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.
March 7th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink
I realized that in my previous post about Bosnian greetings and salutations, while I did say what the single word probably means, I forgot to state the actual origin of the greeting “Bok”. As I said then, “Bok” is derived from the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian word for God, “Bog”, but it comes from a phrase that was probably said in the middle ages around the Catholic regions throughout Croatia and southern Bosnia, “Bog te pozdravi”, literally, “God greets you”. When leaving, people would also say, “Idi s Bogom”, or “go with God”, which again was eventually shortened to “Bog” or “Bok”. In some parts of Croatia, people actually say “Bog”, the literal word for “God”, when coming and leaving.
This got me to thinking about one part of the language that is always (ironically) hardest for me to understand when I hear it — religious language. When I hear the Bible read in Bosnian, I almost stop listening, because it’s so hard to understand, compared to normal conversation. So I started to think — why is that? » Read the rest of this entry «