Bosnian Language Expert Joins the “Common Language” Declaration

A university professor whose work was pivotal in setting the norm of the Bosnian language in the nineties has joined a declaration that says the official languages spoken in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are one.

Professor Senahid Halilović, the author of the Bosnian language orthography rules, singed the “Declaration on the Common Language” spoken in the four countries, reported N1. The declaration, staunchly contested by nationalists in former Yugoslav republics, says the language has the same root and can be easily understood by all native speakers. According to the declaration, the fact that the language is called differently in the four countries doesn’t mean that there are four different languages. Hundreds of intellectuals, artists and public figures have signed the declaration, which was published in 2017.

Before Yugoslavia’s bloody demise in the 1990’s, the language spoken in the four central republics was called Serbo-Croatian. The rise of nationalism saw main groups seeking to cement their ethnic identities, with language being at the center of those efforts. Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, and recently Montenegrin, were standardized, each of them having a separate set of norms.


Halilović was part of a group of professors at the University in Sarajevo that set out to define the norms of the Bosnian language, meant primarily for the country’s Bosniaks, during and after the Bosnian war of the nineties. His first book of the Bosnian language orthography rules was published in 1996. Earlier this week, Halilović published the new and updated edition of his book, which will also be available as a mobile app.

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