Croatian is a Slavic language spoken by around 7 million people. It is the official language of Croatia and one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also is an official regional language in the province of Burgenland in Austria. It has three main dialects: Chakavian, spoken primarily on the islands, along the Croatian coast and in the Lika region, Kajkavian, spoken in northern and northwestern Croatia, and Štokavian, spoken in the rest of Croatia. This phrasebook gives an overview of useful phrases in Standard Croatian.
Croatian belongs to the "synthetic" language group, which means that unlike English and other "analytical" languages, different grammatical aspects are expressed in one word by changing the structure of that word—adding an ending or prefix, modifying the core of the word, etc. In analytical languages such as English, the same is achieved by using separate auxiliary verbs, pronouns or adjectives while the actual word remains unchanged. In Croatian, one word is often sufficient to express what English can achieve only by using multiple words.
Croatian uses the Latin alphabet. The spelling of Croatian is largely phonetic so most words are written exactly as they are pronounced. However, there are quite a few exceptions. Those words that are written in capitals signify the stress of the word.
Unfortunately, neither stresses (which can fall at any syllable) nor vowel lengths are marked in the written language, but the stress is more predictable than in Russian or Bulgarian, where it is almost obligatory to put an accent on the stressed syllable. Unlike Bulgarian, Russian and other East Slavic languages, however, wrongly pronounced vowel length will seldom cause misunderstanding. In practice, the second-last or third-last syllable is almost always stressed.
Sometimes Croatians informally refer to the month as the first, second, third, etc, rather than its actual name.
In the clock time, hours and minutes are separated by a '.' instead of ':', but the latter is also occasionally used. Another usual way is to write the minutes raised like an exponent.
The date is always written in the order: day, month, year, e.g.:
In America the date 11-18-2005 in Croatian is 18.11.2005..
There is always a dot after the year because in Croatian a year is an ordinal number, and ordinal numbers are always followed by a dot to distinguish them from cardinal numbers.
18th of November 2005 is in Croatian 18. studenog 2005..
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