When did the Croatian language begin? Was it during the Bronze Age, as the future fruit of the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages tree?
Or was the Croatian language really born after the breakup of Yugoslavia?
The answer, tantalizingly, is both.
Croatian is a standardized form of Serbo-Croatian. It comes from the Eastern-Herzegovinian dialect, called Shtokavian (a/k/a Štokavian or Stokavian). It’s the most-used dialect of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language.
The Croatian language, known as hrvatski, is tied to the Croat ethnic group, who hail from the South Slavic countries. Croatian is one of the official languages of the European Union, with about five to seven million speakers worldwide.
Croatian is the official language of:
● Vojvodina, an autonomous province in northern Serbia
● Bosnia and Herzegovina
● Burgenland, a sparsely populated state in Austria
Thanks to the second wave of the Croatian Diaspora, Croatian has minority language status in the following places:
● Baranya County in Hungary
● Czech Republic
● Caraş-Severin County in Romania
In addition to several countries and territories in Eastern Europe, it’s also spoken in South America, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Australia. This is not too surprising since there are about as many Croatians living outside of their homeland as there are within its borders.