Bosnia-Herzegovina recognises three official national languages: Bosnian, Croatian and Serb. However, the three dialects are extremely similar, with their separate names due largely to issues of national identity rather than to significant linguistic differences. Indeed, the nuances of the languages may well be lost entirely on the non-native Bosnian/Serb/Croat speaker.

The presence of international forces over the last few years has ensured that many Bosnians can understand bits of many languages (including English), though in more remote areas you are less likely to find someone able to translate.

In some parts of the country the Cyrillic alphabet is used in place of the Latin, and it’s worth learning these letters before you go if you are not familiar with them, as knowledge of the alphabet will be an enormous help in reading signs and labels, particularly as pronunciation is usually fairly straightforward. In addition, making the effort to learn a few basic phrases will also help you get by, and the courtesy will often be returned.

Useful Phrases

English
Bosnian
Hello
ćao
Goodbye
ćao
Yes
da
Perhaps
mo�da
No
ne
Please
molim vas
Thank you
hvala
Good
dobro
Where is�
gdje je�
Excuse Me
oprostite
I don’t know
ne znam
Do you know?
znate li?
I don’t understand
ne razumijem
Who?
ko?
What’s this (called?)
kako se ka�e?
How?
kako?
How much (quantity)?
koliko
How much (does it cost)?
koliko ko�ta
Enough
dosta