Intensive Intermediate Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian

at the ASU Department of Languages and Literatures


  1. General Information

ASU Listing : BCS 201 (Fall), BCS 202 (Spring), 4+4 credits,

NB: This course is offered in the fall and spring only, not in the summer

More information here : or e-mail the instructor at:

Home page:

Please feel free to e-mail me any time you have any questions before, in the course of or after the course

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please write them below and press the Send button :

Intermediate Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian Chat

Intermediate Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian Bulletin Board

  1. Objectives

Students are expected to acquire level 2 language skills in reading (working proficiency, with other skills exceeding level 1+) as defined by the US Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). This level of proficiency corresponds to the advanced level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This assumes the following skills:


Sufficient comprehension to understand conversations on routine social demands and limited job requirements. Able to understand face-to-face speech in a standard dialect, delivered at a normal rate with some repetition and rewording, by a native speaker not used to dealing with foreigners, about everyday topics, common personal and family news, well-known current events, and routine office matters through descriptions and narration about current, past, and future events; can follow essential  points of discussion or speech at an elementary level on topics in his/her special professional field. Only understands occasional words and phrases of statements made in unfavorable conditions; for example, through loudspeakers outdoors. Understands factual content. Native language causes less interference in listening comprehension. Able to understand facts; i.e., the lines but not between or beyond the lines.


Sufficient comprehension to read simple, authentic written material in a form equivalent to usual printing or typescript on subjects within a familiar context. Able to read with some misunderstandings straightforward, familiar, factual material, but in general insufficiently experienced with the language to draw inferences directly from the linguistic aspects of the text. Can locate and understand the main ideas and details in material written for the general reader. However, persons who have professional knowledge of a subject may be able to summarize or perform sorting and locating tasks with written texts that are well beyond their general proficiency level. The individual can read uncomplicated, but authentic, prose on familiar subjects that are normally presented in a predictable sequence which aids the reader in understanding. Texts may include descriptions and narrations in contexts such as news items describing frequently occurring events, simple biographical information, social notices, formulaic business letters, and simple technical material written for the general reader. Generally the prose that can be read by the individual is predominantly in straightforward/high-frequency sentence patterns. The individual does not have a broad active vocabulary (that is, which he/she recognizes immediately on sight), but is able to use contextual and real-world cues to understand the text. Characteristically, however, the individual is quite slow in performing such a process. He/she is typically able to answer factual questions about authentic texts of the types described above.


Able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements. Can handle routine work-related interactions that are limited in scope. In more complex and sophisticated work-related tasks, language usage generally disturbs the native speaker. Can handle with confidence, but not with facility, most normal, high-frequency social conversational situations including extensive, but casual conversations about current events, as well as work, family, and autobiographical information. The individual can get the gist of most everyday conversations but has some difficulty understanding native speakers in situations that require specialized or sophisticated knowledge. The individual's utterances are minimally cohesive. Linguistic structure is usually not very elaborate and not thoroughly controlled; errors are frequent. Vocabulary use is appropriate for high-frequency utterances, but unusual or imprecise elsewhere.


Able to write routine social correspondence and prepare documentary materials required for most limited work requirements. Has writing vocabulary sufficient to express himself/herself simply with some circumlocutions. Can write simply about a very limited number of current events or daily situations. Still makes common errors in spelling and punctuation but shows some control of the most common formats and punctuation conventions. Good control of morphology of language (in inflected languages) and of the most frequently used syntactic structures. Elementary constructions are usually handled quite accurately and writing is understandable to a native reader not used to reading the writing of foreigners. Uses a limited number of cohesive devices.

Take a look at the IRL scale, the justification behind it, and an elaborate description of the levels:

Information available through the Summer Institute of Linguistics

On the Defense Language Institute scale of foreign language complexity, which ranges from 1 (simplest) to 4 (most difficult), the value of Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian is 3, with only languages such as Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese being more difficult. Ample individual work will be needed to reach the desired level during a two-month course.

This course is a continuation of Intensive Elementary Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian (syllabus available at: ). Course participants must have attained 1+ proficiency level in reading to enroll; the course is open to anyone at this proficiency level (whether or not Intensive Elementary Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian was completed). The course is a part of the integral Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian studies at the CLI; this program envisages the possibility that the students may increase their skills beyond level 2 proficiency as follows. The 2+ proficiency level level (limited working proficiency plus) may be attained if the student pursues the follow-up summer practicum in Montenegro, Yugoslavia (organized by Azbukum [ ]); level 3 proficiency (general professional proficiency) may be attained if the student participates in the Year Abroad program in the former Yugoslavia (administered by the REESC). Combining the summer practicum with the year abroad program, one can reach level 3+ (general professional proficiency plus).

  1. Methodology

The course will principally use the communicative contrastive approach. Unlike the Intensive Elementary Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian course, which seeked to introduce the core grammar of Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian, this course will only review these structures and touch upon several finer points of grammar (verbal adverbs, impersonal syntactic structures, etc.) while at the same time introducing the Cyrillic script. In general, the course will be focused on building reading and listening heuristics as well as techniques of efficient conversation and correspondence. Elements of grammar-and-text methodology will be mediated by simplified decision-making schemata and heuristics. Special emphasis will be put on the cross-cultural differences. See the explanation of how schemata and heuristics have been used in teaching morphology at

  1. Course Outline

The coursework consists of the following: a). classes centered around the textbook with ample role-playing exercises (Mon-Fri), b). homework assignments (Mon-Wed), c). individual audio and computer lab work (Mon-Thu). This course will put a much higher emphasis on the active participation on the part of the students than did the Intensive Introductory Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian.

The course will encourage cooperative rather than competitive relations among students in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

  1. Grading policy

Students will be graded on the A (excellent) to E (fail) scale depending on proficiency level reached, as defined by the ACTFL.

See the description of these levels at the SIL pages.



Percentage of the required skills


Advanced plus

90 % and above



80 % and above


Advanced high to Advanced

60 % and above


Intermediate high

40 % and above


Anything lower

39 % and below

The coursework will contribute toward the final grade approximately as follows:

Attendance and participation:

20 %


15 %


15 %

Midterm exam:

20 %

Final exam:

30 %

  1. Course materials

There will be no specific textbook for this course. Students will use real-life texts, both written and spoken, along with a series of exercises and scenarios prepared by the instructor. However, students are encouraged to obtain a SerboCroatian - English and English - SerboCroatian dictionary, preferably Morton Benson's. Students should have at least one hundred sheets of paper, index cards, black and red pencils, as well as markers. Ample material is available on-line (see H. below). You can also order Benson's dictionary at

Here are examples of two short texts, which will be used in the course:


Korak ka punoj normalizaciji 

(Od našeg stalnog dopisnika)   Sarajevo, 8. decembra Jučerašnja odluka Predsedništva BiH da se pristupi uspostavljanju diplomatskih odnosa sa SRJ predstavlja odlucujuci korak ka punoj normalizaciji odnosa izmedu dve zemlje, kaže se u izjavi Željka Samardžije, savetnika predsedavajućeg Predsedništva Živka Radišica. "Izmena jednog dela teksta ponuđenog protokola o uspostavljanju diplomatskih odnosa jeste, zapravo, rezultat kompromisa koji je omogućio deblokadu celog procesa, a veliku zaslugu u ovom slučaju imaju članovi Predsedništva BiH". "Ukoliko iz Beograda brzo stigne pozitivan odgovor na ponuđeni nacrt protokola, uskoro ćemo biti u prilici da se bavimo i iznalaženjem uslova za smeštaj ambasade SRJ u Sarajevu", kaže se u izjavi koja je iz Radišićevog kabineta dostavljena sredstvima informisanja.  M. K.

Delegacija Svetske banke u NIS-u 

Novi Sad, 8. decembra (Tanjug) Delegacija Svetske banke iz Vašingtona na čelu sa Henkom Bušom, direktorom Sektora energetike za Evropu i Centralnu Aziju posetila je Naftnu industriju Srbije, saopšteno je danas iz sedišta te kompanije. U razgovoru sa Rajkom Tomanovicem, pomocnikom generalnog direktora NIS-a za razvoj i rukovodstom NIS-Naftagasa, izražena je obostrana spremnost za nastavak dugoročne saradnje, koja je prekinuta pre desetak godina, navodi Centar za odnose sa javnošću NIS-a.

Following the translation of the texts, students will be asked questions about them and will be asked to discuss the issues mentioned in the text.

An example of a scenario would be a situation in which all students take part in a legal process; e.g., one student is the judge, and others are attorneys, defendants, etc.

  1. Schedule


Q=Quiz, ME=Midterm Exam, FE=Final Exam, T –Text, S - Scenario

Use the following workbook for grammatical review and improvement: First part, second part.
You will also be using Contact me to get a password.




Texts and scenarios



(18 hours)

Introduction, Summary of level 1+ skills; Social life I: Home, family, friends; Diseases and their treatment

Review 1: Cases, functions, pronominal and nominal endings; Prepositions

T: House plan; My family, Matrimonial offers from newspapers, Real Estate Catalogs; S: Selling a house, Gossiping about one’s neighbors, Visiting a doctor & more



(18 hours)

Social life II: Going out, movies, theaters, bars, restaurants, shopping

Review 2: Tenses, functions, government, forms

T: Theater program, Menu, Newspaper review of night life in Belgrade, Articles about prices; S: Deciding which movie to see, Ordering a three-course meal, Grocery shopping & more



(18 hours)

Law, Police, Office, Forms

Review 3: Pronouns, Numerals, Adverbs, Conjunctions

T: Articles about crime and legal processes, common forms; S: Interrogation; Legal process, Getting things done with authorities & more



(18 hours)

Politics, media, history, military

Verbal Adverbs

T: Printed and radio news, including war reports S: Campaigning, Conducting an interview, Issuing commands



(18 hours)

Travel, transportation, sightseeing, weather

Verbal Aspect; Less common usage of the tenses/moods

T: Printed and radio weather forecasts, News for tourists; S: Talking about weather and climate, Choosing where to go on vacation, renting a car & more



(18 hours)

Business, banking, finances

Anaphoric reference, Binding

T: Business news, both printed and radio, Banking ads; S. Conducting a business transaction, opening a bank account & more



(18 hours)

Sports, games, hobbies, music

Word order in multi-clause sentences

T: Sports section of a newspaper, live coverages, interviews with musicians; S. Talking about one’s hobbies, Chatting about favorite music & more



(9 hours)

Culture, customs

Impersonal clausal models

T: Texts about main holidays and customs, Interviews with writers, Excerpts from the key works of literature; S: Explaining American customs & more



(9 hours)

Final review

Final review

Final review


The acquisition of the reading and writting skills in the Cyrillic alphabet is mandatory in this course (as opposed to the facultative acquisiton at the intermediate level). The course features documents in the Cyrillic scripts and its first six weeks feautre intensive drills in the use of the Cyrillic script.

E. Links to Course and Post-Course Materials

Check this section from time to time! More links to come!

Get your fonts and keyboard drivers at: or at:

Lexical and pragmatic formulae lists

·         1,500 lexical minimum for this course (the level 1 list)

·         Intentional phrases

·         Thematic phrases

·         7,600-unit subject-matter list

Grammar aids

On-line dictionaries

On-line excercises

Lexical Drills

Lexical Fields
Lexical Fields again
Lexical Equivalents: Pronouns
Lexical Equivalents: Verbs
Lexical Equivalents: Garment
Lexical Equivalents: Adjectives
Lexical Equivalents: Verbs again
Lexical Equivalents: Nature
Lexical Equivalents: Animals (Polish)
Lexical Equivalents: Adjectives (Polish)
Lexical Equivalents: Nature (Polish)


Cyrillic into Latin
Cyrillic into Latin in Excel
Latin into Cyrillic in Excel
Cyrillic vs. Latin table

Grammar Drills

The Accusative of Nouns
The Accusative of Nouns and Adjectives
The Acc. Pl. of Nouns and Adjectives
The Genitive
The Genitive Plural
The Instrumental
The Dative/Locative
Nouns again
Pronouns again
The Pronoun koji
Prepositional Phrases
Numerals again
Numerals with Nouns
Verb Aspect
The Past Tense
The Future Tense
Numerals with Nouns again
Sentence Translation (Polish)

Text Comprehension

Level 2 Text, Law and Law Enforcement
Level 2 Text, Culture 1
Level 2 Text, Culture 2
Level 2 Text, Marriage
Level 2 Text, New Year Celebration
Level 2 Text, Doctor
Level 2 Text, Festival
Level 2 Text, TV Doctor
Level 2 Text, Ballet

Listening Comprehension

Constitutional Changes
Sounds of S-Cr

Map orientation

Find Marko's Residence
Find Jelena's City
Find your business parnter
Find Peter's party

Evaluated Drills

Personal Pronouns
Noun Phrases with Pronouns
Crosswords Puzzle # 1
Crosswords Puzzle # 2
Crosswords Puzzle # 3

Send-out Forms

Your Interest in This Course

Answer keys to Šljivić-Šimšić

-         Second book, Lesson 7

-         Second book, Lessons 8 and 9

Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian Corpora and Frequency Lists



Bosnian Muslim:

Turbo Serbo FAQ

General information



(ample real audio recordings, contemorarry Serbian, Croatian, and Bosniam Muslim music)

Serbian Orthodox Chants


Serbian Cafee

South-Slavic Lists

South Slavic Library

Language schools in the former Yugoslavia

General Slavic Resources





Slavic Departments in German-Speaking Countries and Worldwide

Canadian Slavic Association




Miscellaneous Bosnia{c/n}/Croatian/Serbian links

You can order food from the former Yugoslavia at: