|Native to||Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (Vojvodina), Montenegro, Romania (Caraș-Severin County), Slovenia, and diaspora|
|Native speakers||5.5 million (2001–2004)|
|Writing system||Latin (Gaj's alphabet)
|Official language in|| Croatia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Recognised minority language in|| Montenegro
Austria (in Burgenland)
Hungary (in Baranya County)
Italy (in Molise)
Romania (in Carașova, Lupac)
|Regulated by||Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics|
|Linguasphere||part of 53-AAA-g|
Traditional extent of Serbo-Croatian dialects in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina
|South Slavic languages and dialects|
Croatian (hrvatski jezik) is a standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries. It is the official and literary language of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring 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. The other Serbo-Croatian dialects spoken by Croats are Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Torlakian (by the Krashovani). These four dialects, and the four national standards, are usually 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.
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.
- 1 History
- 2 Differences between standard Croatian and standard Serbian and Bosnian
- 3 Sociopolitical standpoints
- 4 Current situation
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Modern language and standardisation
The first purely vernacular texts in Croatian date back to the 14th century (e.g. the Vatican Croatian Prayer Book from ca. 1400) and are distinctly different from Church Slavonic. In the 14th and 15th centuries the modern Croatian language emerged, with morphology, phonology and syntax only slightly different from the contemporary Croatian standard language.
The standardization of the Croatian language can be traced back to the first Croatian dictionary written by Faust Vrančić (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 Kašić's translation of the Bible (Old and New Testament, 1622–1636; unpublished until 2000), written in the ornate Shtokavian-Ijekavian dialect of the Dubrovnik Renaissance literature is, despite orthographical differences, as close to the contemporary standard Croatian language as are the French of Montaigne's "Essays" or the English of the King James Bible to their respective successors—the modern standard languages.
This period, sometimes called "Baroque Slavism", was crucial in the formation of the literary idiom that was to become the Croatian standard language. The 17th century witnessed three developments that shaped modern Croatian:
- The linguistic works of Jesuit philologists Kašić and Mikalja;
- The literary activity of Bosnian Franciscan Matija Divković, whose Counter-Reformation writings, comprising popular tales from the Bible, sermons and polemics, were widespread among Croats both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia;
- The poetry of Ivan Gundulić from Dubrovnik.
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 Frankopan, which were linked by inter-marriage. 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". It is still used now in parts of Istria, which became a crossroads of various mixtures of Chakavian with Ekavian/Ijekavian/Ikavian dialects.
The most standardised form (Kajkavian-Ikavian) 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 "Adrianskoga mora sirena" ("Siren of Adriatic Sea") by Petar Zrinski and "Putni tovaruš" ("Traveling escort") by Katarina Zrinska.
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. 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.
The Illyrian movement was a 19th-century movement in Croatia to standardise the Croatian language in order to merge it into a common South Slavic language. Specifically, Croatian had three major dialects, 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 standardised Croatian literary script. Although based in Kajkavian-speaking Zagreb, Gaj supported using the more populous Neo-Shtokavian–—a version of Shtokavian that became the main Croatian and Serbian literary language from the 18th century on——as the common literary standard for Croatian and Serbian. Supported by various South Slavic proponents, Neo-Shtokavian was adopted at the Vienna Literary Agreement of 1850, uniting the Croat and Serb languages. 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 nature of Croatian literary language, which was not shared by Serbian.
Differences between standard Croatian and standard Serbian and Bosnian
Croatian, although technically a form of Serbo-Croatian, is sometimes considered a distinct language by itself. Purely linguistic considerations of languages based on mutual intelligibility (abstand languages) frequently clash with sociopolitical conceptions of language, so that varieties that are mutually intelligible may be designated separate languages. Along these lines, the various varieties of Serbo-Croatian have distinct standard forms; the differences are often exaggerated for political reasons. In fact, many Croats and even Croatian linguists regard Croatian as a separate language, considered key to national identity. Croatian is unique in being written exclusively in the Latin script rather than in Cyrillic. The rejection of the term "Serbo-Croatian" as a cover term for all these forms 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 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. These have been used as language names historically as well, though not always distinctively; the Croatian–Hungarian Agreement, for example, designated "Croatian" as one of its official languages, and Croatian became an official EU language upon accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013. In 2013, the EU started publishing a Croatian language version of its official gazette.
Relation to Serbian
|This section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards, as it is virtually unsourced, possibly unsourceable, amounts to an essay. (December 2012)|
The 19th century language development overlapped with the upheavals that befell the Serbian language. It was Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, a self-taught linguist and folklorist, whose script development 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 had been using the Serbian redaction of Church Slavonic and a hybrid Russian-Slavonic language[which?]. 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).[clarification needed]
Following the incentive of Austrian bureaucracy which preferred a common literary language of Serbs and Croats languages for practical administrative reasons, in 1850, Slovene philologist Franc Miklošič initiated a meeting of two Serbian philologists and writers, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and Đuro Daničić, with five Croatian "men of letters": Ivan Mažuranić, Dimitrija Demeter, Stjepan Pejaković, Ivan Kukuljević and Vinko Pacel. The Vienna Literary Agreement on the basic features of a common literary language based on the NeoShtokavian dialect with Ijekavian accent 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 historically flourished in other dialects). Both literary languages shared the common basis of South Slavic Neo-Shtokavian 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 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 Croatian linguist Tomislav Maretić (Grammar and stylistics of Croatian or Serbian language, 1899), dictionary by Ivan Broz and Franjo Iveković (Croatian dictionary, 1901), and an orthography by Broz (Croatian Orthography, 1892) fixed the elastic (grammatically, syntactically, lexically) standard[editorializing] of Croatian literary idiom that is used to this day.
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918–1929), after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929–1941) was pronounced, tried to use a joint language of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs — 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.[editorializing] 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 was preferred by neo-grammarian Croatian linguists, the most notable example being the influential philologist and translator Tomislav Maretić. However, this school was virtually extinct by the late 1920s and since then leading Croatian linguists (such as Petar Skok, Stjepan Ivšić and Petar Guberina) were unanimous in the re-affirmation of the Croatian purist tradition.
The situation somewhat eased in the run-up to World War II (cf. the establishment of Banovina of Croatia within Yugoslavia in 1939), but with the capitulation of Yugoslavia and the creation of the Axis puppet regime (the Independent State of Croatia, 1941–1945) came another, this time hardly predictable and grotesque attack on standard Croatian:[editorializing] the totalitarian dictatorship of Ante Pavelić pushed natural Croatian purist tendencies to ludicrous extremes and tried to re-impose older morphonological orthography preceding Ivan Broz's orthographical prescriptions from 1892. An official order signed by Pavelić and co-signed by Mile Budak 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. No Croatian dictionaries or 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.[editorializing] 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 unofficially dominant in a few areas: the military (officially: 1963–1974), diplomacy, Federal Yugoslav institutions (various institutes and research centres), state media, and jurisprudence at the federal level. Also encouraged by 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 Yugoslav Lexicographical Institute in Zagreb, headed by Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža.
Notwithstanding the declaration of intent of AVNOJ (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) – everything had, in practice, been geared towards the supremacy of the Serbian language.[neutrality is disputed] 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 and, arguably, provide a firmer basis for Serbianization. However, this "supra-national engineering" was arguably doomed from the outset.[editorializing] 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 (from 1944), as well as to Albanian and Hungarian (from 1970).
The single most important effort by ruling Yugoslav Communist elites to erase the "differences" between Croatian and Serbia—and in practice impose the Serbian Ekavian accent, written in Latin script, as the "official" language of Yugoslavia—was the so-called "Novi Sad Agreement".[neutrality is disputed] 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.[editorializing] 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[editorializing] 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, Radoslav Katičić, Dalibor Brozović and Tomislav Ladan among them) issued the "Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Standard Language". 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.[neutrality is disputed] The "Declaration" succeeded in establishing a Constitutional norm by which in the Socialist Republic of Croatia the official language was the Croatian literary language, 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 irrepressible nature of Croatian linguistic culture appeared.[editorializing] The studies of Brozović, Katičić and Babić that had been circulating among specialists or printed in the obscure philological publications in the 1960s and 1970s (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.[editorializing] 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",[neutrality is disputed] 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 Croatian independence in 1991, the situation with regard to the Croatian language has stabilized. No longer under negative political pressures,[neutrality is disputed] Croatian linguists expanded the work on various ambitious programs and intensified their studies in areas of linguistics such as computational linguistics, corpus linguistics, textual linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and historical lexicography. From 1991 on, many 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).
Standard Croatian is the official language of the Republic of Croatia and, along with Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also official in the regions of Burgenland (Austria), Molise (Italy) and Vojvodina (Serbia). Additionally, it has co-official status alongside Romanian in the communes of Carașova and Lupac, 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. There are eight Croatian language universities in the world: the universities of Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Pula, and Mostar.
There is at present no sole regulatory body that determines correct usage of the Croatian language, though the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics has a prescription department. 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. 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, Finka, Moguš,
- Rječnik hrvatskoga jezika by Anić,
- 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, 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 end of Communism in 1990, among them three voluminous monolingual dictionaries of contemporary Croatian.
- Baška tablet
- Bible translations into Croatian
- Croatian Language Corpus
- Croatian National Corpus
- Days of the Croatian Language
- Glagolitic alphabet
- Language secessionism in Serbo-Croatian
- Mutual intelligibility
- Dialects of Serbo-Croatian
- Pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language
- Serbo-Croatian grammar
- Serbo-Croatian phonology
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- Kordić, Snježana (2010). Jezik i nacionalizam [Language and Nationalism]. Rotulus Universitas (in Croatian). Zagreb: Durieux. p. 430. ISBN 978-953-188-311-5. LCCN 2011520778. OCLC 729837512. OL 15270636W. 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)
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|Croatian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Croatian language.|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Croatian|
|Look up Croatian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Croatian Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix)
- EUdict – online dictionary – translation from Croatian into many languages and vice versa
- Croatian Language Corpus
- Croatian Language Portal (Croatian)
- Croatian Language E-Learning Center
- Croatian Old Dictionary Portal
- Croatian Glagolitic Script
- Croatian Cyrillic Script
- Croatian Glagolitic Manuscripts held outside of Croatia
- The Croatian Language Today, a lecture given by dr. Branko Franolić
- History of Croatian Dictionaries and Grammar books at Yale University Library – Slavic and East European Collection