Bosnian 101

The name for the language is a controversial issue for neighbouring Croats and Serbs. Croats and Serbs call their languages Croatian and Serbian. The constitution of the Republika Srpska, where the language is also official, refers to it as the "Language spoken by Bosniaks" ("Jezik kojim govore Bošnjaci"). The use of the language will remain an issue as the three entities of Bosnia and Hercegovina will continue to call the spoken language that which identifies their ethnic background. Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) choose the language Bosnian, Serbs continue call their language Serbian, and Croats call the language Croatian. The constitutions of RS and FBIH recognize all three languages, but it is the people that refuse to settle on a name for what is overall the same language.

Bosniak language (bošnjački jezik) is the prescribed name of the language in Serbian[1], while the Serbian Ministry of Education recognizes it as Bosnian. Some Croatian linguists (Radoslav Katičić, Dalibor Brozović and Tomislav Ladan) consider the appropriate name to be "Bosniak" rather than "Bosnian". In their opinion, the appellation "Bosnian" refers to the whole country, therefore implying that "Bosnian" is the national standard language of all Bosnians, not only Bosniaks. Some other Croatian linguists (Zvonko Kovač, Ivo Pranjković) recognize it as Bosnian. Bosniak linguists and intellectuals (for instance Muhamed Filipović) consider interpretation of some Croatian and Serbian linguists as nationalistic actions against Bosniaks and their identity, as the situation in Serbia and Croatia was very anti-Bosniak in the light of Bosnian War.

It is important to observe that the Dayton Peace Accord officially recognizes and specifies the Bosnian language as a distinct language spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Bosniaks. This distinction and official recognition of the Bosnian language is further acknowledged by signatures of the former presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman) and Serbia (Slobodan Milošević). As such the Bosnian language is officially recognized by constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.

No Croatian and Serbian linguistic authorities had been contacted when this issue was settled[citation needed]. According to Croatian participant Radoslav Dodig, the renaming of "Bosniak" into "Bosnian" was not a process, but a semi-hidden maneouvre.

Although, the Bosnian language is spoken mostly by Bosniaks, there are also small groups of Bosnian Croats and Serbs in Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla regions who claim to speak Bosnian. For instance, Željko Komšić, a Croat member of Bosnian Presidency calls his mother tongue, the Bosnian language.

Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are examples of ausbauspraches, since they are largely mutually intelligible.

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