Six Bosnian Jokes

Six Bosnian Jokes

1.  Elections

An American, a Japanese, and a Bosnian talk about the elections.

The American says:

‘In America, in less than 2 hours after the elections, we know who won the elections.’

The Japanese says:

‘That’s nothing! In Japan, we know in 2 seconds.’

The Bosnian says:

‘I don’t get it, why does it take so long? In Bosnia, we know it 2 months before the elections.’


2.   Yugoslavia

What do you call Yugoslavia after Tito?


3.  You’re not lying

A politician comes home and says to his wife:

‘It’s over! All is finished! I’ve been elected!’

‘Really? You’re not lying?’ – asked the wife.

‘No, there is no need to lie any longer.’


4.  Europe

Question: How many countries are in Europe?
Answer: Three
Question: Which three?
Answer: The European Union, EU candidate countries, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

5.  Mostar

Journalists ask Mujo what he thinks about the big cross that the Croats constructed on the Hum hill above Mostar. Mujo says, “I think it is a big plus for Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

6.  Priorities

A man from Bosnia and a man from Japan were talking about priorities in life. The man from Japan said: For me, Japan is first, then my job, and then comes the family. The person from Bosnia said: For me, it is the opposite, first comes my family, then my job, and then comes Japan.




Note: Clearly, humor reflects something deep about a society’s character. Every society has a particular and telltale sense of humor. Humor is the window into a society’s soul for outsiders and a mirror for insiders to see and celebrate their collective identity. These truisms are no less true for Bosnian society than any other. Throughout the Balkans, Bosnians have been known for their clever, self-depreciating sense of humor. During the darkest moments of the war, Bosnians created jokes that flashed with penetrating rays of truth and pleasure during the most dishonest and painful of times. The jokes bore witness. They were powerful protests against the cruel course of the world. The examples provided here could be compelling material for studies in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, or meta-linguistics, following the example of Mikhail Bakhtin; we, though, allow these verbal utterances to speak here for themselves and bear witness in their way to the Bosnian spirit.


Translated by Bojana Vuković and Ermina Porca

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