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Croatian Tidbit: January, February, March…6, 7, 8, 9…

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It might be September where you are, but in Split it is the ‘ninth’ month…

Legendary Croatian author Miljenko Smoje (1923 – 1995), the late journalsit and chronicler of everyday life in Split and the author of cult TV series ‘Naše malo misto’ and ‘Velo Misto’, explains an interesting little tidbit about the Dalmatian dialect in the naming the months of the year in his beautiful book ‘The Diary of a Retired Person’ (Dnevnik jednog penzionera, 1981.).

While rest of the world uses standardized nomenclature (January to December, or in Croatian siječanj to prosinac), as with most things, the people of Split have their own way of doing things, so they say: January, February, March, April, The Month of May, and then switch to giving the rest of the year numbers instead of names; sixth month, seventh month, eighth month… all up to the 12th month.

Or in Smoje’s words: “Mi Splićani smišno brojimo misece. Ovako, sičanj, vejača, marač, travanj, svibanj i maj misec (ali uvik Prvi maja), onda za ne falit do kraja godine nižemo: šesti, sedmi, osmi misec i tako sve do dvanajestoga”. (We from Split count the months in a funny way. Like this; January, February, March, April, and May (always 1st of May), then for the rest of the year; 6th, 7th, 8th month – right through to 12th).

In the diary, Smoje is describing his life as a freshly retired person, at a same time giving a vivid portrait of life, people and customs in 1979/1980 Split.

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