The Croatian language shares a difficult past closely intertwined with the Bosnian and Serbian languages. Despite the many similarities shared between Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian, Croatian-language speakers have made a point of defining a unique Croatian language since the fall of the former Yugoslav Republic.
Facts About Croatia And The Croatian Language
- Croatian contains many words of Latin and German origin but many new Croatian words are created by combining and adapting existing ones.
- Croatian is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin.
- The oldest communal theatre in Europe was built in Hvar in the year 1612.
- Although it has a population of only 23 people, Hum in Istria, Croatia is officially a town and the Guinness World Record holder for the smallest town in the world.
- Croatians have their own alphabet or set of letters. It is called “Glagolitic” and emerged in the 9th century and was in daily use, along with the Latin alphabet, up to the 18th century.
- The White House was built of Croatian stone, from the island of Brač.
- The famous Dalmatian dogs originally came from Croatia. The breed takes its name from Croatia’s region of Dalmatia, where it is supposed to have originated.
- Croatia is the homeland of the world renowned traveller Marco Polo. 13th century explorer is known as one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China and visit the Mongol Empire. The journey took 24 years, he passed some 25,000 km – became a confidant of Kublai Khan.
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Early History of the Croatian Language
The Croatian language is classified as part of the western group of the South Slavic language subfamily. The South Slavic subfamily is part of the Common Slavic language, the parent language of all Slavic languages which is part of the Indo-European family of languages.
In the 6th century AD, the Slav people migrated from Old Poland and settled throughout Eastern Europe. From this resettling process, three primary Slavic language groups emerged: Eastern, Western, and Southern. Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian originated from the South Slavic group.