Kajkavian dialect

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kajkavica, kajkavština
Native to Croatia
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Standard forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Individual code:
kjv –  Kajkavian literary language
Glottolog kayk1238[1]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

The Kajkavian dialect /kˈkviən/ (Kajkavian noun: kajkavščina; Shtokavian adjective: kajkavski [kǎjkaʋskiː],[2] noun: kajkavica or kajkavština [kajkǎːʋʃtina])[3] is a dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language spoken by Croats in Central Croatia,[4] Gorski Kotar[5] and northern Istria.[note 1][6][7] It has low mutual intelligibility with the Shtokavian dialect upon which Croatia's standard language is based.[8][9] Some notable linguists consider Kajkavian to be a language of its own.[10] As of 2015, Kajkavian has a separate language ISO 639-3 code – kjv. Active attempts are being made by some organizations to widen its recognition and status, which has thus far included introduction of school subjects in Kajkavian in some parts of Croatia as well as the creation of the aforementioned ISO code.[11]

The term Kajkavian stems from the interrogative pronoun kaj (what). The other main dialects of Serbo-Croatian also derive their name from their reflex of the interrogative pronoun.[12][13] However, the pronouns are only general pointers and do not serve as actual identifiers of the respective dialects. Certain Kajkavian dialects use the interrogative pronoun ča, the one that is usually used in the Chakavian dialect. The pronouns these dialects are named after are merely the most common one in that dialect.

Outside of Croatia, the dialect is also spoken in Austrian Burgenland and a number of enclaves in Hungary (along the Austrian and Croatian border), and Romania.[14] Although speakers of Kajkavian are Croats, and Kajkavian is as such also considered a dialect of Serbo-Croatian, its closest relative is the Slovene language, followed by Chakavian and then Shtokavian. Kajkavian is part of a dialect continuum with both Slovene and Chakavian.[15]


Historically, the classification of Kajkavian has been a subject of much debate. Both the question of whether it ought to be considered a dialect or a language, as well as the question of what its relation is to neighboring speeches. Since at least early to mid-20th century, Kajkavian has been conventionally classified as a Serbo-Croatian dialect.

Autonyms used throughout history by various Kajkavian writers have been manifold, ranging from merely the term Slavic (slavonski, slovenski, slovinski), the term Croatian (horvatski), or Illyrian (illirski).[16][17] The naming went through several phases, with the Slavic-based name initially being dominant. Over time, the name Croatian started gaining ground, mainly during the 17th century, and by the beginning of the 18th century it had supplanted the older name Slavic. The name also followed the same evolution in neighboring Slovene Prekmurje, although there the name Slovene-Croatian (slovensko-horvatski) existed as well.[18] The actual term Kajkavian (kajkavski) is today accepted by its speakers in Croatia.

The problem of classifying Kajkavian within the South Slavic language node stems from its structural differences from neighboring Shtokavian speeches as well as its historical closeness to Slovene speeches. Some Slavists maintain that when the separation of Western South Slavic speeches happened, that they separated into four divergent groups—Shtokavian, Chakavian, Kajkavian and Slovene.[19] As a result of this, throughout history Kajkavian has often been categorized differently than today. It was considered by many to be either a separate node altogether, or a node categorized together with Slovene (then under a different name, kranjski). Furthermore, no isoglosses exist that would separate all Slovene speeches from all Serbo-Croatian speeches. Nor do innovations exist common to Kajkavian, Chakavian, and Shtokavian that would separate them from Slovene.[20][21]


The Kajkavian speech area is bordered in the northwest by Slovene language and in the northeast by Hungarian language. In the east and southeast it is bordered by Shtokavian dialects roughly along a line that used to serve as the border between Civil Croatia and the Habsburg Military Frontier. Finally, in the southwest it borders Chakavian along the Kupa and Dobra rivers.[22] It is thought that historically these borders extended further to the south and east. For example, the eastern border is thought to have extended at least well into modern-day Slavonia, to the area around the town of Pakrac. Some historical toponyms suggest an even slightly larger extent.[23]

The capital Zagreb has historically been a Kajkavian-speaking area and Kajkavian is still in use by its older population and to a lesser extent younger population. Modern Zagreb speech has been under considerable influence of Shtokavian.[24] The vast intermingling of Kajkavian and standard Shtokavian in Zagreb and its surroundings has led to problems in defining the underlying structure of those speeches. As a result, many of the urban speeches (but not rural ones) have been called either Kajkavian koine or Kajkavian–Shtokavian rather than being described as being either Kajkavian or Shtokavian.[25] Additionally, the forms of speech in use exhibit significant sociolinguistic variation. Research suggests that younger Zagreb-born speakers of Kajkavian koine tend to consciously use more Kajkavian features when speaking to older people, showing that such features are still in their inventory even if not used at all times.[26] However, Kajkavian koine is distinct from Kajkavian as spoken in non-urban areas and the mixing of Shtokavian and Kajkavian outside of urban settings is much rarer and less developed. The Kajkavian koine has also been named Zagreb Shtokavian by some.[25]

As a result of the previously mentioned mixing of dialects, various Kajkavian features and characteristics have found their way into standard Shtokavian (standard Croatian) as spoken by people in those areas. For example, some of the prominent features are the fixed stress-based accentual system without distinctive lengths, the merger of /č/ and /ć/ and of /dž/ and /đ/, vocabulary differences as well as a different place of stress in words.[27] This Zagreb variety of Shtokavian is considered by some to enjoy parallel prestige with the otherwise proscribed Shtokavian variety. Because of that, speakers whose native speech is closer to the standard variety often end up adopting the Zagreb speech for various reasons.[28]

Kajkavian is closely related to Slovene and to Prekmurje Slovene in particular.[29] Higher amounts of correspondences between the two exist in inflection and vocabulary. Speakers of Prekmurian are Slovenes and Hungarian Slovenes who belonged to the Archdiocese of Zagreb during the Habsburg era. They used Kajkavian as their liturgical language and by the 18th century, Kajkavian had become the standard language of Prekmurje.[30] Moreover, literary Kajkavian was also used in neighboring Slovene Styria during the 17th and 18th centuries and in parts of it, education was conducted in Kajkavian.[31]

As a result of various factors, Kajkavian has numerous differences compared to Shtokavian:

  • Kajkavian has a prothetic v- generalized in front of u (cf. Kajkavian vuho, Shtokavian uho, Kajkavian vugel, Shtokavian ugao, Kajkavian vučil, Shtokavian učio. This feature has been attested in Glagolithic texts very early on, already around 15th century (Petrisov zbornik, 1468). A similar feature exists in colloquial Czech.[32]
  • Proto-Slavic *dj resulted in Kajkavian j, as opposed to Shtokavian đ (cf. Kajkavian meja, Shtokavian međa, Slovene meja).[33]
  • The nasal *a has evolved into a closed /o/ in Kajkavian (cf. Kajkavian roka, Shtokavian ruka, Slovene roka).[34]
  • The Common Slavic *v and *v- were retained as v in Kajkavian, whereas in Shtokavian they resulted in u and u- and in Chakavian they gave way to va.[35]
  • Kajkavian has retained /č/ in front of /r/ (cf. Kajkavian črn, črv, Shtokavian crn, crv, Slovene črn, črv).[36]
  • Kajkavian /ž/ in front of a vowel turns into /r/. A similar evolution happened in Slovene, Chakavian as well as Western Shtokavian, however, the latter does not use it in its standard form (cf. Kajkavian moči > morem/moreš/more, Shtokavian moći > mogu/možeš/može, Slovene moči > morem/moreš/more).[37]
  • Kajkavian retains -jt and -jd clusters (cf. Kajkavian pojti, pojdem, Shtokavian poći, pođem).[38]
  • Like most Slavic speeches (but not Shtokavian), Kajkavian exhibits final-obstruent devoicing, however it is not consistently spelled out (cf. Kajkavian vrak, Shtokavian vrag)[39]
  • Diminutive suffixes in Kajkavian are -ek, -ec, -eko, -eco (cf. Kajkavian pes > pesek, Shtokavian pas > psić).[40]
  • Negative past tense construction in Kajkavian deviates syntactically from neighboring speeches in its placing of the negative particle. It is argued by some that this might be a remnant of a Pannonian Slavic system. Similar behavior is exhibited in Slovak (cf. Kajkavian ja sem nȩ čul, Slovene jaz nisem slišal, Shtokavian ja nisam čuo).[41]
  • Kajkavian has a different first-person plural present tense suffix, -mȩ (cf. Kajkavian -mȩ, rečemȩ, Slovene -mo, rečemo, Shtokavian -mo, kažemo, Slovak -me, povieme).[42]
  • Relative pronouns differ from neighboring dialects and languages. Kajkavian uses kateri, tȩri (cf. Czech který, Slovak ktorý, Shtokavian koji).[43]
  • The genitive plural in Shtokavian adds an -a to the end whereas Kajkavian retains the old form (cf. Kajkavian vuk, vukov/vukof, Shtokavian vuk, vukova, Kajkavian žene, žen, Shtokavian žene, žena).[44]
  • Kajkavian retains the older locative plural (cf. Kajkavian prsti, prsteh, Shtokavian prsti, prstima).[45]
  • The loss of dual is considered to be significantly more recent than in Shtokavian.[46]
  • Kajkavian has no vocative case.[47]
  • So-called s-type nouns have been retained as a separate declension class in Kajkavian, contrasted from the neuter due to the formant -es- in oblique cases. The same is true for Slovene (cf. Kajkavian čudo, čudesa, Shtokavian čudo, čuda).[48]
  • The supine has been retained as distinctive from infinitive, same as in Slovene. The infinitive suffixes are -ti, -či whereas their supine counterparts are -t, . The supine and the infinitive are often stressed differently. The supine is used with verbs of motion.[50]
  • The future tense is formed with the auxiliary biti and the -l participle, same as in Slovene and similar to Czech and Slovak (cf. Kajkavian išel bom, Shtokavian ići ću).[51]
  • Modern urban Kajkavian speeches tend to have stress as the only significant prosodic feature, as opposed to the Shtokavian four tone system.[52]
  • Kajkavian exhibits various syntactic influences from German.[53]
  • The Slavic suffix u- has a vi- reflex in some dialects, similar to Czech vý- (cf. Kajkavian vigled, Czech výhled, Shtokavian izgled).[54][55]

In addition to the above list of some of the characteristics that set Kajkavian apart from Shtokavian, research suggests possible closer relation with the Slovak language, especially with the Central Slovak dialects upon which standard Slovak is based on. As modern-day Hungary used to be populated by Slavic-speaking peoples prior to the arrival of Hungarians, there have been hypotheses on possible common innovations of future West and South Slavic speakers of that area. Kajkavian is most prominent of the South Slavic speeches in sharing the most features that could potentially be common Pannonian innovations.[56]

Some Kajkavian words bear a closer resemblance to other Slavic languages (such as Russian) than they do to Shtokavian or Chakavian. For instance gda seems to be, at first glance, unrelated to kada, however, when compared to the Russian когда, the Slovene kdaj, or the Prekmurian gda, kda, the relationship becomes more apparent. Kajkavian kak (how) and tak (so) are exactly like their Russian cognates, as compared to Shtokavian and Chakavian kako and tako, in Prekmurian in turn tak, kak (in Slovene like Chakavian: tako, kako). (This vowel loss occurred in most other Slavic languages; Shtokavian is a notable exception, whereas the same feature of Macedonian is probably not a Serbo-Croatian influence, because the word is preserved in the same form in Bulgarian, to which Macedonian is much more closely related than to Serbo-Croatian.)[citation needed]

History of research[edit]

Linguistic investigation had begun during 19th century, although the research itself had often ended in non-linguistic or nowadays outdated conclusions. As that was also the age of national revivals across Europe as well as the South Slavic lands, it meant that research was steered by national narratives. Within that framework, Slovene philologists such as Franc Miklošič and Jernej Kopitar had attempted to reinforce the idea of Slovene and Kajkavian unity and asserted that Kajkavian speakers are Slovenes.[57][58] On the other hand, the likes of Josef Dobrovský had also claimed linguistic and national unity between the two groups but under the Croatian ethnonym.[59][60]

The first modern dialectal investigations of Kajkavian started at the end of the 19th century. The Ukrainian philologist A.M. Lukjanenko wrote the first comprehensive monograph on the subject of Kajkavian (titled Kajkavskoe narečie meaning The Kajkavian dialect) in Russian in 1905.[61] Kajkavian dialects have been classified along various criteria: Serbian philologist Aleksandar Belić had divided (1927) the Kajkavian dialect according to the reflexes of Proto-Slavic phonemes /tj/ and /dj/ into three subdialects: eastern, northwestern and southwestern.[62]

However, later investigations did not corroborate Belić's division. Contemporary Kajkavian dialectology originates mainly from Croatian philologist Stjepan Ivšić's work "Jezik Hrvata kajkavaca" (The Language of Kajkavian Croats, 1936), which highlights accentual characteristics. Due to the great diversity within Kajkavian, primarily in phonetics, phonology, and morphology—the Kajkavian dialectological atlas features a large number of subdialects: from four identified by Ivšić, up to six proposed by Croatian linguist Brozović (formerly the accepted division) and up to fifteen according to a monograph by Croatian linguist Mijo Lončarić (1995).

Area of use[edit]

Bilingual Kajkavian/German streetsign in Zagreb:
Kamenita Vulicza / Stein Gaſſe

Kajkavian is chiefly spoken in northern and northwestern Croatia. The mixed half-Kajkavian towns along the eastern and southern edge of Kajkavian speaking area are Pitomača, Čazma, Kutina, Popovača, Sunja, Petrinja, Martinska Ves[disambiguation needed], Ozalj, Ogulin, Fužine, and Čabar, with included newer Štokavian enclaves of Bjelovar, Sisak, Glina, Dubrava, Zagreb and Novi Zagreb. The southernmost Kajkavian villages are Krapje at Jasenovac; and Pavušek, Dvorišče and Hrvatsko selo in Zrinska Gora (R. Fureš & A. Jembrih: Kajkavski u povijesnom i sadašnjem obzorju p. 548, Zabok 2006).

The major cities in northern Croatia with that have historically been Kajkavian speaking areas chiefly Zagreb, Koprivnica, Krapina, Križevci, Varaždin, Čakovec, etc. The typical and archaic Kajkavian is today spoken chiefly in Zagorje hills and Medjimurje plain, and in adjacent areas of northwestern Croatia where other immigrants and Štokavian standard had much less influence. The most peculiar Kajkavian archidiom (Baegnunski) is spoken at Bednja in northernmost Croatia. Many of northern Croatian urban areas today are partly Štokavianized due to the influence of standard language and immigration of Štokavian speakers.

Other southeastern people who immigrate to Zagreb from Štokavian territories often pick up rare elements of Kajkavian in order to assimilate, notably the pronoun "kaj" instead of "što" and the extended use of future anterior (futur drugi), but they never adapt well because of alien eastern accents and ignoring Kajkavian-Čakavian archaisms and syntax.

Kajkavian phonetics[edit]

Vowels: /a/, /ɑ/, /ɛ/, /e/, /ə/, /i/, /ɔ/, /o/, /u/
consonants: /b/, /ts/, /tʃ/, /d/, /dz/, /dʒ/, /f/, /ɡ/, /ɦ/, /x/, /j/, /k/, /l/, /ʎ/, /m/, /n/, /ɲ/, /p/, /r/, /r̝/, /s/, /ʃ/, /t/, /v/, /z/, /ʒ/

Letter or digraph IPA Example Translation
a /a/ Kaj buš? What do you will?
a /ɑ/ Ja grem v Varaždin. I'm going to Varaždin.
b /b/ Kaj buš ti, bum i ja. What will you, I will to.
c /ts/ Čuda cukora 'ma v otem kolaču. There is a lot of sugar in this cake.
č /tʃ/ Hočeš kaj ti povedam? Would you like me to tell you?
d /d/ Da l' me ljubiš? Do you love me?
dz /dz/ Pogledni dzaj za hižom! Look behind the house!
/dʒ/ Kda nam pak dojde to vreme, kda pemo mi v Meimurje? When will this time come again, when we will go to Medjimurje?
e /ɛ/ Moje srčeko ne m're bez tebe! My heart can not go on without you!
e /e/ Moj Zagreb tak imam te rad! My Zagreb, I love you so much!
e /ə/ Ja sem Varaždinec! I'm a Varaždinian!
f /f/ Cveti! Cveti, fijolica lepa! Blossom! Blossom, beautiful violet!
g /ɡ/ Smrt po vse nas dojde! Na koncu, v grabi smo vsi. Death comes for us all, at the End we are all in our graves!
h /ɦ/ Ljubim tve čobice mehke. I love your tender lips.
h /x/ Naj se hurmati, kak nekšni hrmak. Don't fool around, like some baffoon.
i /i/ Kdo te ima? Who haves you.
ie /jɛ/ Liepa moja, daj mi se osmiehni, ker ti imaš najliepši osmieh na svietu. My Beauty, give me one smile, because you have the most beautiful smile in the world.
j /j/ Hej, haj, prišel je kraj, nikdar več ne bu dišal nam maj. Hej, haj, End has come, to us May, never again whould it smell .
l /l/ Ja sem včera v Zagrebu bil, kda sem dimo išel, solzicu sem pustil. Yesterday I was in Zagreb, when I went home, tear had drop.
lj /ʎ/ Tak malo dobroga, v življenju tu se najde. So little good, in life is there to find.
m /m/ Molim te kaj mi oprostiš. Please forgive me.
n /n/ Znaš kaj? – Nikaj! You know what? – Nothing!
nj /ɲ/ Ja samo nju ljubim. I love only her.
o /ɔ/ Idemo na morje? Are we going to the sea?
o /o/ Ja sem samo tvoj. I'm only yours.
p /p/ Upam se, da me još imaš rada. I hope, you love me still.
r /r/ Vjutro se ja rano 'stanem, malo pred zorju. I woke up early in the morning, a little before dawn.
r /r̝/ Prešlo je prešlo, puno ljet. Many years have passed.
s /s/ Popevke sem slagal, i rožice bral. Songs did I compose, and roses did I pick.
š /ʃ/ Ja bi ti štel kušlec dati. I would like to give you a kiss.
t /t/ Kajti: kak bi bilo da nebi nekak bilo, nebi bilo nikak, ni tak kak je bilo. Because: how would it be if it wouldn't be like this, it would be nohow, and not like this as it is.
u /u/ Nikdar ni tak bilo da ni nekak bilo, pak ni vesda ne bu da nam nekak ne bu. Never had been that has not been nothing and nohow, so it will never be that somehow would it not be.
v /v/ Vrag te 'zel! Devil has taken you away!
z /z/ Zakaj? – Morti zato? Why? – Maybe because?
ž /ʒ/ Kde delaš? – Ja delam na železnici. Zakaj pitaš? Where are you working? – I'm working on railway. Why do you ask?

Kajkavian literary language[edit]

A piture of the 1850 edition of the Kajkavian periodical Danica zagrebečka

Writings that are judged by some as being distinctly Kajkavian can be dated to around the 12th century.[63] The first comprehensive works in Kajkavian started to appear during the 16th century, at a time when the region of Central Croatia gained prominence due to the geopolitical environment—free from Ottoman occupation. The most notable work of that era was Ivanuš Pergošić's Decretum, released in 1574. Decretum was a translation of István Werbőczys Tripartitum.

At the same time, many protestant writers of the Slovene lands also released their works in Kajkavian so as to reach a wider audience, while also sometimes using Kajkavian features in their native writings. During that time, the autonym used by the writers was usually slovinski (Slavic), horvatski (Croatian) or ilirski (Illyrian).[64]

After that, numerous works appeared in Kajkavian literary language: chronicles by Vramec, liturgical works by Ratkaj, Habdelić, Mulih; poetry of Ana Katarina Zrinska, dramatic opus of Tituš Brezovački. Kajkavian-based are important lexicographic works like Jambrešić's "Dictionar", 1670, and monumental (2,000 pages and 50,000 words) inter-dialectal (Chakavian–Shtokavian–Kajkavian, but based on Kajkavian idiom) dictionary "Gazophylacium" by Ivan Belostenec (posthumously, 1740). Miroslav Krleža's poetic work "Balade Petrice Kerempuha" drew heavily on Belostenec's dictionary. Kajkavian grammars include Kornig's, 1795, Matijević's, 1810 and Đurkovečki's, 1837.

During that time, Kajkavian literary language was the dominant written form in its spoken area, along with Latin and German.[65] Until Ljudevit Gaj's attempts to modernize the spelling, Kajkavian had been written using Hungarian spelling conventions.[66] Kajkavian began to lose its status during the Croatian National Revival in mid 19th century when the leaders of the Illyrian movement opted to use the Shtokavian dialect as basis for the future South Slavic standard language, reason behind it being that it had the highest number of speakers. Initially, the choice of Shtokavian was accepted even among Slovene intellectuals as well but later on it fell out of favor.[66] The Zagreb linguistic school was opposed to the course that the standardization process took. Namely, it had almost completely ignored Kajkavian (and Chakavian) dialects, which was contrary to their original vision. With the notable exception of vocabulary influence of Kajkavian on the standard Croatian register (but not the Serbian one), there was very little to no input from other non-Shtokavian dialects.[67]

Early 20th century had witnessed a drastic increase in released Kajkavian literature, although by then it had become part of what was considered Croatian dialectal poetry and with no pretense of serving as a standard written form. The most notable writers of this period were, among others, Antun Gustav Matoš, Miroslav Krleža, Ivan Goran Kovačić, Dragutin Domjanić and Nikola Pavić.

Kajkavian lexical treasure is being published by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in "Rječnik hrvatskoga kajkavskoga književnoga jezika"/Dictionary of the Croatian Kajkavian Literary Language, 8 volumes (1999).

Latterly Dario Vid Balog, actor, linguist and writer translate the New Testament in Kajkavian.[68]

Below are examples of the Lord's Prayer in the Croatian variant of Shtokavian, literary Kajkavian and a Međimurje variant of the Kajkavian dialect.

Standard Croatian Literary Kajkavian Međimurje-Kajkavian

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 svagdanji 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.

Otec naš, koj si na nebesi,
sveti se ime tvoje,
dojdi kralestvo tvoje,
budi vola tvoja,
kak na nebu tak i na zemli.
Kruha našega vsagdašnega dej
nam denes.
I otpusti nam duge naše,
kak i mi otpuščamo dužnikom našim,
i ne vpelaj nas vu skušavanje,
nego oslobodi nas od zla.

Japek naš ki si v nebesaj,
nek se sveti ime Tvoje,
nek prihaja cesarstvo Tvoje,
nek bo volja Tvoja,
kakti na nebi tak pa na zemlji.
Kruhek naš vsakdaneši daj
nam denes
ter odpuščaj nam duge naše,
kakti i mi odpuščamo dužnikom našim,
ter naj nas vpelati v skušnje,
nek zbavi nas od vsakih hudobah.

Location map of Serbo-Croatian dialects in Croatia and areas in BiH with Croat majority. Kajkavian in purple.
Distribution of Chakavian, Kajkavian and Western Shtokavian before migrations. Kajkavian in yellow.

Vocabulary comparison[edit]

What follows is a comparison of some words in Kajkavian, Shtokavian and Slovene, along with their English translations. The Kajkavian words are given in their most common orthographic form. Shtokavian words are given in their standard Croatian form. In cases where the place of accent or stress differs, the syllable with the stress or accent is indicated in bold. Words that are the same in all three are not listed. Loanwords are also not listed.

Kajkavian Shtokavian Slovene English
reč riječ beseda word
več više več more
povedati kazati povedati to say, to tell
gda kada kdaj/ko when, ever
nigda nikada nikoli never
vse sve vse all
iti ići iti to go
tu tu tukaj here
gde gdje kje where
negde negdje nekje somewhere
vleči vući vleči to tug, to drag
obleči odjenuti obleči to dress
otiti otići oditi to leave, to go
dete dijete otrok child
leto godina leto year
imeti imati imeti to have
vekši veći večji bigger, larger
bolši bolji boljši better
razmeti razumjeti razumeti to understand
dignuti dignuti dvigniti to lift, to raise
črlen crven rdeč red
gorši gori gorji worse
pes pas pes dog
narediti uraditi narediti to do
pisec pisac pisec writer
iskati tražiti iskati to search
boleti boljeti boleti to hurt
broj broj število number
igrati igrati igrati to play
vrnuti vratiti vrniti to return
hiža kuća hiša house
včera jučer včeraj yesterday
zaprti zatvoriti zaprti to close, to shut
delati raditi delati to work

Kajkavian media[edit]

During Yugoslavia in the 20th century, Kajkavian was mostly restricted in private communication, poetry and folklore. By the recent regional democratizing and cultural revival from 1990s, Kajkavians partly regained their former half-public positions chiefly in Zagorje County and Varaždin County and local towns, being now presented there in some modern public media e.g.:

  • Quarterly periodical "Kaj", with 35 annual volumes in nearly a hundred fascicles, published since 1967 by the Kajkavian Association ('Kajkavsko Spravišče') in Zagreb city.
  • Autumnal Weeks of Kajkavian culture in Krapina since 1997, with iterative professional symposia on Kajkavians resulting by five published proceedings.
  • Annual periodical Hrvatski sjever ('Croatian North'), with dozen volumes partly in Kajkavian, published by Matica Hrvatska in Čakovec.
  • A new internet portal: Kaykavian Zohowiki, a minor wiki-lexicon on the Kajkavian culture and dialect in northwestern Croatia, starting in autumn 2009.
  • A permanent program in Kajkavian of the Kajkavian radio in Krapina township. Other minor half-Kajkavian media with temporary Kajkavian contents include also the local television of Varaždin city, local radio program Sljeme in Zagreb, and some local newspapers in northwestern Croatia, e.g. in Varaždin, Čakovec, Samobor, etc.


  • Kaj bum? – in Kajkavian: What should I do?
  • Kak je, tak je; tak je navek bilo, kak bu tak bu, a bu vre nekak kak bu!
  • "Nigdar ni tak bilo da ni nekak bilo, pak ni vezda ne bu da nam nekak ne bu."Miroslav Krleža (quotation from poem "Khevenhiller")
  • Kaj buš ti, bum i ja! (Whatever you do, I'll do it too!)
  • Ne bu išlo! (standard Croatian: Ne može tako, Neće ići, Slovene: Ne bo šlo, "It won't work!")
  • "Bumo vidli!" (štokavski: "Vidjet ćemo!", Slovene: Bomo videli, English: "We will see!")
  • "Dej muči!" or "Muči daj!" (štokavski: "Daj šuti!", Slovene: Daj molči, English: "Shut up!")
  • "Buš pukel?" – "Bum!" (jokingly: "Will you explode?" – "I will!")
  • Numerous supplementary examples see also by A. Negro: "Agramerski štikleci"
  • Another major example – traditional Kajkavian "Paternoster" (bold = site of stress): Japa naš kteri si f 'nebesih nek sesvete ime Tvoje, nek prihaja cesarstvo Tvoje, nek bu volya Tvoja kakti na nebe tak pa na zemle. Kruhek naš sakdajni nam daj denes ter odpuščaj nam dugi naše, kakti mi odpuščamo dužnikom našim ter naj nas fpelati vu skušnje, nek nas zbavi od sekih hudobah. F'se veke vekof, Amen.


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  1. ^ The Kajkavian speech of northern Istria is conventionally called Kajkavian but the features that differentiate it from neighboring Chakavian are not strictly or distinctly Kajkavian nor are those speech forms located in continuum with any other Kajkavian speech in Croatia. They have features common to both Slovene across the border as well as Kajkavian elsewhere.


  • Feletar D., Ledić G., Šir A.: Kajkaviana Croatica (Hrvatska kajkavska riječ). Muzej Međimurja, 37 str., Čakovec 1997.
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  • JAZU / HAZU: Rječnik hrvatskoga kajkavskog književnog jezika (A – P), I – X. Zavod za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovlje 2500 str, Zagreb 1984-2005.
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  • Moguš, M.: A History of the Croatian Language, NZ Globus, Zagreb 1995
  • Šojat, A. 1969-1971: Kratki navuk jezičnice horvatske (Jezik stare kajkavske književnosti). Kaj 1969: 3-4, 5, 7-8, 10, 12; Kaj 1970: 2, 3-4, 10; Kaj 1971: 10, 11. Kajkavsko spravišče, Zagreb.
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Matasović, Ranko (2008). Poredbenopovijesna gramatika hrvatskoga jezika. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. ISBN 978-953-150-840-7. 

Nuorluoto, Juhani (2010). "Central Slovak and Kajkavian Structural Convergences: A Tentative Survey". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 

Lončarić, Mijo (1985). "Kajkavsko narječje u svjetlu dosadašnjih pručavanja". Zavod za jezik IFF, Zagreb. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 

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