Croatian language

Croatian language

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Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, principally in Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, the Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n province of Vojvodina
Vojvodina
Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

 and other neighbouring countries. They are varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

, along with Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

, and Montenegrin
Montenegrin language
Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

.

Standard
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 and literary Croatian is based on the central dialect, Shtokavian
Shtokavian dialect
Shtokavian or Štokavian is the prestige dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language, and the basis of its Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin standards...

 (Štokavian), more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian
Eastern Herzegovinian dialect
The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread dialect of the Štokavian dialect system, both by territory and the number of speakers...

, which is also the basis of standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. The two other principal Croatian dialects are Chakavian
Chakavian dialect
Chakavian or Čakavian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The name stems from the word for "what?", which is "ča" in Čakavian...

 (Čakavian) and Kajkavian
Kajkavian dialect
The Kajkavian dialect is one of the three main dialects of Croatian. It has low mutual intelligibility with the other two dialects, Štokavian and Čakavian. All three are named after their word for "what?", which in Kajkavian is kaj....

. These dialects, and the four national standards, are commonly subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.

Vernacular texts in the Chakavian dialect first appeared in the 13th century, and Shtokavian texts appeared a century later. Standardization began in the period sometimes called "Baroque Slavism" in the first half of the 17th century, while some authors date it back to the end of 15th century. The modern Neo-Shtokavian standard that appeared in the mid 18th century was the first unified Croatian literary language.

Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet.

Early development


The beginning of the Croatian written language can be traced to the 9th century, when Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 was adopted as the language of the liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. This language was gradually adapted to non-liturgical purposes and became known as the Croatian version of Old Slavonic. The two variants of the language, liturgical and non-liturgical, continued to be a part of the Glagolitic service as late as the middle of the 9th century.

Until the end of the 11th century Croatian medieval texts were written in three scripts: Latin, Glagolitic, and Croatian Cyrillic (arvatica, poljičica, bosančica/bosanica
Bosnian Cyrillic
Bosnian Cyrillic or Croatian Cyrillic, widely known as Bosančica, is an extinct Cyrillic script, that originated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was widely used in Bosnia and Croatia . Its name in Bosnian and Croatian is bosančica or bosanica, which can literally be translated as Bosnian script...

), and also in three languages: Croatian, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Old Slavonic. The latter developed into what is referred to as the Croatian variant of Church Slavonic between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The most important early monument of Croatian literacy is the Baška tablet
Baška tablet
Baška tablet is one of the first monuments containing an inscription in the Croatian language, dating from the year 1100.The tablet was discovered by scholars in 1851 in the paving of the Romanesque church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor, near Baška, on the island of Krk...

 from the late 11th century. It is a large stone tablet found in the small church of St. Lucy on the Croatian island of Krk
Krk
Krk is a Croatian island in the northern Adriatic Sea, located near Rijeka in the Bay of Kvarner and part of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar county....

 which contains text written mostly in Chakavian, today a dialect of Croatian, and in Croatian angular Glagolitic script. It is also important in the history of the nation as it mentions Zvonimir, the king of Croatia at the time. However, the luxurious and ornate representative texts of Croatian Church Slavonic belong to the later era, when they coexisted with the Croatian vernacular literature. The most notable are the "Missal
Missal
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.-History:Before the compilation of such books, several books were used when celebrating Mass...

 of Duke Novak" from the Lika region in northwestern Croatia (1368), "Evangel from Reims" (1395, named after the town of its final destination), Hrvoje's Missal
Hrvoje's Missal
The Hrvoje's Missal is a 15th century Croatian Glagolitic missal, often considered the most beautiful and the most interesting Croatian Glagolitic book....

 from Bosnia and Split in Dalmatia (1404) and the first printed book in Croatian language, the Glagolitic Missale Romanum Glagolitice
Missale Romanum Glagolitice
Missale Romanum Glagolitice is a Croatian language missal printed in 1483. It is written in Glagolitic script and is the first printed Croatian book and one of the first South Slavonic printed books. It is the first missal in Europe not published in Latin script...

 (1483).

During the 13th century Croatian vernacular texts began to appear, the most important among them being the "Istrian land survey" of 1275 and the "Vinodol Codex" of 1288, both written in the Chakavian dialect.

The Shtokavian dialect
Shtokavian dialect
Shtokavian or Štokavian is the prestige dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language, and the basis of its Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin standards...

 literature, based almost exclusively on Chakavian original texts of religious provenance (missal
Missal
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.-History:Before the compilation of such books, several books were used when celebrating Mass...

s, breviaries
Breviary
A breviary is a liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons in the Divine Office...

, prayer books
Breviary
A breviary is a liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons in the Divine Office...

) appeared almost a century later. The most important purely Shtokavian vernacular text is the Vatican Croatian Prayer Book
Vatican Croatian Prayer Book
Vatican Croatian Prayer Book is the oldest Croatian vernacular prayer book and the finest example of early štokavian vernacular literary idiom....

  (ca. 1400).

Both the language used in legal texts and that used in Glagolitic literature gradually came under the influence of the vernacular, which considerably affected its phonological
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

, morphological
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 and lexical
Lexicology
Lexicology is the part of linguistics which studies words, their nature and meaning, words' elements, relations between words , word groups and the whole lexicon....

 systems. From the 14th and the 15th centuries, both secular and religious songs at church festivals were composed in the vernacular.

Writers of early Croatian religious poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 (začinjavci), translators and editors gradually introduced the vernacular into their works. These začinjavci were the forerunners of the rich literary production of the 15th and 16th centuries. The language of religious poems, translations, miracle and morality play
Morality play
The morality play is a genre of Medieval and early Tudor theatrical entertainment. In their own time, these plays were known as "interludes", a broader term given to dramas with or without a moral theme. Morality plays are a type of allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of...

s contributed to the popular character of medieval Croatian literature.

Modern language and standardisation


The first purely vernacular texts in Croatian date back to the 13th century (e.g. the Vatican Croatian Prayer Book
Vatican Croatian Prayer Book
Vatican Croatian Prayer Book is the oldest Croatian vernacular prayer book and the finest example of early štokavian vernacular literary idiom....

 from 1400) and are distinctly different from Church Slavonic. In the 14th and 15th centuries the modern Croatian language emerged, with morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 and syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

 only slightly differ from the contemporary Croatian standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

.

The standardization of the Croatian language can be traced back to the first Croatian dictionary written by Faust Vrančić
Faust Vrancic
Fausto Veranzio or Faust Vrančić was a polymath and bishop from the Venetian Republic.-Family history:...

 (Dictionarium quinque nobilissimarum Europae linguarum—Latinae, Italicae, Germanicae, Dalmatiae et Ungaricae, Venice 1595), and to the first Croatian grammar written by Bartul Kašić (Institutionum linguae illyricae libri duo, Rome 1604).

Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 Kašić's translation of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 (Old and New Testament, 1622–1636; unpublished until 2000), written in the ornate Shtokavian-Ijekavian dialect of the Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

 Renaissance literature is, despite orthographical differences, as close to the contemporary standard Croatian language as are the French of Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne
Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne , February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592, was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism...

's "Essays" or the English of the King James Bible
King James Version of the Bible
The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611...

 to their respective successors—the modern standard languages.

This period, sometimes called "Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 Slavism", was crucial in the formation of the literary idiom that was to become the Croatian standard language
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

. The 17th century witnessed three developments that shaped modern Croatian:
  • The linguistic
    Linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

     works of Jesuit philologists Kašić
    Bartol Kašic
    Bartol Kašić was a Croatian linguist. He wrote the first Croatian grammar and translated the Bible and the Roman Rite into Croatian...

     and Mikalja
    Jakov Mikalja
    Jakov Mikalja in Croatian, also Giacomo Micaglia in Italian, , was a linguist and lexicographer, born in Peschici, in the Italian region of Apulia, at that time under the Kingdom of Naples...

    ;
  • The literary activity of Bosnian Franciscan
    Franciscan
    Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

     Matija Divković
    Matija Divkovic
    Matija Divković was a Croatian writer, the founder of the Croatian literature in Bosnia.-Life:Divković was born in Jelaške near Vareš in Bosnia. He probably joined the Franciscans in the nearest monastery in Olovo and was schooled there. He continued his studies in Italy, but then returned to...

    , whose Counter-Reformation
    Counter-Reformation
    The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

     writings, comprising popular tales from the Bible
    Bible
    The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

    , sermons and polemics, were widespread among Croats
    Croats
    Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

     both in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

     and Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

    ;
  • The poetry of Ivan Gundulić
    Ivan Gundulic
    Ivan Franov Gundulić is the most celebrated Croatian Baroque poet from the Republic of Ragusa. His work embodies central characteristics of Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation: religious fervor, insistence on "vanity of this world" and zeal in opposition to "infidels." Gundulić's major...

     from Dubrovnik.


This "triple achievement" of Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 Slavism in the first half of the 17th century laid the firm foundation upon which the later Illyrian movement
Illyrian movement
The Illyrian movement , also Croatian national revival , was a cultural and political campaign with roots in the early modern period, and revived by a group of young Croatian intellectuals during the first half of 19th century, around the years of 1835–1849...

 completed the work of language standardisation.

First attempts at standardisation


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 Francopan, which were linked by inter-marriage. Toward the 17th century, both of them attempted to unify Croatia both culturally and linguistically, selecting as their official language the transitional Ikavian–Kajkavian dialect, this being an acceptable dialect intermediate between all the principal Croatian dialects (Chakavian, Kajkavian and Shtokavian); it is still used now in northern Istria, and in the valleys of the Kupa, Mrežnica and Sutla rivers, and sporadically elsewhere in central Croatia also.

This standardised form became the cultivated elite 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 apogee of this unified standard in the 17th century is represented by the editions of "Adrianskog mora sirena" ("Syren of Adriatic Sea") and "Putni tovaruš" ("Travelling escort"). However, this first linguistic renaissance in Croatia was halted by the political execution of both dynasties by the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 in Vienna in 1671. Subsequently the Croatian elite in the 18th century gradually abandoned this combined Croatian standard, and after an Austrian initiative of 1850, it was replaced by the uniform Neo-Shtokavian.

Illyrian period


The Illyrian movement
Illyrian movement
The Illyrian movement , also Croatian national revival , was a cultural and political campaign with roots in the early modern period, and revived by a group of young Croatian intellectuals during the first half of 19th century, around the years of 1835–1849...

 was a 19th-century attempt to forge a common South Slavic language, which in the end only succeeded in uniting the Croats and Serbs. Croatian itself had three major dialects, and there had been several literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

s over four centuries. Croatian nationalist Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj was a Croatian linguist, politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the central figures of the Croatian national reformation, also known as the Illyrian Movement.-Origin:...

 standardized the Latin alphabet in 1830–1850. Although based in Kajkavian-speaking Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

, Gaj supported using the more populous Neo-Shtokavian, a version of Shtokavian which emerged in the 15th and 16th century and became the main Croatian and Serbian literary language from the 18th century on, as the common literary standard for Croatian and Serbian. This was agreed at the Vienna Literary Agreement
Vienna Literary Agreement
Vienna Literary Agreement is a designation of a meeting held in March 1850, when writers from Croatia, Serbia and one from Slovenia met to discuss the extent to which their literatures could be conjoined and united.-Historical context:...

 of 1850. The 19th century linguists' and lexicographers' main concern was to achieve a more consistent and unified written norm and orthography, which led to a "passion for neologisms" or vigorous word coinage, originating from the purist
Croatian linguistic purism
One of the features of standard Croatian language and in common with several languages such as Czech, Finnish, Slovenian, Tamil or Turkish is word coinage using roots or elements perceived as being characteristic or unique to the speech of the community....

 nature of Croatian literary language, which was not shared by Serbian.

Phonology and alphabet



Croatian has 30 phonemes—5 vowels and 25 consonants—corresponding to 30 letters of Croatian alphabet
Croatian alphabet
Gaj's Latin alphabet is a variant of the Latin script used for Croatian language. It was devised by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1835, based on Jan Hus's Czech alphabet....

, 3 of which are digraph
Digraph
Digraph may refer to:* Digraph , a pair of characters used together to represent a single sound, such as "sh" in English* Typographical ligature, the joining of two letters as a single glyph, such as "æ"...

s. Thus, the orthography is largely phonemic
Phonemic orthography
A phonemic orthography is a writing system where the written graphemes correspond to phonemes, the spoken sounds of the language. In terms of orthographic depth, these are termed shallow orthographies, contrasting with deep orthographies...

:
{| cellpadding=10 style="text-align:center;"

|-
|align="left"|Latin alphabet
IPA||A a
a||B b
b||C c
ts||Č č
tʃ||Ć ć
tɕ||D d
d||Dž dž
dʒ||Đ đ
dʑ||E e
e||F f
f
|-
|align="left"|Latin alphabet
IPA||G g
ɡ||H h
x||I i
i||J j
j||K k
k||L l
l||Lj lj
ʎ||M m
m||N n
n||Nj nj
ɲ
|-
|align="left"|Latin alphabet
IPA||O o
o||P p
p||R r
r||S s
s||Š š
ʃ||T t
t||U u
u||V v
ʋ||Z z
z||Ž ž
ʒ
|}

Croatian has pitch accent
Pitch accent
Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words...

: a vowel can be pronounced short or long, and when stressed (otherwise it is non-tonic) it carries either falling or rising tone. The following diacritical marks are used when vowels are stressed: short falling (double grave accent
Double grave accent
The double grave accent is a diacritic used in scholarly discussions of the Serbo-Croatian and sometimes Slovene languages. It is also used in the International Phonetic Alphabet....

), short rising (grave accent
Grave accent
The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in written Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek , Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages.-Greek:The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient...

), long falling (inverted breve
Inverted breve
Inverted breve or arch is a diacritical mark  ̑, shaped like the top half of a circle, that is, like an upside-down breve. It looks similar to the circumflex, but the circumflex has a sharp tip, whilst the inverted breve is rounded: compare  â Ê ê Î î Ô ô Û û with Ȃ ȃ Ȇ ȇ Ȋ ȋ Ȏ ȏ Ȗ ȗ ....

), long rising (acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

). Unstressed long syllables are marked with a macron
Macron
A macron, from the Greek , meaning "long", is a diacritic placed above a vowel . It was originally used to mark a long or heavy syllable in Greco-Roman metrics, but now marks a long vowel...

  on vowels, and unstressed short vowels are not marked. This notation is used in linguistic literature, or when precision is necessary, such as to disambiguate between homograph
Homograph
A homograph is a word or a group of words that share the same written form but have different meanings. When spoken, the meanings may be distinguished by different pronunciations, in which case the words are also heteronyms. Words with the same writing and pronunciation A homograph (from the ,...

s. Apart from these signs, in general-purpose texts, the circumflex
Circumflex
The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

 (denoting a long vowel) can also be used to disambiguate homograph
Homograph
A homograph is a word or a group of words that share the same written form but have different meanings. When spoken, the meanings may be distinguished by different pronunciations, in which case the words are also heteronyms. Words with the same writing and pronunciation A homograph (from the ,...

s.

Grammar



Croatian, like most other Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

, has a rich system of inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

. Pronouns, nouns, adjectives and some numerals decline
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

 (change the word ending to reflect case, i.e. grammatical category and function), while verbs conjugate
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 for person and tense. As in all other Slavic languages, the basic word order is SVO; however, due to the use of declension to show sentence structure, word order is not as important as in languages that tend toward analyticity such as English or Chinese. Deviations from the standard SVO order are stylistically marked and may be employed to convey a particular emphasis, mood or overall tone, according to the intentions of the speaker or writer. Often, such deviations will sound literary, poetical or archaic.

Nouns have three grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

s (masculine, feminine and neuter) that correspond to a certain extent with the word ending, so that most nouns ending in -a are feminine, -o and -e neutral and the rest mostly masculine with a small but important class of feminines. Grammatical gender of a noun affects the morphology of other parts of speech (adjectives, pronouns and verbs) attached to it. Nouns are declined into 7 cases: Nominative
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

, Genitive
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

, Dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

, Accusative
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

, Vocative
Vocative case
The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence...

, Locative
Locative case
Locative is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by"...

 and Instrumental
Instrumental case
The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

.

Verbs are divided into two broad classes according to their aspect
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

, which can be either perfective (signifying a completed action) or imperfective (action is incomplete or repetitive). There are seven tenses, four of which (present, perfect, future I and II) are used in contemporary standard Croatian, with the other three (aorist, imperfect and plusquamperfect) used much less frequently – the plusquamperfect is generally limited to written language and some more educated speakers, while aorist and imperfect are considered stylistically marked and rather archaic. Note, however, that some non-standard dialects make considerable (and thus unmarked) use of those tenses.

Notturno (A. G. Matoš)

Mlačna noć; u selu lavež; kasan
Ćuk il' netopir;
ljubav cvijeća – miris jak i strasan
Slavi tajni pir.

Sitni cvrčak sjetno cvrči, jasan
Kao srebren vir;
Teške oči sklapaju se na san,
S neba rosi mir.

S mrkog tornja bat
Broji pospan sat,
Blaga svjetlost sipi sa visina;

Kroz samoću, muk,
Sve je tiši huk:
Željeznicu guta već daljina.

Lord's Prayer

Oče naš, koji jesi na nebesima,
sveti se ime Tvoje.
Dođi kraljevstvo Tvoje,
budi volja Tvoja,
kako na Nebu, tako i na Zemlji.
Kruh naš svagdašnji daj nam danas,
i otpusti nam duge naše,
kako i mi otpuštamo dužnicima našim.
I ne uvedi nas u napast,
nego izbavi nas od zla.

Bible (opening passage)

U početku stvori Bog nebo i zemlju.
2 Zemlja bijaše pusta i prazna; tama se prostirala nad bezdanom i Duh Božji lebdio je nad vodama.
3 I reče Bog: "Neka bude svjetlost!" I bi svjetlost.

Month names


mutual intelligibility
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

 (abstand languages) frequently clash with sociopolitical conceptions of language, so that varieties which are mutually intelligible may be designated separate languages. Along these lines, the various varieties of Serbo-Croatian have distinct standard forms
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

, the differences are often exaggerated for political reasons, and many Croats and even Croatian linguists regard Croatian as a separate language, and language is considered key to national identity. Croatian consists of the Shtokavian dialect it shares with Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin as well as the Chakavian, Kajkavian, and sometimes Torlakian dialects. Croatian is unique in being written exclusively in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 rather than in Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

, though Bosnian and Montenegrin are written almost exclusively in Latin, and even Serbian is heavily Latin and becoming more so. The rejection of the term "Serbo-Croatian" as a cover term for all these registers is often based upon 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. Within the ex-Yugoslavia, the term has largely been replaced by the ethnic terms Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, which have developed largely independently since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, though they all maintain the Eastern Herzegovinian dialect
Eastern Herzegovinian dialect
The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread dialect of the Štokavian dialect system, both by territory and the number of speakers...

ical base inherited from the unification efforts of the 1850s. These have been used as language names historically as well, though not always distinctively; the Croatian–Hungarian Agreement
Croatian–Hungarian Agreement
Croatian–Hungarian Settlement was a pact signed in 1868, that governed Croatia's political status in the Hungarian-ruled part of Austria-Hungary...

 for example designated "Croatian" as one of its official languages, and Croatian will become an official EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 language with the accession of Croatia, though when the other states accede, translation might not normally be provided between the various Serbo-Croat standards, and documents in other EU languages might not necessarily be translated into all of them.

Relation to Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Serbian


The 19th century language development overlapped with the upheavals that befell the Serbian language
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

. It was Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...

, a self-taught linguist and folkorist, whose scriptory and orthographic stylization of Serbian folk idiom made a radical break with the past; until his activity in the first half of the 19th century, Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 had been using the Serbian redaction of Church Slavonic and a hybrid Russian-Slavonic language. His Serbian Dictionary, published in Vienna 1818 (along with the appended grammar), was the single most significant work of Serbian literary culture that shaped the profile of Serbian language (and, the first Serbian dictionary and grammar thus far).

Following the incentive of Austrian bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 which preferred a common literary language of Serbs and Croats languages for practical administrative reasons, in 1850, Slovene philologist Franc Miklošič
Franc Miklošic
Fran Miklošič , was a Slovene philologist.-Biography:Miklošič was born in the small village of Radomerščak near the Lower Styrian town of Ljutomer, then part of the Austrian Empire....

 initiated a meeting of two Serbian philologists and writers, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...

 and Đuro Daničić together with five Croatian "men of letters": Ivan Mažuranić
Ivan Mažuranic
Ivan Mažuranić was a Croatian poet, linguist and politician—probably the most important figure in Croatia's cultural life in the mid-19th century...

, Dimitrija Demeter
Dimitrija Demeter
Dimitrija Demeter was a Croatian writer and dramatist....

, Stjepan Pejaković, Ivan Kukuljević and Vinko Pacel. The Vienna Literary Agreement
Vienna Literary Agreement
Vienna Literary Agreement is a designation of a meeting held in March 1850, when writers from Croatia, Serbia and one from Slovenia met to discuss the extent to which their literatures could be conjoined and united.-Historical context:...

 on the basic features of a common literary language based on the NeoShtokavian dialect
Shtokavian dialect
Shtokavian or Štokavian is the prestige dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language, and the basis of its Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin standards...

 with Ijekavian pronunciation was signed by all eight participants (including Miklošič).

Karadžić's influence on Croatian standard idiom was only one of the reforms for Croats, mostly in some aspects of grammar and orthography; many other changes he made to Serbian were already present in Croatian literary tradition (which also historically flourished in other dialects). Both literary languages shared the common basis of South Slavic NeoShtokavian dialect, but the Vienna agreement didn't have any real effect until a more unified standard appeared at the end of 19th century when Croatian sympathizers of Vuk Karadžić, known as the Croatian Vukovians, wrote the first modern (from the vantage point of dominating neogrammarian
Neogrammarian
The Neogrammarians were a German school of linguists, originally at the University of Leipzig, in the late 19th century who proposed the Neogrammarian hypothesis of the regularity of sound change...

 linguistic school) grammars, orthographies and dictionaries of the language which they called Serbo-Croatian, Croato-Serbian or Croatian or Serbian. Monumental grammar authored by pre-eminent fin de siècle
Fin de siècle
Fin de siècle is French for "end of the century". The term sometimes encompasses both the closing and onset of an era, as it was felt to be a period of degeneration, but at the same time a period of hope for a new beginning...

 Croatian linguist Tomislav Maretić
Tomislav Maretic
Tomislav Maretić was a Croatian linguist and lexicographer.He attended primary school in Virovitica and the gymnasium in Varaždin, Požega and Zagreb...

 (Grammar and stylistics of Croatian or Serbian language, 1899), dictionary by Ivan Broz
Ivan Broz
Ivan Broz was a Croatian linguist and literary historian.-Biography:Broz was born Klanjec where he attended primary school, then moved to primary school in Varaždin, and gymnasium in Karlovac, Požega, and Zagreb, where he graduated...

 and Franjo Iveković
Franjo Iveković
Franjo Iveković was a Croatain linguist and religious writer, university professor and rector of the University of Zagreb....

 (Croatian dictionary, 1901), and an orthography by Broz (Croatian Orthography, 1892) fixed the elastic (grammatically, syntactically, lexically) standard of Croatian literary idiom that is used to this day.

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918–1929), after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

 (1929–1941) was pronounced, tried to use a joint language of Slovenes, Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, and Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 ─ in the spirit of supra-national Yugoslav ideology. This meant that Croatian and Serbian were no longer officially developed individually side by side, instead there was an attempt to forge all three into one language. As Serbs were by far the largest single ethnic group in the kingdom, this forging was resultant in a Serbian-based language, which meant a certain degree of Serbianization of the Croatian language. E.g., Croatian terminology in penal legislation was significantly Serbianized after 1929, with unification of terminology in Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the lexical, syntactical, orthographical and morphological characteristics of "Serbo-Croato-Slovene" were officially prescribed for Croatian textbooks and general communication. This process of "unification" into one Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

 was preferred by neo-grammarian Croatian linguists, the most notable example being the influential philologist and translator Tomislav Maretić
Tomislav Maretic
Tomislav Maretić was a Croatian linguist and lexicographer.He attended primary school in Virovitica and the gymnasium in Varaždin, Požega and Zagreb...

. However, this school was virtually extinct by the late 1920s and since then leading Croatian linguists (such as Petar Skok
Petar Skok
Petar Skok is a Croatian linguist, and one of the world's foremost onomastics experts.Skok was born in the village of Jurkovo Selo, Žumberak. From 1892 to 1900 he attended the Higher Real Gymnasium in Rakovac near Karlovac. At the University of Vienna he studied Romance and Germanic philology and...

, Stjepan Ivšić
Stjepan Ivšic
Stjepan Ivšić , Croatian linguist, Slavist and accentologist.After finishing primary school in Orahovica, he attended secondary school in Osijek and Požega. At the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb he studied Croatian and classical philology, and later specialized at the...

 and Petar Guberina) were unanimous in the re-affirmation of the Croatian purist tradition
Croatian linguistic purism
One of the features of standard Croatian language and in common with several languages such as Czech, Finnish, Slovenian, Tamil or Turkish is word coinage using roots or elements perceived as being characteristic or unique to the speech of the community....

.

The situation somewhat eased in the run-up to World War II (cf. the establishment of Banovina of Croatia
Banovina of Croatia
The Banovina of Croatia or Banate of Croatia was a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1939 and 1943 . Its capital was at Zagreb and it included most of present-day Croatia along with portions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia...

 within Yugoslavia in 1939), but with the capitulation of Yugoslavia and the creation of the Axis puppet regime (the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

, 1941–1945) came another, this time hardly predictable and grotesque attack on standard Croatian: the totalitarian dictatorship of Ante Pavelić
Ante Pavelic
Ante Pavelić was a Croatian fascist leader, revolutionary, and politician. He ruled as Poglavnik or head, of the Independent State of Croatia , a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia...

 pushed natural Croatian purist tendencies to ludicrous extremes and tried to re-impose older morphonological orthography preceding Ivan Broz
Ivan Broz
Ivan Broz was a Croatian linguist and literary historian.-Biography:Broz was born Klanjec where he attended primary school, then moved to primary school in Varaždin, and gymnasium in Karlovac, Požega, and Zagreb, where he graduated...

's orthographical prescriptions from 1892. An official order signed by Pavelić and co-signed by Mile Budak
Mile Budak
Mile Budak was a Croatian Ustaše and writer, best known as one of the chief ideologists of the Croatian clerofascist Ustaše movement, which ruled the Independent State of Croatia, or NDH, from 1941-45 and waged a genocidal campaign against its Serb, Roma and Jewish minorities, and against Croatian...

 and Milovan Žanić in August 1941 deprecated some imported words and forbade the use of any foreign words that could be replaced with Croatian neologisms.

However, Croatian linguists and writers were strongly opposed to such "language planning" in the same way that they rejected pro-Serbian forced unification in monarchist Yugoslavia. Not surprisingly, no Croatian dictionaries or Croatian grammars were published in this period. In the Communist period (1945 to 1990), it was the by-product of Communist centralism and "internationalism". Whatever the intentions, the result was the same: the suppression of the basic features that differentiate Croatian from Serbian, both in terms of orthography and vocabulary. No Croatian dictionaries (apart from historical "Croatian or Serbian", conceived in the 19th century) appeared until 1985, when centralism was well in the process of decay.

In Communist Yugoslavia, Serbian language and terminology were un-officially dominant in a few areas: the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 (officially: 1963–1974), diplomacy
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

, Federal Yugoslav institutions (various institute
Institute
An institute is a permanent organizational body created for a certain purpose. Often it is a research organization created to do research on specific topics...

s and research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

 centres), state media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

, and jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

 at the federal level. Also encouraged by the state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

, language in Bosnia and Herzegovina was gradually Serbianized in all levels of the educational system and the republic's administration. Virtually the only institution of any importance where the Croatian language was dominant had been the Lexicographic Institute in Zagreb, headed by Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža
Miroslav Krleža
Miroslav Krleža was a leading Croatian and Yugoslav writer and the dominant figure in cultural life of both Yugoslav states, the Kingdom and the Republic . He has often been proclaimed the greatest Croatian writer of the 20th century.-Biography:Miroslav Krleža was born in Zagreb, modern-day...

.

Notwithstanding the declaration of intent of AVNOJ
AVNOJ
The Anti-Fascist Council of the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia, known more commonly by its Yugoslav abbreviation AVNOJ, was the political umbrella organization for the national liberation councils of the Yugoslav resistance against the World War II Axis occupation, eventually becoming the...

 (The Antifascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia) in 1944, which proclaimed the equality of all languages of Yugoslavia (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

) everything had, in practice, been geared towards the supremacy of the Serbian language. This was done under the pretext of "mutual enrichment" and "togetherness", hoping that the transient phase of relatively peaceful life among peoples in Yugoslavia would eventually give way to one of fusion into the supra-national Yugoslav nation
Yugoslavs
Yugoslavs is a national designation used by a minority of South Slavs across the countries of the former Yugoslavia and in the diaspora...

 and, arguably, provide a firmer basis for Serbianization. However, this "supra-national engineering" was arguably doomed from the outset. The nations that formed the Yugoslav state were formed long before its incipience and all unification pressures only poisoned and exacerbated inter-ethnic/national relations, causing the state to become merely ephemeral. However legal texts were translated to all four official Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 (from 1944), as well as to Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 and Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 (from 1970).

The single most important effort by ruling Yugoslav Communist elites to erase the "differences" between Croatian and Serbian and in practice impose Serbian Ekavian language, written in Latin script, as the "official" language of Yugoslavia was the so-called "Novi Sad Agreement
Novi Sad agreement
The Novi Sad Agreement was an attempt by twenty five Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin writers, linguists and intellectuals to build unity across the ethnic and linguistic divisions within Yugoslavia, and created the Serbo-Croatian language....

". Twenty five Serbian, Croatian, and Montenegrin philologists came together in 1954 to sign the Agreement. A common Serbo-Croatian or "Croato-Serbian" orthography was compiled in 1960 in an atmosphere of state repression and fear. There were 18 Serbs and 7 Croats in Novi Sad. The "Agreement" was seen by the Croats as a defeat for the Croatian cultural heritage. According to the eminent Croatian linguist Ljudevit Jonke, it was imposed on the Croats. The conclusions were formulated according to goals which had been set in advance, and discussion had no role whatsoever. In the more than a decade that followed, the principles of the Novi Sad Agreement were put into practice.

A collective Croatian reaction against such de facto Serbian imposition erupted on March 15, 1967. On that day, nineteen Croatian scholarly institutions and cultural organizations dealing with language and literature (Croatian Universities and Academies), including foremost Croatian writers and linguists (Miroslav Krleža
Miroslav Krleža
Miroslav Krleža was a leading Croatian and Yugoslav writer and the dominant figure in cultural life of both Yugoslav states, the Kingdom and the Republic . He has often been proclaimed the greatest Croatian writer of the 20th century.-Biography:Miroslav Krleža was born in Zagreb, modern-day...

, Radoslav Katičić
Radoslav Katicic
Radoslav Katičić is a Croatian linguist, classical philologist, Indo-Europeanist, Slavist and Indologist, one of the most prominent Croatian scholars in the field of humanities.-Biography:...

, Dalibor Brozović
Dalibor Brozovic
Dalibor Brozović was a Croatian linguist, Slavist, dialectologist and politician. He studied the history of standard Slavic languages, especially Croatian. He was an active Esperantist since 1946, and wrote Esperanto poetry as well as translated works into the language. -Life and career:He was...

 and Tomislav Ladan
Tomislav Ladan
Tomislav Ladan was a Croatian essayist, critic and novelist.Ladan was born in Ivanjica, Serbia, and spent his formative years in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina , where he graduated at Philosophical Faculty in Sarajevo...

 among them) issued the "Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language
Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language
The Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language was a document brought by Croat scholars. The declaration was published on March 13, 1967 in the Telegram, Yugoslav newspapers for social and cultural issues, nr. 359, 17 March 1967...

". In the Declaration, they asked for amendment to the Constitution expressing two claims:
  • the equality not of three but of four literary languages, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian, and consequently, the publication of all federal laws and other federal acts in four instead of three languages.
  • the use of the Croatian standard language in schools and all mass communication media pertaining to the Republic of Croatia. The Declaration accused the federal authorities in Belgrade of imposing Serbian as the official state language and downgrading Croatian to the level of a local dialect.

Notwithstanding the fact that "Declaration" was vociferously condemned by Yugoslav Communist authorities as an outburst of "Croatian nationalism", Serbo-Croatian forced unification was essentially halted and an uneasy status quo remained until the end of Communism. The "Declaration" succeeded in establishing a Constitutional norm by which in the Socialist Republic of Croatia the official language was the Croatian literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 which could be called Croatian or Serbian.

In the decade between the death of Marshall Tito (1980) and the final collapse of communism and the Yugoslavian federal state (1990/1991), major works that manifested the irrepressibility of Croatian linguistic culture had appeared. The studies of Brozović, Katičić and Babić that had been circulating among specialists or printed in the obscure philological publications in the 60s and 70s (frequently condemned and suppressed by the authorities) have finally, in the climate of dissolving authoritarianism, been published. This was a formal "divorce" of Croatian from Serbian (and, strictly linguistically speaking, "the death of Serbo-Croatian"). These works, based on modern fields and theories (structuralist linguistics and phonology, comparative-historical linguistics and lexicology, transformational grammar and areal linguistics) revised or discarded older "language histories", and restored the continuity of the Croatian language by definitely reintegrating and asserting specific Croatian characteristics (phonetic, morphological, syntactic, lexical, etc.) that had been constantly suppressed in both Yugoslavian states and finally gave modern linguistic description and prescription to the Croatian language. Among many monographs and serious studies, one could point to works issued by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, particularly Katičić's Syntax and Babić's Word-formation.

After the collapse of Communism and the birth of Croatian independence (1991), the situation with regard to the Croatian language has become stabilized. No longer under negative political pressures and de-Croatization impositions, Croatian linguists expanded the work on various ambitious programs and intensified their studies on current dominant areas of linguistics: mathematical and corpus linguistics, textology, psycholinguistics, language acquisition and historical lexicography. From 1991 on, numerous representative Croatian linguistic works were published, among them four voluminous monolingual dictionaries of contemporary Croatian, various specialized dictionaries and normative manuals (the most representative being the issue of the Institute for Croatian Language and Linguistics). For a curious bystander, probably the most noticeable language feature in Croatian society was the re-Croatization of Croatian in all areas, from phonetics to semantics and (most evidently) in everyday vocabulary.

Political ambitions played a key role in the creation of the "Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

". Likewise, politics again were a crucial agent in dissolving the unified language. With the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Serbo-Croatian language officially followed suit.

Current events



Croatian language is today the official language of the Republic of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and, along with Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

 and Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

. It is also official in the regions of Burgenland
Burgenland
Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state or Land of Austria. It consists of two Statutarstädte and seven districts with in total 171 municipalities. It is 166 km long from north to south but much narrower from west to east...

 (Austria), Molise
Molise
Molise is a region of Southern Italy, the second smallest of the regions. It was formerly part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise and now a separate entity...

 (Italy) and Vojvodina
Vojvodina
Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

 (Serbia). Additionally, it has co-official status alongside Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 in the communes of Caraşova
Carasova
Carașova is a commune in Caraș-Severin County, Romania. It is known especially for its geographical placement and for the origin of its Croatian inhabitants, the Krashovani. The population of the commune numbered 3,260 people at the 2002 census...

 and Lupac
Lupac
Lupac is a commune in Caraş-Severin County, Romania. In 2002, its population numbered 3,023 people and was mostly made up of Krashovani Croats...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

. In these localities, Croats
Croats of Romania
The Croats are an ethnic minority in Romania, numbering 6,786 people according to the 2002 census. Croats mainly live in the southwest of the country, particularly in Caraş-Severin County. Declared Croatians form a majority in two Romanian localities: the communes of Caraşova and Lupac...

 or Krashovani
Krashovani
The Krashovani are a South Slavic people indigenous to Caraşova and other nearby locations in...

 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. There are eight Croatian language universities in the world: the universities of Zagreb
University of Zagreb
The University of Zagreb is the biggest Croatian university and the oldest continuously operating university in the area covering Central Europe south of Vienna and all of Southeastern Europe...

, Split
University of Split
The University of Split is a university located in Split, Croatia. It was founded in 1974. and is organized in 13 faculties and 124 faculty programmes...

, Rijeka
University of Rijeka
The University of Rijeka is situated in the city of Rijeka with faculties also located in cities throughout the regions of Primorje, Istria and Lika....

, Osijek, Zadar
University of Zadar
The University of Zadar is a university located in Zadar, Croatia. It was founded in 2002.- University Departments :The University of Zadar is entirely integrated university, consisting at present of over 20 departments:...

, Dubrovnik
University of Dubrovnik
The University of Dubrovnik is a university located in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was founded in 2003 and is organized in 7 Departments.-History:...

, Pula
University of Pula
The Juraj Dobrila University of Pula is a university located in Pula, Croatia. It was founded in 2006 and is organized in 5 Departments.-History:...

, and Mostar
University of Mostar
The University of Mostar is the only Croatian language university in Bosnia and Herzegovina.Roots of University of Mostar date back to 1895 when the Franciscan theological school was established. In 1950 Higher teacher-training school started with its work in Mostar...

.

There is at present no sole regulatory body which determines correct usage of the Croatian language. There is however an Institute for the Croatian language and linguistics with a prescription department. The current language standard is generally laid out in the grammar books and dictionaries used in education facilities, 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. Attempts are being made to revive Croatian literature in Italy. The most prominent recent editions describing the Croatian standard language are:
  • Hrvatski pravopis by Babić
    Stjepan Babic
    Stjepan Babić is a Croatian linguist and academic.-Biography:He was born in the small town of Oriovac in Brod-Posavina County, even though his biological parents are from Hrvatsko Zagorje. He attended primary school in Oriovac, and gymnasium in Slavonski Brod, Osijek and finally in Zagreb...

    , Finka, Moguš
    Milan Moguš
    -Biography:He is born in Senj, where he finished primary school and high school. In the academic year 1948/49 he attended in Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb and he graduated in 1953...

    ,
  • Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika by Anić
    Vladimir Anic
    Vladimir Anić was a Croatian linguist and lexicographer, best known as the author of Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika , the first modern single-volume dictionary of Croatian language....

    ,
  • Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika by Šonje et al.
  • Hrvatski enciklopedijski rječnik, by a group of authors,
  • Hrvatska gramatika by Barić et al.,


Also notable are the recommendations of Matica hrvatska, the national publisher and promoter of Croatian heritage, the Lexicographical institute "Miroslav Krleža", as well as the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts is the national academy of Croatia. It was founded in 1866 as the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts , and was known by that name for most of its existence.- History :...

.

See also


  • Baška tablet
    Baška tablet
    Baška tablet is one of the first monuments containing an inscription in the Croatian language, dating from the year 1100.The tablet was discovered by scholars in 1851 in the paving of the Romanesque church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor, near Baška, on the island of Krk...

  • Days of the Croatian Language
    Days of the Croatian Language
    Days of the Croatian Language is an annual week-long cultural event first established by Matica hrvatska which celebrates the Croatian language. It is held from March 11 to March 17.It was first held upon Croatian independence in 1991...

  • Differences in official languages in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia
  • Swadesh list of Slavic languages
    Swadesh list of Slavic languages
    Once it split off from Proto-Indo-European, the proto-Slavic period probably encompassed a period of stability lasting 2000 years. Following this period of stability, a small period of time—only several centuries—of rapid change occurred before the breakup of Slavic linguistic unity...

  • Croatian National Corpus
    Croatian National Corpus
    Croatian National Corpus is the biggest and the most important corpus of the Croatian language. Its compilation started in 1998 at the Institute of Linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb following the ideas of Marko Tadić...

  • Serbo-Croatian
    Serbo-Croatian
    Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

  • Serbo-Croatian phonology
    Serbo-Croatian phonology
    Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language with four very similar national standards. This article deals exclusively with the Eastern Herzegovinian Neo-Shtokavian dialect, the basis for the official standard of Yugoslavia and its present-day forms of Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian.All...

  • Serbo-Croatian grammar
    Serbo-Croatian grammar
    Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language with moderately complex verbal and nominal systems. This article deals exclusively with the Neo-Shtokavian dialect, the basis for the official standard of Yugoslavia and its present-day forms of Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian.All Serbo-Croatian...

  • Bible translations into Croatian
    Bible translations into Croatian
    Bible translations into Croatian started to appear in fragments in the 14th century. Efforts to make a complete translation started in the 16th century...


External links




Language history