What Is BiH?

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Hint: It's not far from FYROM. Thanks to Victor Mair (Language Log) for educating me on this; for evidence, see this Google News result. I await the Bruce Springsteen song.

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  1. FYROM [Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] was officially renamed the Republic of North Macedonia:


    The question of the name if Very Important and was the subject of high-level negotiations. Seriously.

    1. So I’m afraid Prof. Volokh is FY-wrong.

    2. Indeed, but it’s still FYROM in my heart …. Cf. Always a Planet To Me.

      1. Well, you’re the moderator of the fyrom.

  2. I’m told that Tito took Stalin for an airplane ride over Yugoslavia and nonchalantly pointed out that tanks probably wouldn’t do too well in the mountainous terrain and that led to Stalin pretty much leaving Tito and Yugoslavia alone…

    1. Stalin hated and feared flying; he certainly would not have done it to oblige Tito. Stalin’s younger son Vasili, curiously, was a brave and competent fighter pilot (though also an alcoholic).

  3. I was surprised that Victor Mair had never seen that abbreviation before. I thought it was a pretty common way to refer to Bosnia.

    (Particularly since Bosnians can be quite fussy about the distinction between Bosnia (the bulk of the country) and Herzegovina in the South.)

    1. If you think Bosnians can be fussy about that distinction; talk to some of them about the distinction between Bosnians and Serbs and Croats. Why, they can be downright persnickety on the subject. (Not sure whether to use a smiley emoticon or a frowny/crying emoticon here.)

      1. Don’t forget Montenegro and Kosovo.

        The Ottoman Empire really screwed up south Slavia.

        1. “No-vi Pa-zar! Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch…”

  4. My wife was born in the midwestern US of Serbian parents, refugees from communist Yugoslavia after WWII, and we were talking about BiH just last week… watching the Netflix thriller Caliphate, she noticed the Swedish cop character was ethnic Bosnian, wearing a Sarajevo t-shirt.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, in English
    Bosna i Hercegovina, Serbo-croatian in Roman alphabet
    Босна и Херцеговина, Serbo-croatian in Cryllic equivalents

    Serbian in Cyrillic is pronounced the same as Serbian in Roman … equivalent. Both are official.

  5. Always thought BiH was the opposite of RiP

  6. Since Languuage Log apparently was unsuure of the origin of the “i”, I’ll note the CIA World Factbook reliably reports the local name of countries under the “Government” tab, which would reveal it.

    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Bosnia and Herzegovina
    local long form: none
    local short form: Bosna i Hercegovina
    former: People’s Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    abbreviation: BiH
    etymology: the larger northern territory is named for the Bosna River; the smaller southern section takes its name from the German word “herzog,” meaning “duke,” and the ending “-ovina,” meaning “land,” forming the combination denoting “dukedom”
    And I’ll also note that a slightly better translation for the CIA to use would be “duchy”, as a duchy is always a territory, while “dukedom” can also refer to the state of being a duke.

  7. BiH means “ball in hand,” what happens when someone commits certain fouls or scratches in several billiards games.

    1. Funny, but is definitely Bosnia & Herzegovina in the context presented. Suspect that Bih or B.i.h. arguably would be more correct than capitalizing the ‘h’ for the billiards term.

      1. It was a joke.

        1. The joke wasn’t funny,

          1. It was, you just didn’t get it.

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