Sarajevo - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Most people speak some English to get by. The Embassy offers language courses. If you learn a few phrases and greetings, you'll be fine. - Apr 2021

Most locals speak enough English to help you with whatever you need. Many of the older people don't speak English, but are passable in German or Russian. But if you want to really get out beyond Sarajevo and the expat world, knowing some Bosnian is a huge help (not to mention respectful--we're living here, after all). There is the embassy's language program, and also plentiful local tutors at VERY reasonable rates. - Dec 2017

A little. Most people speak some English, but it is nice to learn some of the language to make life easier for yourself. - Sep 2017

Young people speak English. You don't need to speak Bosnian but locals would appreciate it. - Feb 2017

We had language training and I use it everyday. However, English is spoken by pretty much everyone under 30. - May 2016

It's helpful to know a few things to get around. The phonetic alphabet makes reading/writing Bosnian easy! But English is widely spoken, even by some grocery store check-out workers! - Aug 2014

None in Sarajevo. Know the pleasantries,and you will break the ice better. Everyone under the age of 45 speaks some English. The main exception, being women who work at the check-outs at all the markets. They generally speak none. Also, English is less prevalent in the hinterland than it is in the cities. - Nov 2012

Not much, but locals appreciate the attempt. I picked up a little and it helped. - Aug 2011

some basics. - May 2011

It helps, but it's not essential to survival in Sarajevo. - May 2010

Very little. Point and nod works well. If you want to converse, you will need to learn the language, as some people speak English, but many do not or are not comfortable trying to. - Jun 2009

Not too many people speak English, so it is a good idea to learn the basics (call a taxi, ask for prices, order food, etc). - Mar 2009

Basics. Some do without but I think it is nice to at least know how to buy things at the marked. Don't expect many Bosnians to speak English. - Dec 2008

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