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Template:South Slavic languages sidebar

Croatian English pronunciation: /k/ (hrvatski [xř̩ʋaːtskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language[1][2][3] used by Croats,[4] principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a recognized minority language in Serbia, and neighboring countries.

Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. In the mid-18th century, the first attempts to provide a Croatian literary standard began on the basis of the Neo-Shtokavian dialect that served as a supraregional lingua franca pushing back regional Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian vernaculars.[5] The decisive role was played by Croatian Vukovians, who cemented the usage of Ijekavian Neo-Shtokavian as the literary standard in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, in addition to designing a phonological orthography.[6] Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet.[7]

Besides the Shtokavian dialect, on which Standard Croatian is based, there are two other main dialects, Chakavian and Kajkavian. These dialects, and the four national standards, are usually subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers,[8] and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.


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Modern language and standardizationEdit

In the late medieval period up to the 17th century, the majority of semi-autonomous Croatia was ruled by two domestic dynasties of princes (banovi), the Zrinski and the Frankopan, which were linked by inter-marriage.[9] Toward the 17th century, both of them attempted to unify Croatia both culturally and linguistically, writing in a mixture of all three principal dialects (Chakavian, Kajkavian and Shtokavian), and calling it "Croatian", "Dalmatian", or "Slavonian".[10] It is still used now in parts of Istria, which became a crossroads of various mixtures of Chakavian with Ekavian/Ijekavian/Ikavian dialects.[11]

The most standardized form (Kajkavian–Ikavian) became the cultivated language of administration and intellectuals from the Istrian peninsula along the Croatian coast, across central Croatia up into the northern valleys of the Drava and the Mura. The cultural apex of this 17th century idiom is represented by the editions of "Adrianskoga mora sirena" ("Siren of Adriatic Sea") by Petar Zrinski and "Putni tovaruš" ("Traveling escort") by Katarina Zrinska.[12][13]

However, this first linguistic renaissance in Croatia was halted by the political execution of Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan by the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I in Vienna in 1671.[14] Subsequently the Croatian elite in the 18th century gradually abandoned this combined Croatian standard.[15]

Illyrian periodEdit

Main article: Illyrian movement

The Illyrian movement was a 19th-century pan-South Slavic political and cultural movement in Croatia that had the goal to standardize the regionally differentiated and orthographically inconsistent literary languages in Croatia, and finally merge them into a common South Slavic literary language. Specifically, three major groups of dialects were spoken on Croatian territory, and there had been several literary languages over four centuries. The leader of the Illyrian movement Ljudevit Gaj standardized the Latin alphabet in 1830–1850 and worked to bring about a standardized orthography. Although based in Kajkavian-speaking Zagreb, Gaj supported using the more populous Neo-Shtokavian – a version of Shtokavian that eventually became the predominant dialectal basis of both Croatian and Serbian literary language from the 19th century on.[16] Supported by various South Slavic proponents, Neo-Shtokavian was adopted after an Austrian initiative at the Vienna Literary Agreement of 1850,[15] laying the foundation for the unified Serbo-Croatian literary language. The uniform Neo-Shtokavian then became common in the Croatian elite.[15]

In the 1860s, the Zagreb Philological School dominated the Croatian cultural life, drawing upon linguistic and ideological conceptions advocated by the members of the Illyrian movement.Script error While it was dominant over the rival Rijeka Philological School and Zadar Philological Schools, its influence waned with the rise of the Croatian Vukovians (at the end of the 19th century).Script error

Distinguishing features and differences between standardsEdit

Main article: Comparison of standard Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian

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Croatian is commonly characterized by the Ijekavian pronunciation (see an explanation of yat reflexes), the sole use of the Latin alphabet, and a number of lexical differences in common words that set it apart from standard Serbian.Script error Some differences are absolute, while some appear mainly in the frequency of use.Script error

Sociopolitical standpointsEdit

Croatian, although technically a form of Serbo-Croatian, is sometimes considered a distinct language by itself.[17] Purely linguistic considerations of languages based on mutual intelligibility (abstand languages) are frequently incompatible with sociopolitical conceptions of language so that varieties that are mutually intelligible may be considered separate languages. Differences between various standard forms of Serbo-Croatian are often exaggerated for political reasons.[18] Most Croatian linguists regard Croatian as a separate language that is considered key to national identity.[19] The issue is sensitive in Croatia as the notion of a separate language being the most important characteristic of a nation is widely accepted, stemming from the 19th-century history of Europe.Script error The 1967 Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language, in which a group of Croatian authors and linguists demanded greater autonomy for the Croatian language, is viewed in Croatia as a linguistic policy milestone that was also a general milestone in national politics.Script error

The terms "Serbo-Croatian" or "Serbo-Croat" are still used as a cover term for all these forms by foreign scholars, even though the speakers themselves largely do not use it.Script error In Croatia, this is often based on the argument that the official language in Yugoslavia, a standardized form of Serbo-Croatian, was "artificial" or a political tool used to combine two distinct people.[citation needed] Within ex-Yugoslavia, the term has largely been replaced by the ethnic terms Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian.[20]

The use of the name "Croatian" for a language names has been historically attested to, though not always distinctively; the Croatian–Hungarian Agreement, for example, designated "Croatian" as one of its official languages,[21] and Croatian became an official EU language upon accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013.[22][23] In 2013, the EU started publishing a Croatian language version of its official gazette.[24]

Official statusEdit

File:Serbo croatian languages2006 02.png

Standard Croatian is the official language of the Republic of Croatia[25] and, along with Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[26] It is also official in the regions of Burgenland (Austria),[27] Molise (Italy)[28] and Vojvodina (Serbia).[29] Additionally, it has co-official status alongside Romanian in the communes of Carașova[30] and Lupac,[31][32] Romania. In these localities, Croats or Krashovani make up the majority of the population, and education, signage and access to public administration and the justice system are provided in Croatian, alongside Romanian.

Croatian is officially used and taught at all the universities in Croatia, and at the University of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There is no regulatory body that determines the proper usage of Croatian. The current standard language is generally laid out in the grammar books and dictionaries used in education, such as the school curriculum prescribed by the Ministry of Education and the university programmes of the Faculty of Philosophy at the four main universities.[citation needed]Script error In 2013, a Hrvatski pravopis by the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics received an official sole seal of approval from the Ministry of Education.

Attempts are being made to revive Croatian literature in Italy.[33]Script error

The most prominent recent editions describing the Croatian standard language are:

Also notable are the recommendations of Matica hrvatska, the national publisher and promoter of Croatian heritage, and the Lexicographical institute Miroslav Krleža, as well as the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Numerous representative Croatian linguistic works were published since the independence of Croatia, among them three voluminous monolingual dictionaries of contemporary Croatian.

See alsoEdit


  1. David Dalby, Linguasphere (1999/2000, Linguasphere Observatory), pg. 445, 53-AAA-g, "Srpski+Hrvatski, Serbo-Croatian".
  2. Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431, "Because of their mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
  3. Václav Blažek, "On the Internal Classification of Indo-European Languages: Survey" retrieved 20 Oct 2010, pp. 15–16.
  4. E.C. Hawkesworth, "Serbian-Croatian-Bosnian Linguistic Complex", in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, 2006.
  5. Script error
  6. Script error
  7. "Croatia: Themes, Authors, Books | Yale University Library Slavic and East European Collection". 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  8. Radio Free Europe – Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just 'Our Language'? Živko Bjelanović: Similar, But Different, Feb 21, 2009, accessed Oct 8, 2010
  9. Gazi, Stephen (1973). A History of Croatia. New York: Philosophical library. ISBN 978-0-8022-2108-7Script error. 
  10. Van Antwerp Fine, John (2006). When Ethnicity did not Matter in the Balkans. Michigan, USA: University of Michigan Press. pp. 377–379. ISBN 978-0-472-11414-6Script error. 
  11. Kalsbeek, Janneke (1998). "The Čakavian dialect of Orbanići near Žminj in Istria". Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics (Rodopi) 25. 
  12. "Matica Hrvatska - Dva brata i jedna Sirena". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  13. "Matica Hrvatska - Putni tovaruš - izvornik (I.)". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  14. Tanner, Marcus (1997). Croatia: a Nation Forged in War. New Haven, USA: Yale University Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-300-06933-2Script error. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Malić, Dragica (1997). Razvoj hrvatskog književnog jezika. ISBN 953-0-40010-1Script error. Script error
  16. Uzelac, Gordana (2006). The development of the Croatian nation: an historical and sociological analysis. New York: Edwin Mellen Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7734-5791-1Script error. 
  17. Cvetkovic, Ljudmila. "Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Or Montenegrin? Or Just 'Our Language'? – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  18. Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431.
  19. Snježana Ramljak; Library of the Croatian Parliament, Zagreb, Croatia (June 2008). ""Jezično" pristupanje Hrvatske Europskoj Uniji: prevođenje pravne stečevine i europsko nazivlje [The Accession of the Croatian Language to the European Union: Translation of the Acquis Communautaire and European Legal Terminology]" (in Serbo-Croatian). Croatian Political Science Review (Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb) 45 (1). ISSN 0032-3241. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  20. David Crystal "Language Death", Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 11, 12
  22. "Vandoren: EU membership – challenge and chance for Croatia – Daily –". 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  23. "Applications for Croatian linguists". EU careers. 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  24. "Službeni list Europske unije [Official Gazette of the European Union]" (in Serbo-Croatian). European Union. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  25. "Croatia". Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  26. "Ethnologue report for Bosnia and Herzegovina". Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  27. Kinda-Berlakovich, Andrea Zorka (2006). "Hrvatski nastavni jezik u Gradišću u školsko-političkome kontekstu [Croatian as the Language of Instruction and Language Policy in Burgenland from 1921 onwards]". LAHOR (Croatian Philological Society) 1 (1): 27–35. ISSN 1846-2197. 
  28. "Endangered languages in Europe: report". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  29. "". Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  30. "Structura Etno-demografică a României". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  31. "Structura Etno-demografică a României". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  32. "Structura Etno-demografică a României". Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  33. "From Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 


Further readingEdit

  • Bičanić, Ante; Frančić, Anđela (2013) (in Serbo-Croatian), Pregled povijesti, gramatike i pravopisa hrvatskog jezika, Croatica 
  • Banac, Ivo: Main Trends in the Croatian Language Question, YUP 1984
  • Blum, Daniel (2002) (in German). Sprache und Politik : Sprachpolitik und Sprachnationalismus in der Republik Indien und dem sozialistischen Jugoslawien (1945-1991) [Language and Policy: Language Policy and Linguistic Nationalism in the Republic of India and the Socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1991)]. Beiträge zur Südasienforschung ; vol. 192. Würzburg: Ergon. p. 200. ISBN 3-89913-253-XScript error. OCLC 51961066.  (CROLIB).
  • Franolić, Branko: A Historical Survey of Literary Croatian, Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1984
  • Template:Loop (1985). A Bibliography of Croatian Dictionaries. Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines. p. 139. 
  • Template:Loop (1988). Language Policy in Yugoslavia with special reference to Croatian. Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines. 
  • Template:Loop; Žagar, Mateo (2008). A Historical Outline of Literary Croatian & The Glagolitic Heritage of Croatian Culture. London & Zagreb: Erasmus & CSYPN. ISBN 978-953-6132-80-5Script error. 
  • Greenberg, Robert David (2004). Language and identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and its disintegration. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925815-4Script error.  (reprinted in 2008 as ISBN 978-0-19-920875-3)
  • Gröschel, Bernhard (2009) (in German). Das Serbokroatische zwischen Linguistik und Politik: mit einer Bibliographie zum postjugoslavischen Sprachenstreit [Serbo-Croatian Between Linguistics and Politics: With a Bibliography of the Post-Yugoslav Language Dispute]. Lincom Studies in Slavic Linguistics ; vol 34. Munich: Lincom Europa. p. 451. ISBN 978-3-929075-79-3Script error. LCCN 2009473660. OCLC 428012015. OL15295665W.  Inhaltsverzeichnis.
  • Kačić, Miro: Croatian and Serbian: Delusions and Distortions, Novi Most, Zagreb 1997
  • Kordić, Snježana (2010) (in Serbo-Croatian). Jezik i nacionalizam [Language and Nationalism]. Rotulus Universitas. Zagreb: Durieux. p. 430. ISBN 978-953-188-311-5Script error. LCCN 2011520778. OCLC 729837512. OL15270636W. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  • Moguš, Milan: A History of the Croatian Language, NZ Globus, 1995
  • Težak, Stjepko: "Hrvatski naš (ne)zaboravljeni" [Croatian, our (un)forgotten language], 301 p., knjižnica Hrvatski naš svagdašnji (knj. 1), Tipex, Zagreb, 1999, ISBN 953-6022-35-4 (Croatian)

External linksEdit

Template:Wiktionary category

Language historyEdit

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