The Department of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Language is one of the academic divisions of the Faculty of Philosophy that developed from the Chair of Serbo-Croatian Language and Yugoslav Literature, which was established at the founding of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1950.
From its inception, the Chair offered instruction within two study programmes, where the Serbo-Croatian language was studied in combination with Yugoslav literatures as a first or second major subject. At its founding, the teaching staff comprised Dr. Jovan Vuković and Rihard Kuzmić for core courses, and Salko Nazečić, Meša Selimović and Dr. Boško Novaković for courses in literature. Soon after the founding of the Faculty, Fahra Kolaković, a specialist in the Serbo-Croatian language, and Milica Milidragović, a specialist in Russian, were employed to teach language courses, while Svetozar Marković was appointed as a faculty member. In 1958, Herta Kuna became the first alumna to be appointed as a faculty member; she taught language courses.
The bulk of the responsibility for teaching language courses during that period was shouldered by Prof. Jovan Vuković, who taught all the disciplines related to contemporary Serbo-Croatian language, as well as the history of Serbo-Croatian grammar and dialectology, and Prof. Rihard Kuzmić, who taught Old Slavonic, comparative grammar of Slavic languages and Russian, as well as an introduction to linguistics.
A separate Chair of Serbo-Croatian Language was established in 1950 and it became the basis for the development of Slavic studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo. Already in 1961, the Chair of Russian Language was established as a separate unit with Prof. Rihard Kuzmić and teaching assistant Milica Milidragović as core faculty members.
In 1971, the Chair for Serbo-Croatian Language became the Department of South Slavic Languages and since 1999 the Department has been called the Department of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Language. This was the result of an increase in teaching staff at the Chair: Ksenija Milošević (1962), Smail Karačević (1963), Nadžija Taso (1964), Hrvoje Križić (1965), Novica Petković (1969), Miloš Okuka (1969), Darija Gabrić (1971), Jagoda Jurić (1971), Josip Raos (1974), Mirjana Milković (1974), Velika Josifoska (1975), Jasna Honzak (1975), Dževad Jahić (1975), Miloš Kovačević (1976), Remzija Hadžiefendić (1978), Dr Bogdan Dabić (1979).
Teaching at the Department has always been carried out within two study programmes, i.e. with language as the first primary subject and literature as the second primary subject or vice versa. During one period, it was possible to combine the study of Serbo-Croatian language as the first or second primary subject with a foreign language or philosophy, while today it is possible to combine the study of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language as the first or second primary subject with a foreign language or another non-philological discipline. Within the framework of the obligatory combination with literature, the structure of the study programme changed over time so that the breadth of the first and second primary subject varied. This made possible the education of professionals for various specialised areas at the Department.
Teaching and research at the Department addressed issues of Serbo-Croatian language and general issues in linguistics. The curriculum also included a basic competency in Macedonian and Slovenian (at the level of a lector). All language levels were represented in the curriculum, in both a synchronic and diachronic sense, and this determined the academic interests and scholarly work of Department members. From this basic structure, new courses emerged over time (The History of Literary Language; Linguistic Stylistics; Norms and Culture of the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Language) and gradually the teaching of contemporary Serbo-Croatian language and general linguistics was made current in a theoretical and methodological sense. Today, teaching and research at the Department addresses issues of the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language and general topics in linguistics.
The Department has launched the following journals in linguistics: Pitanja savremenog književnog jezika [Issues of Contmporary Literary Language] (1949) and Književni jezik [Literary Language] (1972).
Research and scholarly work at the Department can be traced through the realisation of the Yugoslav Dialects Atlas project, the participation of faculty and lectors, as well as of the administrative staff, at the “Yugoslav Seminar for Foreign Slavists”, participation in the work of the Committee for the Writing of the New Orthography, etc. Faculty members and associates of the Department are participating in creating editions of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Dialects book series.
International cooperation at the Department consisted of writing the section of the Slavic Linguistic Atlas (OLA) related to Bosnia and Herzegovina, invited talks and work as lectors at foreign universities, participation at international scholarly forums and at international academic conferences for linguists. This has continued to be the case and in addition to this, members of the department are participating in the creation of the European Linguistic Atlas and in an international exchange of academic staff as part of the Erasmus+ project.
Since its founding to the present day, the Department has cooperated with various academic institutions, especially with the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Language Institute in Sarajevo. Cooperation with the Academy took place primarily as part of the Committee for Linguistic Issues and cooperation with the Language Institute took place through joint projects.
Since the founding of the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo, a large number of students have graduated from the Serbo-Croatian Language programme and the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Language program. The majority of these alumni teach native language subjects in primary and secondary schools, but a significant number were and continue to be active in publishing, radio and TV.
In the period from 2012 to 2017, the following members of the Department went into a well-deserved retirement: Dr. Josip Baotić, Dr. Dževad Jahić and Josip Raos, MA.
Current members of the Department of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Language are: Dr. Hasnija Muratagić-Tuna, Dr. Senahid Halilović, Dr. Ismail Palić, Dr. Amela Šehović (who is also head of the Faculty Committee of the Department), Dr. Lejla Nakaš, Dr. Bernisa Puriš, Dr. Halid Bulić, Enisa Ivojević MA, Elma Durmišević-Cernica MA, Mehmed Kardaš MA and Azra Hodžić-Čavkić.