Bosnia and Herzegovina

Culture

Bosniaks (48% of the population), Serbs (37.1%), and Croats (14.3%) form the largest ethnic groups in the country. Since the break-up of Yugoslavia, Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim — an adherent of Islam. Also note that ethnicity and religion mostly overlap; with Muslims (45% of the population, mostly Bosniaks), Orthodox Christians (36%, mostly Serbs), and Catholic Christians (15%, mostly Croats) being the three main faith groups of the country. There are also some Protestants and Jews as well.

Talk

The official languages in the Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, all three known as Serbo-Croatian as they are practically the same language. Serbo-Croatian is written in both Latin and in Cyrillic, making it the only Slavic language to officially use both scripts. In the Republika Srpska you’ll see signs in Cyrillic, so a Serbian-English dictionary would be helpful there.

A lot of Bosnians, especially the younger generation will speak English. A surprising number of young people will also know at least some German, because many people from Bosnia sought refuge in Germany during the war, or visited relatives in Germany during or after the war. The older generations tended to have studied English, French or German in school.

Many Bosnians speak excellent English, but these are professionals and none of them work in hotels, restaurants, bus stations, or drive taxis. Stated positively, every day Bosnians will insist upon buying you coffee and cakes while engaging you in long and deep intellectual discussions, in perfect English. You’ll need to learn a little Bosnian to buy a snack at a bakery and tell a taxi driver where you’re staying, but this is easy enough.

(source: Wikitravel)

 

 

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