I haven’t read this book, but I hear it’s good. A review recently appeared in my stack of things to read in my Google Reader, and the title has stayed in my mind for the past couple of weeks. Anyway, today I had to speak in front of a group of people at church. I play the guitar, and the leading of the singing time fell to me this week (several people who usually do it were sick). Everything was in Bosnian: the songs, the prayer, everything.
June 5th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink
Yesterday a useful comment came from the nice people over at Voxy, makers of the graphic from yesterday’s post. According to Voxy, who cited information from the Foreign Service Institute’s language difficulty rankings (available here), Bosnian and Croatian are indeed both level 2 languages, equivalent with Serbian in difficulty for English speakers. I didn’t really have any doubt, personally, that all three languages would fall into the same category, seeing as they were all once considered part of one single language, but it is validating to see that some standard makers apparently share that opinion as well. » Read the rest of this entry «
In the golden years of Yugoslavia, Tito was in power, everyone had a job, Yugoslav citizens enjoyed relative freedom and prosperity, and the citizens recognized one language as the official language of their country — Serbo-Croatian. Amazingly, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the resulting seven countries — Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro — all claim different languages as their official, national tongues. As one reader has already reminded me, this is a fact that you dare not forget, if you come to the region as a foreigner hoping to learn the ways of people here in the republics of the former Yugoslavia.
“Did you me understand?”
“What did said?”
“It means that I am paid two times last month, so I don’t need that I pay for this month.”
“So it is.”
“Thanks. I must that I go. Until sighting.”
“Until sighting. Bye!”
No, the above gibberish was not a transcript of the latest conversation with my two-year-old. It was a conversation from this morning, with my two-year-old’s teacher. I write this to illustrate one of the finer points of language acquisition on the road to fluency: word order.
Continuing in my newfound infatuation with something called the New York Times (obsessed with punctuality, pretpostavljam), I happened recently upon a section called Idea of the Day, a blog which, not surprisingly, daily muses briefly on new ideas. An article from late 2009 entitled Why Save Dying Languages? caught my attention because of its colorful title. Yes, the theme is related to language acquisition — which is why I felt freedom to blog about it — but the implies a conclusion that probably draws the ire of enthusiastic language learners out there: it is good that, as cultures come together, secondary languages be gradually relegated to society’s dust heap.
Today I discovered another incredibly interesting resource (or, maybe it’s more like an excursion — it seems to have been meant purely for liesure) on language, called, fittingly, On Language. It’s a column in the New York Times magazine which, as I realized moments after starting to read, has apparently run its course. In the above article, the current author pays homage to William Safire, the distinguished journalist who started the column some 30 years ago, and announces that On Language will soon be discontinued.
It seems I’ve unfortunately missed out on a fascinating portal into the direction of modern communication (I suppose I can still access the online archives to see what I’ve missed). The title of the above article got me to thinking, though, about a new facet of Bosnian that I learned about recently: the various ways to say that something will (or may) happen in the future. » Read the rest of this entry «
February 18th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink
I have canceled my “Language Practice” — my daily meetings with a local Bosnian friend/tutor to practice language — each of the past two days. My personality type is generally very comfortable with change and uncertainty; however, for some reason I am always very upset inside when my language schedule gets messed up. I think part of the reason I hate to mess with the daily schedule is because I remember how hard it was to put the schedule together. Many weeks were spent arranging the lives of people in our family so that my wife and I could have a consistent work schedule. » Read the rest of this entry «
February 17th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink
I can’t say enough about the textbook that I have been using for my language learning: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: A Textbook with Exercises and Basic Grammar, by Ronelle Alexander. The book comes with a companion grammar book. The casual learner should be warned, these texts are fairly advanced (even from the beginning), and move quickly through the various parts of the language. While the text moves quickly and seems to sometimes gloss over things, the grammar notebook gives in depth explanations of those same things, with more examples. Because Bosnia is a relatively small country, it is generally hard to find good texts for learning the local language. This text has been more than adequate, so far. » Read the rest of this entry «