The Croatian language is spoken mainly throughout the countries of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the surrounding countries of Europe. Croatian grammar is the grammar of the Croatian language. The Croatian language consists of three vernaculars (Kaikavian, Chakavian and Shtokavian).
|Native to||Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (Vojvodina), Montenegro, Romania (Caraș-Severin County), Slovenia, and diaspora|
|5.55 million (2001)|
|Latin (Gaj's alphabet)|
Official language in
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Regulated by||Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics|
Traditional extent of Serbo-Croatian dialects in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Croatian grammar books show that the codification of the language started at the beginning of the 17th century (the first grammar was written by Bartol Kašić in Latin in 1604). This means that the rules for the language were written down. From 1604 to 1836 there were 17 grammars. Most of them described the Štokavian dialect, but some were about Kajkavian. In the 19th century, more grammars based on Štokavian were written. They were "Nova ricsoslovnica illiricka", written by Šime Starčević (1812), and "Grammatik der illyrischen Sprache", written by Ignjat Alojzije Brlić (1833),. Even before the 19th century, the three dialects of the Croatian language were almost equally used. However, the way each dialect was written down varied throughout Croatia. Near the Adriatic coast, it was more similar to Italian, and near the Hungarian border, it was more similar to Hungarian. All grammars of the above period (1604-1836) used three accents: acute, grave and circumflex, Starčević's grammar is an exception as it uses a system of four accents. In 19th century, Ljudevit Gaj proposed new letters from Czech (č,ž,š,ľ,ň,ď and ǧ). The letters that were accepted were č, ž and š, and from Polish, ć. For other phonemes (sounds), the digraphs that were accepted were ie, lj, nj and dž. Later dj or gj was changed to đ (according to proposal by Đuro Daničić).
The Croatian language uses a Latin script of 30 letters and one diphthong "ie" or "ije", and "ŕ". This system is called gajica in Croatian (or Croatian Gaj's Latin alphabet). The name came from Ljudevit Gaj. The letter order (and whole alphabet) is called abeceda in Croatian, because the first 4 letters are spelled "a, be, ce, de". For writing foreign names and words, and in some professions, the Croatian language uses letters which do not belong to gajica, like "X, x (iks), Y,y (ipsilon)" and others.
Croatian alphabet (Gaica) 1830.c
In Croatian, nouns change form depending on the composition of the sentence. This is called declension. For people who are learning Croatian, declension is the most difficult part of the language to master. It is very complicated and time consuming to explain it and because of that we will use simpler techniques. However, many languages have noun and pronoun declension, including English. In English, though, only pronoun declension now remains. Let us start by explaining all of the seven Croatian grammatical cases. The technique that is most frequently used in determining grammatical cases (the same technique is used in Croatian schools when taught to children) is by asking yourself a question when you are trying to figure out which case a noun should be in. In Croatian, grammatical cases are called padeži (plural) and padež (singular).
- In this example you will be shown how to determine a noun's grammatical case by using the table below.
- Krešimir is going to school. (Krešimir ide u školu.)
The question you will ask yourself here is: “Where is Krešimir going?”. And the answer is that he's going to school. By looking at the table below you will see that the question 'where' is used for the Locative case.
|Grammatical case||The question you are ask yourself||Example|
|Nominativ (Nominative)||Tko? Što? (Who or what?)||Jabuka je fina. (The apple is delicious.)|
|Genitiv (Genitive)||Koga? Čega? Čiji? (Who or what is missing? Who's?)||Ovo radim zbog jabuke. (I'm doing this because of the apple.)|
|Dativ (Dative)||Komu? Čemu? (Whom or what am I going toward?)||Idem prema jabuci. (I am going toward the apple.)|
|Akuzativ (Accusative)||Koga? Što? (Whom or what?)||Ne vidim jabuku. (I do not see the apple.)|
|Vokativ (Vocative)||Oj! Ej! (Oi! Hey!)||Oj, jabuko! (Oi, apple!)|
|Lokativ (Locative)||Gdje? U komu? U čemu? (Where? In what? In who?)||Živim u jabuci. (I live in the apple.)|
|Instrumental||S kime? S čime? (With whom or with what?)||Trčim s jabukom. (I am running with the apple.)|
Croatian nouns are divided into three genders: the masculine, feminine and neuter gender. To know a noun's gender is very important because it affects all the words in a sentence that are tied to the noun, such as adjectives. A gender is determined by the noun's ending (with some exceptions). This makes it easier to tell what gender a noun is without memorizing the gender of every word. See the table below. Nouns retain their gender in plural. For instance, even though the noun 'žene' (women) ends in -e, it is of the feminine gender.
|Ending||-a||-e, -o||-k, -l, -r, -d... (and all other letters)|
|Example||žena (woman)||sunce (sun)||metak (bullet)|
Croatian verbs have two grammatical aspects: the perfective and imperfective. The perfective aspect depicts an action that has already been finished. The imperfective aspect depicts an action that is still continuing. So, each verb in its infinitive form can be written in 2 ways: in its perfective and imperfective aspect. The table below is showing 5 verbs both in their perfective and imperfective aspects.
|Imperfective aspect in infinitive||Perfective aspect in infinitive|
|Trčati. (To run. infinite action)||Odtrčati. (Definite action, the running has been done with.)|
|Sjediti. (To sit. infinite action)||Sjesti.|
|Plivati. (To swim. infinite action)||Odplivati.|
|Graditi. (To build. infinite action)||Izgraditi.|
|Popravljati. (To fix/repair/mend. infinite action)||Popraviti.|
In Croatian, there are seven grammatical tenses. They can be divided in two ways: by the time they take place in and by their complexity. Simple tenses consist of only 1 word (simple tenses are aorist, imperfect, and present) while complex tenses consist of 2 or even 3 words (complex tenses are pluperfect, perfect, first future, second future) because they also consist of auxiliary verbs. Also, some grammatical tenses cannot be formed with both grammatical aspects, they work with only one aspect.
|Pluperfect||An action that has happened before another action (same as English past perfect).||Mladen je bio ručao. (Mladen had had lunch.)|
|Imperfect||Past tense that is formed only by imperfective verbs. An unfinished past tense.||Mladen trčaše. (Mladen was running.)|
|Aorist||Past tense (not used much nowadays). It is the same as Perfekt. Can be formed only with verbs in perfective states.||Mladen odtrčaše. (Mladen was running but he finished sometime in the past.)|
|Perfect||Main past tense. Can be formed by both imperfective and perfective verbs.||Mladen je trčao. (Mladen was running).|
|Present||Present tense.||Mladen ruča. (Mladen is having lunch.)|
|First future||Future tense.||Mladen će ručati. (Mladen will have lunch.)|
|Second future Before-future tense.||Used in expressing a future action that will happen before another future action.||Ako bude kiša uskoro pala, suša će prestati. (If rain soon falls, the drought will end.)|
- Basic and common expressions:
|Dobar dan||Good day|
|Dobro jutro||Good morning|
|Dobra večer||Good evening|
|Laku noć||Good night|
- Days, months & seasons
The Croatian week starts with Monday and ends with Sunday, unlike weeks from some other countries, where Sunday is the first day and Saturday the last.
|Ispred||In front of|
|0 - Nula|
|1 - Jedan|
|2 - Dva|
|3 - Tri|
|4 - Četiri|
|5 - Pet|
|6 - Šest|
|7 - Sedam|
|8 - Osam|
|9 - Devet|
|10 - Deset|
|11 - Jedanaest|
|12 - Dvanaest|
|13 - Trinaest|
|14 - Četrnaest|
|15 - Petnaest|
|16 - Šesnaest|
|17 - Sedamnaest|
|18 - Osamnaest|
|19 - Devetnaest|
|20 - Dvadeset|
|30 - Trideset|
|40 - Četrdeset|
|50 - Pedeset|
|60 - Šezdeset|
|70 - Sedamdeset|
|80 - Osamdeset|
|90 - Devedeset|
|100 - Sto|
|1,000 - Tisuću|
|1,000,000 - Milijun|
|1,000,000,000 - Milijarda|
|United Nations||Ujedinjeni Narodi||Уједињене Нације (Ujedinjene Nacije)|
|Road traffic||Cestovni promet||Друмски саобраћај (Drumski saobraćaj)|
|I'm sorry||Oprosti||Извини (Izvini)|
|Native language standard||Materinski jezićni standard||Матерњи језички стандард|
- "Linguistic Lineage for Croatian". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
- Milan Moguš, "Povijest hrvatskoga književnoga jezika", Globus, Zagreb, 1993, ISBN 953-167-014-5, p. 12
- Sanda Ham, "Povijest hrvatskih gramatika", Globus, Zagreb, 2006, ISBN 953-167-185-0, p. 16
- Težak-Babić, "Gramatika hrvatskoga jezika", Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 1994, ISBN 953-0-40008-X, p. 13
- Babić, Ham, Moguš, "Hrvatski školski pravopis", Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2008., ISBN 978-953-0-40026-9, p. 11
- Babić, Ham, Moguš, "Hrvatski školski pravopis", Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2008., ISBN 978-953-0-40026-9, p. 12