The official language of Croatia is Croatian; it is also the 24th official language of the European Union. Croatian is also spoken in Serbia and Herzegovina and the Vojvodina principality of Serbia. Croatian is closely related to Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin but contains several Latin and German words. There are 30 letters Croatian - the normal English letters except q, w, x, and y and but with the addition of č, ć, dž, đ, lj, nj, š and ž.

Croatian is native to 95.6% of Croats and 1.2% of Serbians. No single minority language in Croatian makes up more than 0.5% of the population. Minority languages spoken in the country include Italian, Hungarian, Slovak, Rusyn, German, English, Ukrainian, Romani, and Yiddish and Hebrew. Roughly 78% of Croats can speak one of the above languages as their second language. Half the population can communicate in English while 34% can do so in German. Italian is spoken by 14% of the population while French and Russian are spoken by 4%. A majority of Slovenes (59%) can use Croatian.

A majority of Croats use standard Croatian known as Štokavian, but there are two other dialects in the country. Čakavian is used in the Lika region and on several islands while the Kajkavian is popular in the northern parts of the country. The dialects differ in the pronunciation of the initial consonant in the word "for what" but much of the language is similar. Some common words in Croatian include: Goodbye "Doviđenja," Please "Molim," Thank you “Hvala," Excuse me “Oprostite," and Hello (Zdravko).

There are several minority languages used in Croatia. The Italian language has been adopted by many Croatians, and a daily newspaper La Voce del Popolo is printed in the language. Hungarian is popular in the town of Beli Manastir, and the town’s library even has a section specifically for Hungarian books. The Czech language is common among the Czechs, a majority of whom live in the Bjelovar-Bilogora County. By 2011 more than ten elementary schools taught the Slovak language to the Slovak minority. The Central Library of Slovaks in Croatia established a Slovak section in 1998. Other minority languages include English, German, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Hebrew.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018