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Croatian Language Month: Different words, same meanings

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

Celebrating Croatian Language Month

Croatian Language Month is currently going on at the moment and ends on 17 March. 

Croatian Language Month takes 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 Croatian Language 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 Croatian Language Month is being held online. It includes numerous lectures on digital platforms, whose schedule will be agreed with Croatian language teachers.

Croatian dialects: Different words, same meanings

Different parts of Croatia, like a lot countries, have their own dialect based on their history. 

Istria and Dalmatia were historically under the influence of Italy, so their dialect is full of Italian words, especially in household and food preparation. 

In the north, in Hrvatsko Zagorje, the German language had a big influence all the way to Zagreb and it’s “Purgerski” dictionary. Words used today in and around the capital like “šuster” (shoemaker) and “šnajder” (tailor), are taken from German.

In Slavonia, there are a lot of words of Turkish, such as “komšija” . neighbour, Hungarian and German origin. But every region has its own parts, such as Bednja in Hrvatsko Zagorje, where a completely different dialect is spoken – so sometimes you can’t even understand your neighbour. 

Below are some examples of different words with the same meaning in different parts of Croatia.

Money: “novac” in Zagreb, “penezi” in Hrvatsko Zagorje, “šoldi” in Dalmatia,“munita” or “šoldi” in Istria, “pare” or “jaspre” (derived from Turkish) in Slavonia

Wallet: “novčanik”, “gertašlin” in Zagreb, “tašlin” in Zagorje, “takujin” in Dalmatia, “portafojo” or “portamunida” in Istria

To hit: “udariti”, “žvajznuti”, “žvajznul bum” (I will hit) in Zagreb, “vudriti”, “vudril bum” in Zagorje, “bonbizat” or “mlatnit” in Dalmatia

Towel: “ručnik” in Zagreb, “šugaman” in Dalmatia (from Italian asciugamano) and “peškir” in Slavonia

Socks: “čarape” in, Zagreb, “štumfi” in Zagorje, “bičve” in Dalmatia and Istria, “štumfe” in Međimurje

croatian dialects

Čarape or bičve

Doctor: “liječnik” in Zagreb, “doktor”, “dotur” in Dalmatia, “medigo” in Istria

Donkey: “magarac” standard Croatian, “tovar” in Dalmatia and Istria

Blanket: “deka” in Zagreb, “punjava” in Istria, “gunj” in Zagorje

Sheet: “plahta” in Zagreb, “lancun” in Dalmatia

Pillow: “jastuk” in Zagreb, “vanjkuš” in Zagorje and Međimurje, “kušin” in Dalmatia and Istria

Belt: “remen”, “pojas” in Zagreb, “Kaiš” in Dalmatia

Store: “trgovina” in Zagreb, “štacun” in Zagorje, “komeštibil” in Dalmatia, “butiga” in Istria/Dalmatia, “zadruga” in Međimurje

Breakfast or brunch: “doručak” or “užina”,  “gablec” in Zagreb, “fruštuk” in Zagorje, “zajtrik” in Međimurje, “marenda” in Dalmatia, “fruštik” or “marenda” in Istria

Bean: “grah”- “bažulj” in Hrvatsko Zagorje, “gra” in Slavonia, “fažol” in Dalmatia, “pažul” or “fazol” in Istria

Cucumber: “krastavac” in Zagreb  “vugurek” in Zagorje and Međimurje, “kukumar” in Dalmatia, “kugumar” in Istria, “krastavac” in Slavonia

Umbrella: “kišobran” in Zagreb, “ambrijela” in Zagorje, “lumbrela” in Dalmatia, “lumbrija” in Istria

bok greeting in croatia

Kišobran or lumbrela  (Photo: J Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

To sing: “pjevati” in Zagreb  “popievati” in Zagorje, “kantat” or “pivat” in Dalmatia, “pojati” or “kantati” in Istria

To talk: “razgovarati”, “pripovedati” in Zagreb and Zagorje, “čakulat” in Dalmatia, “divaniti” in Slavonia

Friend: “prijatelj”, “frend” or “pajdaš” in Zagreb, “pajdaš” in Zagorje, “kumpanjo” or “prika”  in Dalmatia, “kumpanjon” or “amiko” in Istria

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