Approaching Difficulties of Teaching Language Complexes by Example of GAS and BCS

  • Manuela Svoboda Lector of University of Rijeka, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sveucilisna avenija 4, 51000 Rijeka


In this article a closer look will be taken at the issue of combining three languages into one language complex, i.e. GAS, German German, Austrian German and Swiss German (hereinafter referred to as: GG, AG and SG) and BCS, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. In recent times, the Montenegrin language is also being considered as an addition to the latter language complex. It is common practice throughout Croatia to teach all three varieties of the German language in the German as foreign language departments, much the same as it is common practice to teach BCS in language courses and at universities in Germany or Austria. But is it really possible to combine these languages into one? How important is it to point out differences and similarities between the above mentioned and are teachers really able to do so, seeing as the objective or goal is for teachers to educate and students to accept all three languages? For this purpose, the specifics of teaching at German as foreign language departments in Croatia shall be presented, mainly concerning staff and the organization of studies, as well as the characteristics of students being taught at these departments. Furthermore, certain examples of differences between GG, AG and SG are referred to and explained. In the second part of this article, the relatively artificial language termed BCS that is being taught outside of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, is examined and several issues are pointed out. The providers of such languages courses may or may not be aware of these problems, as they most likely do not take into consideration the political dimension lurking in the background. Basically, assuming that communication and comprehension is the end goal, it may be justified to teach these languages as one language complex. But what happens if one were to consider other factors such as history and politics? Teaching both GAS and BCS seems to challenge language teachers as they are expected to recognize and correctly educate students on the differences and similarities of the three, in the future maybe even four languages, which are not necessarily their native language or the language they were taught during their own education.
Mar 2, 2018
How to Cite
SVOBODA, Manuela. Approaching Difficulties of Teaching Language Complexes by Example of GAS and BCS. European Journal of Language and Literature, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 63-71, mar. 2018. ISSN 2411-4103. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 feb. 2019. doi: