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Do They Speak English in Bosnia?

Do They Speak English in Bosnia

Key Takeaway Table

TopicBrief Information
Official Language of BosniaBosnian, Croatian, Serbian
English ProficiencyModerately understood, especially among younger generations and in urban areas.
Reasons for English LearningTourism, Business, Internet, Western Influence
Tourist FriendlinessMany tourist spots have English-speaking staff and information available in English.
Learning Platforms in BosniaSchools, Language Centers, Online Platforms

A Glimpse into Bosnia’s Language Landscape

Bosnia and Herzegovina, often referred to simply as Bosnia, is a country on the Balkan Peninsula known for its rich history, diverse culture, and beautiful landscapes. One of the many questions travelers and enthusiasts ask is about the language spoken in Bosnia and, specifically, the prevalence of English.

Official Languages of Bosnia

Bosnia boasts three official languages:

  1. Bosnian
  2. Croatian
  3. Serbian

These languages are very similar to one another and are, in essence, different standard varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language.

Table: Differences Among Official Languages

LanguageDistinctive Features
BosnianA mix of Ottoman Turkish, Arabic, and Persian loanwords.
CroatianUses the Latin alphabet and has Western European loanwords.
SerbianCan be written in both Latin and Cyrillic script.

How Prevalent is English in Bosnia?

Although Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian are the dominant languages in Bosnia, English is becoming more prevalent, especially among the younger population. Several reasons account for this:

  • Globalization: As with many countries, Bosnia has been influenced by globalization, leading to an increased need to communicate with the outside world.
  • Tourism: Bosnia is a growing tourist destination. With visitors from around the world, there’s a rising demand for English-speaking services.
  • Education: Many schools in Bosnia have introduced English as a second language right from the primary levels.
  • Internet and Media: The vast exposure to English content online and through Western media has driven a surge in English proficiency among the youth.

Table: Percentage of English Speakers by Age Group

Age GroupPercentage Speaking English

Visiting Bosnia: Will You Need to Speak English?

If you’re a tourist planning to visit Bosnia, you’ll be pleased to learn that:

  • Most young people have a basic understanding of English.
  • Hotels, restaurants, and major tourist spots in urban areas, such as Sarajevo and Mostar, often have English-speaking staff.
  • Tourist information, maps, and brochures are widely available in English.

However, it’s always beneficial to learn a few basic phrases in the local language. Not only is it a sign of respect, but it also enhances your travel experience. Here are some simple phrases:

  • Dobar dan – Good day
  • Hvala – Thank you
  • Da – Yes
  • Ne – No
  • Molim – Please

English Learning Platforms in Bosnia

For Bosnians looking to improve their English or for expats seeking to learn the local languages, there are numerous platforms available:

  1. Traditional Schools: Many schools offer English from primary levels, providing a strong foundation.
  2. Language Centers: There are dedicated language centers in major cities that offer courses in English and other languages.
  3. Online Platforms: Websites and apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Coursera offer language courses catering to various proficiency levels.


While Bosnia and Herzegovina has its unique languages that root deep into its history and culture, English is becoming a significant force in the nation. Whether you’re visiting as a tourist or looking to do business, you’ll find that English is reasonably understood, especially among the younger generation. However, immersing oneself in the local languages and culture always provides a richer and more authentic experience.