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Talk:Bosnian phrasebook

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Phasebook project[edit]

I'll be filling in this Bosnian language phrasebook over the next few months, any other helpers out there? I'm not a native speaker of the language so feedback would be appreciated. Also, anyone want to do a Croatian or Serbian phrasebook? Obviously, whichever one is completed first can be used as a starting template for the other two. Esbullin 14:53, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)

Aren't the three languages practically identical? My understanding is that for spoken use the Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian (or Bosniak) dialects are indistinguishable. Nationalism aside, is there really a reason to have separate phrasebooks for these three?
That is incorrect. While it is true that Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are to a great extent mutually comprehensible, they are nonetheless quite distinguishable. A good parallel might be British and American English. Having said that, I think that we will want to have three separate phrasebooks for two different reasons:
1)There *are* differences in common lexical items and in the grammer between the three languages. While a non-native speaker of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian will probably be understood if using a word from a dialect/language other than the region they are in, the use of such a word will quite often cause feelings of ill-will coming from the person being spoken to. As a non-native speaker of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian with extensive travel/work experience in the ex-yu, I would urge you to trust me on this on.
2)While I agree with the gist of what you are saying, which is that Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian is essentially one language from a linguistic point of view, the political reality is that they are three separate languages. Indeed, these languages grow more and more seperate by the day due to increasing adoptation of neologisms "authentic" to whichever tongue.
Finally, if we were to create one phrasebook for all three languages, what would you call that language? Would we include the different grammatical structures for each phrase? If so, why? It's much easier to simply create three different phrasebooks.
I think that the beauty of this medium is that the sections can be infinitely modified and tailored to suite the needs of the traveler. If a local Bosnian, or Croatian, or Serbian word will go over better and garner more smiles than a non-local one, why not? Esbullin 22:39, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)

Icelandic and Faroese are around 90% mutually intelligable, but they're not the same language. Different alphabets, slightly different sounds seperate them, I'm pretty sure this is the case for Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian; afterall Serbian uses the cyrillic alphabet so there's one case for a different word book. I understand the point being made of the two languages massive similarity but there are minute differences, and of course political reasons for there to be two seperate phrasebooks.

I'd present for contrast our Spanish phrasebook. We have just the one phrasebook, even though there are many, many Spanish speaking countries with some non-trivial differences between them. We deal with this by having some notes on the phrasebook proper, and notes in the "Talk" section of each country page if there are other variations.
Spanish speaking people don't resent having their language called something other than Spanish. This is not the case among Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. Esbullin 22:39, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)
The best reason I can think of for having separate phrasebooks is that Serbians use the Cyrillic alphabet, while Croats and Bosnian Muslims use the Latin one. I think that we could reasonably have both spellings on the same phrasebook, though. --Evan 22:13, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)
So, I'm pretty convinced here. I'd like to sum up the pros and cons of having separate phrasebooks for Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian/Bosniak, rather than a single "Serbo-Croatian" phrasebook. Please feel free to edit the following list rather than responding to it.
I'm glad we talked this out. I know that language in the Balkans is a very prickly subject, and I figured we should try and discuss it as soon as it comes up, rather than having controversy broadside us later. I'm very glad that we have good reasons for doing this outside of assuaging some group or another. Our job isn't to make anyone feel better; it's to make a good travel guide that gives the straight story to the traveller. As always, the traveller comes first. But it sounds like separate phrasebooks are best for the traveller, so I think we should keep them. --Evan 23:39, 21 Dec 2004 (EST)
  • Cons
    1. Similarity between languages means duplication of work, harder to keep up to date
    2. Kowtowing, or appearance of kowtowing, to extreme (or not so extreme) nationalists in each region
  • Pros
    1. Different scripts (Cyrillic vs. Latin)
    2. Using the wrong words or phrases can cause ill will towards the traveller
    3. Sufficiently different languages that having them all together would be confusing and complicated

Hey, I have some Bosnian friends at school and have been learning the language for about a month. I'd definitely like to work with you on your book as I have already been working on one for a while (just on paper, not in electronic form). Also, in reference to the differences between Bos/Cro/Serb I know that quite a few words vary only slighty in spelling however some words are totally different. What you can do is use one of the languages as a base (I use Bosnian) for your list of words. Then, if the Croatian or Serbian equivalent is different, simply write it next to the Bosnian word. This will save you from having to make 3 separate books and rewriting some words that are exactly the same. E-mail me at [email protected] for collaboration... Some good starting resources are:

Spare me all these nationalist/religious clichés; these are getting old and NOTHING good will come out of them. Serbo-Croatian is ONE language; in fact it is the ONLY Slavic language written in both Latin and Cyrillic alphabet. If you want to talk about another language, compare Serbo-Croatian with, let us say, Russian or Polish, now THOSE are similar, yet different, languages. "Politically forced"?; You know the Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and the other Southern Slavs (except Bulgars) actually volunteered to create Yugoslavia in 1918 and then later in 1945?

Also remember that some things can have two or more words that represent it, usually one is a more formal version. I like to list out both formal and informal words (for instance there are many words for mother: Baba, Mati, Majka). The second link up there is prone to problems such as this (It lists Sunday as Nedjelja, which I beleive is the Croation pronunciation as my Bosnian friend says Nedelja, without the J)


Anyone know how to format the letters/pronunciation better? I think it's confusing to have the letter on one line and the "like as in" on the next Esbullin 14:53, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)

It also doesn't make any sense. For example, there is no "ah" in "aardvark". Maybe you mean "like 'a' in 'father'" or "like 'ar' in 'hard'" or "like 'aar' in 'aardvark'" (although I don't see much difference between the last two). In any event, it's usually best to follow the phrasebook template unless there's a real good reason not to. --Evan 22:00, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)
Aside from the fact that my view on the status of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian *does* make sense, I do agree with you that my fake phonetic explanation is incorrect at parts. I was using the template and rushing through (and I've never used fake phonetics like this before, only International Phonetics). It was my intention to just get some stuff on the page and then go through and correct it(or wait until someone else did). I thought that was the philosophy here.
As someone new to this project, I'm a little surprised that I took on a task like starting a phrasebook and didn't get as much as a welcome from a veteran Wikitraveller. Esbullin 22:46, 20 Dec 2004 (EST)
Please, take it as a compliment that your work engaged my interest and I forgot my manners. I just left a welcome message on User talk:Esbullin. Sorry for the businesslike tone.
As for "not making sense" -- I meant the phonetics, not the phrasebook itself. And, of course, you're right: I should just plunge forward and work on the phrasebook myself. You're also right that something is better than nothing, and that getting a new phrasebook started is a big step. Nice job -- let's keep up the momentum! --Evan 23:48, 21 Dec 2004 (EST)