María Palomares Tarí
GETTING TO KNOW CROATIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
While it is not widely spoken across the globe, there is however so much to know about Croatian language and plenty to love in the culture, especially if you’re into red-and-white checkerboards.
Ready to learn more about Croatia?
Croatian is a South Slavic language and is derived from Old Church Slavonic. After taking its independence in 1991, Croatia decided to reform Croatian to differentiate it from Serbian.
It is estimated that Croatian is spoken by around 7 million speakers.
Apart from being the official language in Croatia, Croatian is one of the three official languages in Bosnia & Herzegovina and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
It is also spoken in Italy. Yes, you heard it right! Slavomolisano, also known as Molise Slavic or Molise Croatian, is a variety of Shtokavian Serbo-Croatian spoken by Italian Croats in the province of Campobasso, in the Molise Region of southern Italy.
Croatian is the standardized form of Serbo-Croatian used in Croatia. It is mutually intelligible with Serbian and Bosnian and shares strong similarities.
Croatian used to be written with three different alphabets: Cyrillic, Glagolitic and Latin. Since the 19th century, Croatian has been using Gaj’s Latin alphabet.
One of the South Slavic languages, Croatian has been called differently throughout history, and one of the names was “Illyrian”.
Croatia and Serbia have separate histories, religions, influences and desires. Learning to respect this is the key to a good time in the company of Croats!
If there is one thing that is synonymous with Croatia, it is the distinct red-and-white checkerboard design. Whether it is adorning the jerseys of national sports teams, the faces of supporters or practically every flag in the country, there is nothing more Croatian than what the local people call the šahovnica (chessboard), symbol of Croatia since the 10th century.