The history behind Croatian spoken languages is a fascinating example of how major world events shape the evolution of a region’s dialect. With sovereign nations rising and falling throughout history, Croatia is one of many modern-day countries whose history was shaped by the power and influence of world-conquering empires. As a result, their language has a history unlike many others. In today’s blog, Akorbi helps you understand the complex history of Croatian spoken languages.
The history of Croatia is filled with the resistance of empires, redrawn boundaries, and World War II politics that changed the nation’s trajectory. In 1945, the Communist federal republic of Yugoslavia was formed, which brought Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Hercegovina all together. After fighting broke out in the 1990s, Yugoslavia broke up with 4 of its 6 republics becoming recognized as their own independent states. In 1992, Croatia was recognized by the United Nations as its own territory.
The Languages of Croatia
After the breakup of Yugoslavia, the language known as “Serbo-Croatian” (which served as the common dialect of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Montenegrins) split into three different and intelligible languages—Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian. As spoken languages, these three are extremely similar as all of them are based on the Shtokavian dialect. Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian have differing written alphabets and vocabularies. These three languages also have differences in future tense, melody of speech, and pronunciation.
It’s sufficient to say that these three languages were formed on the basis of decisions charged by politics, rather than linguistics. As the region of Yugoslavia split, leaders of the resulting independent countries wanted to establish a unique language for their citizens.
In the country of Croatia, standard Croatian is the official language. Spoken by 6 million people worldwide (5 million of which are located in Croatia), Croatian is also spoken in the USA and Canada by around 100,000—200,000 people.
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