1. Grammar and Spelling
Section One – Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender: Bosnian has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.
2. Plurals: Plurals can be recognised by suffixes added to nouns.
3. Cases: There are seven cases of nouns according to the Latin language and a further one for Bosnian. All common nouns have genders and cases of nouns are formed by inflections at the end of a word.
4. One-letter words: There are several one-letter words: ‘a’ and ‘i’ can both mean ‘and’, and ‘o’ means ‘about’.
5. Articles: There are no articles in the Bosnian language.
6. Capitalisation: In headings, only the first letter of the first noun is capitalised. In place names, each word is capitalised. Neither languages nor the names of days and months are capitalised.
Section Two – Punctuation
Punctuation is similar to English.
The sentences below are translated and punctuated in the following way: (please note that personal and geographical names are written phonetically)
“Give me more work!”, shouted Chloe. - "Daj mi još posla!" - uzviknula je Kloe. (a hyphen is used between the quoted words and the following verb e.g. ‘asked’, ‘shouted’, ‘said’ etc)
“Would anyone like some tea?” asked George. - "Da li bi neko želio čaja?" - upitao je Džordž.
“I’m bored – can I go home now?”, Michala said. - "Dosadno mi je, mogu li ići kući sada?" - reče Mikala.
Apostrophes can be used when a word is pronounced and written in its shortened form e.g. kao => k’o. The omitted vowel is marked with an apostrophe.
Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: The metric system is used but computer monitors, pipe/tube diameters, nautical miles, size of computer disks etc are given as imperial measurements.
There are no measurements specific to Bosnian.
A decimal comma is used to denote decimals e.g. 4,5 cm.
The times and dates below are written as follows in Bosnian:
10.30 am / noon / 4.30 pm / midnight - 10.30 / 12.00 / 16.00 / 24.00
20 February 2004 20. februar 2004.
A space is not required between a figure and a measurement abbreviation e.g. 100%, 30°C.
The Bosnian equivalents for the following abbreviations are:
Days of the week: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun pon. ut. sre. čet. pet. sub. ned.
Months: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Section Four – Hyphenation
Hyphenation is not commonly used to join words together in Bosnian.
Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
Bosnian is a tonal language. Tonal markers can be used to distinguish between the meanings of various words e.g.
‘I asked him to give the money to Peter’ – ‘Zamolio sam ga da dâ novac Petru’
A circumflex needs to be added to the second ‘da’ to indicate that the ‘â’ should be pronounced as a long vowel and that the whole word should be stressed.
In Bosnian, all foreign place names are written phonetically e.g. Luxembourg => Luksemburg, Lyons => Lion, New York => Njujork.
Surnames can be written in capital letters but not within a sentence and they can appear before first names in lists etc (school children are used to saying their surname before their first name).
Section Six – Geographic Distribution
The Bosnian language (bosanski jezik) is one of the standard written versions
of the Central South Slavic diasystem, formerly
known as Serbo-Croatian.
The name for the language is a controversial issue. Croats and Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina call their language Croatian and Serbian. The constitution of Republika Srpska, where the language is also official, refers to the language as "Language spoken by Bosniaks", as does the government of Serbia.
Section Seven – Character Set
[ ] = Alt key codes
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