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Croatian Language Month: 15 facts you probably didn’t know

Celebrating Month of Croatian Language: 15 facts you probably didn’t know

Celebrating Croatian Language Month

ZAGREB, 20 February (Hina/CW) – The Month of the Croatian Language starts on Sunday, and the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics has called on all primary and secondary schools students to tune in to its virtual Croatian language classes, to last until March 17.

The Month of the Croatian Language is taking place between the day marking the International Mother Language Day, 21 February, declared by UNESCO in 1999, and 17 March, the day when the Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Standard Language was published in 1967.

“The Month of the Croatian Language has been marked in Croatia and everywhere else where Croatian is spoken for a number of years. One of the most important traits of the Croat national identity, the Croatian language has kept its identity and autonomy despite its less than favourable treatment, resisting all pressure, degrading and bans throughout its millennial history,” the Institute says.

It recalls that in 2013 Croatian became the 24th official language of the European Union, which was one of the reasons why the Institute launched the Month of the Croatian Language to continue protecting the Croatian linguistic and national identity in the European family of nations.

This year’s edition of the Month of the Croatian Language will be held online and will last until March 17.

It will include numerous lectures on digital platforms, whose schedule will be agreed with Croatian language teachers.

Below are 15 facts about the Croatian language you may not know.

1. One of the South Slavic languages, Croatian has been called differently throughout history, and one of the names was “Illyrian”.

2. The Croatian language was first mentioned in 1275 in the document “Istarski razvod”.

3. The word “encyclopedia” was first used in 1559 by Pavao Skalić from Zagreb.

4. In 1843 Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski was the first man to speak in Croatian before the Parliament. The speech daringly promoted the struggle for national liberation, asking for Croatian to become the official language in schools and offices, with its gradual introduction in the public life. He also pointed out the danger of replacing Croatian with other languages.

Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinsk (Photo: Suradnik13/CC BY-SA 3.0)

5. Croatian Parliament passed the decision to make Croatian the official language in 1847, replacing Latin.

6. Croatian has three major groups of dialects – Kajkavian, Štokavian and Čakavian – all of which are further divided into six or seven dialects. Kajkavian dialects mark many loan words from German and Hungarian, Štokavian dialects from Turkish and Italian (and in the North also German and Hungarian) and Čakavian from Italian.

7. The shortest Croatian words are just one letter – a (but, and) u (in), i (and), s (with, from), k (to).

8. The longest Croatian word (besides the written form of long numbers) is prijestolonasljednikovičičinima with 31 characters (30 letters since “lj” is one letter). Prijestolonasljednikovičičinima – translates in English to “of little heiress apparent to the throne” in plural dative case.

9. Croatian is one of the sources for the minimal language “toki pona”, created in Toronto and based on natural languages according to tao principles.

Celebrating Month of Croatian Language: 15 facts you probably didn’t know

Toki Pona pronunciation chart (Photo credit: Jan Nikita under CC license)

10. The word “paprika” was transferred into many European languages in its original form, not translated.

11. In Croatian people with blonde hair are described as having blue hair (plava).

12. One Croatian word with the highest number of synonyms is “a cob” (corn cob). Synonyms are; ajdamak, bat, batakljuša, bataljika, batučak, batuček, batuk, baturak, baturice, čepina, čokotinja, ćuka, kic, klas, klasina, klasinec, klasovina, klasovinje, kočanj, kocen, komaljika, komušina, kukuruzina, kumina, kureljica, kuruška, oklipak, okoma, okomak, okomina, okrunica, orušek, otučak, paćika, patura, paturica, rucelj, rucl, rulina, šapurika, ščavina, šepurina, štruk, tekun, tulina, tulinek to name a few!

13. Croatian is one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

14. The oldest Croatian dialect is believed to be spoken in Bednja in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region.

15. Croatians are one of the most creative when it comes to swear words in Europe, largely due to a rich dialect and an abundance of synonyms.

Check out some different words for the same thing in different parts of Croatia here.

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