources for Croatian. Unforunately for you, Bosnian gets the least attention and there are the fewest dedicated resources for this language. You can use resources for Serbo-Croatian or the other individual languages as a starting point, but keep in mind that there may be some differences between them and your target language of Bosnian.

FSI Serbo-Croatian This is a very comprehensive course to learn Bosnian, but it is much older, based on the old Serbo-Croatian standard. You will need some more modern vocabulary from another source, but it will get you on a good start. The best part of this course is that you can download it for free! There are a few reasonably priced software programs based on this course - see Additional Resources below if you would like that alternative.

Before You Know It, or BYKI as it is known, is a vocabulary flashcard program from Transparent Language that has lots of little extras, and they keep improving it all the time. With thousands of words and phrases of vocabulary and native-speaker audio, BYKI Bosnian is a great supplement to help you learn Bosnian. One of the features I most like is the fact that you can edit and add vocabulary yourself. Combined with other learning sources and a little creativity, BYKI can be an indispensable part of your language learning routine. Best of all you can try a limited version for free! Get your Free BYKI™ Lite download by Transparent Language

Book/Audio Combo
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
This course is a unique solution to the problem that Bosnian (along with Serbian and Croatian) presents - how to make a course for each of three very closely related languages. This is one course that teaches the common characteristics of the three languages, along with sections for each language separately in order to focus on the unique qualities of each. This is probably your best option to learn Bosnian because it is really the only comprehensive course that deals with Bosnian specifically. Be aware that there is a textbook, a grammar and an audio portion that are all sold separately. The link to the right is only for the textbook - be sure to add the audio and grammar also if you want it. I highly recommend getting the audio with the textbook at the least.

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'Some have larger vocabularies than others, some deploy a greater variety of sounds than others, but no language is better than another. Languages are devoid of hierarchy.'

- Mark Abley

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