Background and status
Bosnian (together with Croatian and Serbian) is one of the three Serbo-Croatian forms of language that is used in an official capacity not only in Bosnia, but also Herzegovina. These three forms were, up until 1994, treated as a singular language.
The actual name “Bosnian” frequently comes under some contention. It is often referred to instead as “Bosniak” or “Bosniac”. This is to show that it is considered to be the standard language of only Bosniak people, instead of those who live in Bosnia. Bosniaks are a Muslim South Slavic ethnic group, while Bosnian is the collective name referring to those who live in Bosnia or Herzegovina.
Contemporary Bosnian is spoken by approximately 2.5 million people, most of them residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Sandzak region of Serbia and Montenegro.
Growth and usage
The Bosnian language is very similar to spoken Serbian and Croatian. Most linguists agree that the three languages differ even less than the American, Australian, and British dialects of English. However, after the dissolution of the former Yugoslav Republic, a newfound nationalism developed among the peoples of present-day Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. One way in which they attempted to establish unique national identities, after having been part of a shared Yugoslav identity for so many years, was through language.
Today, Bosnian is spoken in many countries around the world, such as Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey. It is a language that has blossomed, even through a relatively late development compared to other language that formed around this time. In terms of business and tourism, according to the WTO, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest expanding industry for the years between 1995 and 2020, so this is an excellent time to be making business connections with the Bosnian language.