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3 minute read by Sail Croatia
Posted on 25 March 2021

What Language is Spoken in Croatia

Croatia’s long standing history has definitely seen some changes throughout the years – the Croatian language that you hear today is the result of over 9 centuries worth of literature! Below we’ve answered all of the commonly asked questions on what language is spoken in Croatia!

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What Language is Spoken in Croatia?

If you were to fancy a guess as to what the official language of Croatia was and said Croatian you’d be right – 95% of the country are native speakers! Standard Croatian is the official language of Croatia followed closely by Standard Bosnian and Standard Serbian.

History of Croatian Language

There was a time when Croatian wasn’t around. Latin was spoken until the Slavic dialect was brought over by the arrival of Slavs during the 6th and 7th century. Today, the Croatian language spoken in the country is known as Hrvatski to the locals which includes 3 dialects; Shtokavian, Kajkavian and Chakavian.

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If you’re travelling throughout the Balkans, you’ll find that the language, for the most part, is very similar. This is due to the Central South Slavic dialect system, also known as Serbo-Croatian, which was used by former Yugoslavia, and combined both Serbian and Bosnian as well. Today, each country identifies their own language as their country’s official language and one of the most indicative differences is that Croatian is written in the Roman alphabet and Serbian is written in Cyrillic.

Minority Languages in Croatia

There are frequent foreign languages spoken in Croatia that make up the minority in the country. These include Serbian, English, Czech, Italian, German, Hungarian, Slovak, and Romani. Despite being minorities, both Italian and German are among the most popular with the highest none other than English.

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Do Croatian’s Speak English?

It’s more common than not that Croatians are multilingual. Learning a second language is very much run-of-the-mill with many picking up a second foreign language to learn. This has become so prominent that Croatia nears the top of the European Union’s list for knowing a second foreign language!

Location definitely plays a role in language abilities for locals. If you’re worried about the barrier, don’t fret! The capital Zagreb and along the coast, which sees most of Croatia’s tourism, are naturally catered to English speakers.

How to Learn Croatian

Learning some basic Croatian words and phrases before travelling will definitely earn you some extra brownie points with the locals. Brush up on some sayings you can use the next time you visit with the help of our Basic Phrases guide here!

Our Top Tip: Croatian is pronounced how it’s read. Once you understand the sounds each accent makes, you’ll be able to read the word as is!