Croatian language

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Croatian
hrvatski
Pronunciation [xř̩ʋaːtskiː]
Native to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (Vojvodina), Montenegro, Romania (Caraș-Severin County)
Ethnicity Croats
Native speakers
(5.6 million, including other dialects spoken by Croats cited 1991–2006) [1]
Latin (Gaj's alphabet)
Yugoslav Braille
Official status
Official language in
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina (co-official)
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia (in Vojvodina)
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria (in Burgenland)
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union
Recognised minority
language in
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro (co-official on municipal level) [4]
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia [5]
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic [6]
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary (in Baranya County) [7]
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy [8]
Regulated by Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics
Language codes
ISO 639-1 hr
ISO 639-2 hrv
ISO 639-3 hrv
Glottolog croa1245
Linguasphere part of 53-AAA-g
Croatian dialects in RH and BiH.PNG
Traditional extent of Serbo-Croatian dialects in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Croatian ( /krˈʃən/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); hrvatski [xř̩ʋaːtskiː] ) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language [9] [10] [11] [12] used by Croats, [13] principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Contents

Standard Croatian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. In the mid-18th century, the first attempts to provide a Croatian literary standard began on the basis of the Neo-Shtokavian dialect that served as a supraregional lingua franca pushing back regional Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian vernaculars. [14] The decisive role was played by Croatian Vukovians, who cemented the usage of Ijekavian Neo-Shtokavian as the literary standard in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, in addition to designing a phonological orthography. [15] Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet. [16]

Besides the Shtokavian dialect, on which Standard Croatian is based, there are two other main dialects spoken on the territory of Croatia, Chakavian and Kajkavian. These dialects, and the four national standards, are usually subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers, [17] and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.

History

Modern language and standardization

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. [18] 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". [19] Historically, several other names were used as synonyms for Croatian, in addition to Dalmatian and Slavonian, and these were Illyrian (ilirski) and Slavic (slovinski). [20] It is still used now in parts of Istria, which became a crossroads of various mixtures of Chakavian with Ekavian/Ijekavian/Ikavian dialects. [21]

The most standardized form (Kajkavian–Ikavian) became the cultivated language of administration and intellectuals from the Istrian peninsula along the Croatian coast, across central Croatia up into the northern valleys of the Drava and the Mura. The cultural apex of this 17th century idiom is represented by the editions of "Adrianskoga mora sirena" ("Siren of Adriatic Sea") by Petar Zrinski and " Putni tovaruš " ("Traveling escort") by Katarina Zrinska. [22] [23]

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. [24] Subsequently, the Croatian elite in the 18th century gradually abandoned this combined Croatian standard. [25]

Illyrian period

The Illyrian movement was a 19th-century pan-South Slavic political and cultural movement in Croatia that had the goal to standardize the regionally differentiated and orthographically inconsistent literary languages in Croatia, and finally merge them into a common South Slavic literary language. Specifically, three major groups of dialects were spoken on Croatian territory, and there had been several literary languages over four centuries. The leader of the Illyrian movement Ljudevit Gaj standardized the Latin alphabet in 1830–1850 and worked to bring about a standardized orthography. Although based in Kajkavian-speaking Zagreb, Gaj supported using the more populous Neo-Shtokavian – a version of Shtokavian that eventually became the predominant dialectal basis of both Croatian and Serbian literary language from the 19th century on. [26] Supported by various South Slavic proponents, Neo-Shtokavian was adopted after an Austrian initiative at the Vienna Literary Agreement of 1850, [25] laying the foundation for the unified Serbo-Croatian literary language. The uniform Neo-Shtokavian then became common in the Croatian elite. [25]

In the 1860s, the Zagreb Philological School dominated the Croatian cultural life, drawing upon linguistic and ideological conceptions advocated by the members of the Illyrian movement. [27] While it was dominant over the rival Rijeka Philological School and Zadar Philological Schools, its influence waned with the rise of the Croatian Vukovians (at the end of the 19th century). [28]

Distinguishing features and differences between standards

Croatian is commonly characterized by the Ijekavian pronunciation (see an explanation of yat reflexes), the sole use of the Latin alphabet, and a number of lexical differences in common words that set it apart from standard Serbian. [29] Some differences are absolute, while some appear mainly in the frequency of use. [29] However, "an examination of all the major 'levels' of language shows that BCS is clearly a single language with a single grammatical system." [30]

Sociopolitical standpoints

States and/or regions in which Croatian is an official language (dark red) and states in which Croatian is a minority language (light red) Croatian Language.png
States and/or regions in which Croatian is an official language (dark red) and states in which Croatian is a minority language (light red)

Croatian, although technically a form of Serbo-Croatian, is sometimes considered a distinct language by itself. [31] Purely linguistic considerations of languages based on mutual intelligibility ( abstand languages) are frequently incompatible with political conceptions of language so that varieties that are mutually intelligible can not be considered separate languages. "There is no doubt of the near 100% mutual intelligibility of (standard) Croatian and (standard) Serbian, as is obvious from the ability of all groups to enjoy each others’ films, TV and sports broadcasts, newspapers, rock lyrics etc." [30] Differences between various standard forms of Serbo-Croatian are often exaggerated for political reasons. [32] Most Croatian linguists regard Croatian as a separate language that is considered key to national identity. [33] The issue is sensitive in Croatia as the notion of a separate language being the most important characteristic of a nation is widely accepted, stemming from the 19th-century history of Europe. [34] The 1967 Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language, in which a group of Croatian authors and linguists demanded greater autonomy for the Croatian language, is viewed in Croatia as a linguistic policy milestone that was also a general milestone in national politics. [35] At the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, at the beginning of 2017, a two-day meeting of experts from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro was organized in Zagreb, at which the text of the Declaration on the Common Language of Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs and Montenegrins was drafted. [36] The new Declaration has received more than ten thousand signatures. It states that in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro a common polycentric standard language is used, consisting of several standard varieties, similar to the existing varieties of German, English or Spanish. [37] The aim of the new Declaration is to stimulate discussion on language without the nationalistic baggage [38] and to counter nationalistic divisions. [39]

The terms "Serbo-Croatian" or "Serbo-Croat" are still used as a cover term for all these forms by foreign scholars, even though the speakers themselves largely do not use it. [29] Within ex-Yugoslavia, the term has largely been replaced by the ethnic terms Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian. [40]

The use of the name "Croatian" for a language names has been historically attested to, though not always distinctively; the Croatian–Hungarian Agreement, for example, designated "Croatian" as one of its official languages, [41] and Croatian became an official EU language upon accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013. [42] [43] In 2013, the EU started publishing a Croatian-language version of its official gazette. [44]

Official status

Areas with an ethnic Croatian majority (as of 2006) Serbo croatian languages2006 02.png
Areas with an ethnic Croatian majority (as of 2006)

Standard Croatian is the official language of the Republic of Croatia [45] and, along with Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. [46] It is also official in the regions of Burgenland (Austria), [47] Molise (Italy) [48] and Vojvodina (Serbia). [49] Additionally, it has co-official status alongside Romanian in the communes of Carașova [50] and Lupac, [51] [52] Romania. In these localities, Croats or Krashovani make up the majority of the population, and education, signage and access to public administration and the justice system are provided in Croatian, alongside Romanian.

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

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

Attempts are being made to revive Croatian literature in Italy. [53] [ failed verification ]

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

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

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

See also

Related Research Articles

Serbo-Croatian South Slavic language

Serbo-Croatian – also called Serbo-Croat, Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin.

Serbian language South Slavic language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official and national language of Serbia, one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and co-official in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population. It is a recognized minority language in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Bosnian language South Slavic language

The Bosnian language is the standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian mainly used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of three such varieties considered official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian. It is also an officially recognized minority language in Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo.

Comparison of standard Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian

Standard Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian are different national variants and official registers of the pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language.

Montenegrin is a normative variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Montenegrins and is the official language of Montenegro. Montenegrin is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian.

This is a list of languages spoken in regions ruled by Balkan countries. With the exception of several Turkic languages, all of them belong to the Indo-European family. A subset of these languages is notable for forming a well-studied sprachbund, a group of languages that have developed some striking structural similarities over time.

South Slavic languages Language family

The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers. The first South Slavic language to be written was the variety spoken in Thessaloniki, now called Old Church Slavonic, in the ninth century. It is retained as a liturgical language in some South Slavic Orthodox churches in the form of various local Church Slavonic traditions.

Shtokavian

Shtokavian or Štokavian is the prestige dialect of the pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language and the basis of its Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin standards. It is a part of the South Slavic dialect continuum. Its name comes from the form for the interrogatory pronoun for "what" in Western Shtokavian, što. This is in contrast to Kajkavian and Chakavian.

Kajkavian

Kajkavian is a South Slavic regiolect or language spoken primarily by Croats in much of Central Croatia, Gorski Kotar and northern Istria.

Chakavian

Chakavian or Čakavian is a South Slavic regiolect or language spoken primarily by Croats along the Adriatic coast, in the historical regions of Dalmatia, Istria, Croatian Littoral and parts of coastal and southern Central Croatia. Chakavian, like Kajkavian, is not spoken in Serbo-Croatian-speaking regions beyond Croatia.

Torlakian dialect

Torlakian, or Torlak, is a group of South Slavic dialects of southeastern Serbia, Kosovo (Prizren), northeastern North Macedonia, and northwestern Bulgaria (Belogradchik–Godech–Tran-Breznik). Torlakian, together with Bulgarian and Macedonian, falls into the Balkan Slavic linguistic area, which is part of the broader Balkan sprachbund. According to UNESCO's list of endangered languages, Torlakian is vulnerable.

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

Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary Language

The Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary Language is the statement adopted by Croatian scholars in 1967 arguing for the equal treatment of the Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, and Macedonian language standards in Yugoslavia. Its demands were granted by the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.

Novi Sad Agreement

The Novi Sad Agreement was a document composed by 25 Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian writers, linguists and intellectuals to build unity across the ethnic and linguistic divisions within Yugoslavia, and create the Serbo-Croatian language standard.

Slavic microlanguages are literary linguistic varieties that exist alongside the better-known Slavic languages of historically prominent nations. Aleksandr Dulichenko coined the term "(literary) microlanguages" at the end of the 1970s; it subsequently became a standard term in Slavistics.

Vienna Literary Agreement 1850 literary agreement

The Vienna Literary Agreement was the result of a meeting held in March 1850, when writers from Croatia, Serbia and Carniola (Slovenia) met to discuss the extent to which their literatures could be conjoined and united to standardize the Serbo-Croatian language.
The agreement recognized the commonality of South Slavic dialects and enumerated a basic set of grammar rules which they shared.

Serbo-Croatian is a South Slavic language with four national standards. The Eastern Herzegovinian Neo-Shtokavian dialect forms the basis for Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian.

Eastern Herzegovinian dialect Subdialect of Serbo-Croatian

The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread subdialect of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian, both by territory and the number of speakers. It is the dialectal basis for all modern literary Serbo-Croatian standards: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin.

Dialects of Serbo-Croatian

The dialects of Serbo-Croatian include the vernacular forms of Serbo-Croatian as a whole or as part of its standard varieties: Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian. They are part of the dialect continuum of South Slavic languages that joins the Macedonian dialects to the south, Bulgarian dialects to the southeast and Slovene dialects to the northwest.

Supradialect is a linguistic term designating a dialectological category between the levels of language and dialect. It is used in two distinctive contexts, describing structural or functional relations within a particular language. As a structural category, supradialects designate the first level of dialectological subdivision within a language, as for example in the pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language, which is divided into three basic supradialects, with each of them being further divided into several dialects. As a functional category, supradialect designates a predominant dialectal form within a particular language, referring to the most commonly used variant of that language, accepted in practice by the majority of its speakers as a basic tool of mutual interaction and communication. In that context, such supradialect also functions as an interdialect.

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Sources

Further reading

Language history