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Languages in Croatia

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Croatian or hrvatski is basically a South Slavic language spoken by Croats in living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzogovina, neighboring countries like Serbia, Italian region of Molise and Croat communities around the world. The western Stokavian dialect is the dialectal base of the standard Croatian language. The language also includes two major dialects which are the Cakavian, and Kajkavian; also the Croatian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. Together with Serbian and Bosnian, they belong to the Central South Slavic diasystem also known as “Serbo-Croatian”.

The origin of the written language is believed to have started in the 9th century when the liturgy adopted the Old Church Slavonic as its language. Later on it was adapted to other non liturgical functions. These two variants then became a part of the Glagolitic service until the middle of the 9th century.

The modern standard language is the product of more than nine centuries of literature written by mixing the vernacular language with the Croatian Church Slavonic, though the latter was abandon as a language by the middle of the 15th century. During this time the writers of religious poetry, translators and editors slowly introduced the vernacular in their works. This explains why the vernacular language alone has become the embodiment of the country’s literature that still exists for more than five centuries.

According to official census at least 96% speaks Croatian while the 4% speaks Czech, German, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak or other languages. It is believed that thousands of its pre-modern words include Iranian or Persian, Illyrian, Greek or Hellenic and Teutonic or Frankish influences.

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