Electrical engineering and computer science student at TU Wien, writting my master thesis.
If you’ve searched and found this article, the chances are that you are already thinking about learning Croatian, or you may have already started.
In that case, you must have a few reasons of your own as to why you decided to pick up this beautiful, yet complex language.
There are many reasons why you might want to make Croatian next on your language-learning list:
you love traveling and can’t wait to explore Croatia and mingle with the locals
you have a Croatian background and want to learn your language of heritage
you are planning to move to Croatia
your partner is Croatian and you want to be able to communicate in their native language
there is a large Croatian-speaking community in your area that you want to connect with
you love a good language learning challenge and Croatian seems a good place to start
Whichever your reason for learning Croatian, make sure it’s a strong one to keep you motivated and persistent. Here are a couple of reasons that might help you get and stay excited:
Croatia has a rich culture and history
If you love history and exploring new cultures, the best way to immerse yourself in that culture is by learning the language and meeting the locals.
Sitting on the border between the Balkan peninsula and Western Europe, Croatia’s history books have been marked with numerous wars, epic battles, courageous warriors, old kings, political turmoil, and fights for the independence of both country and language.
Historical evidence tells us that Croats arrived in the Balkans in the early 7th century! Initially, they were nomadic people living in small villages but very soon they became a recognized kingdom.
The first king of Croatia, King Tomislav, was crowned in 925 AD. That’s half a century before America was even discovered… Imagine the richness of history!
Croats are extremely proud of their heritage and are very patriotic. They would love to share their rich history with you. Croats also love everyone attempting to speak to them in their own language.
So, if for instance, you speak Croatian and then mention the Croatian football team’s success in the 2018 World Cup, you’ll be extremely popular!
Croats have managed to preserve their historical cities that speak of the life people once lived. It’s no wonder Croatia is called – The Mediterranean as it once was.
Croatian is a great place to start if you are interested in Slavic languages
Once you are able to speak Croatian, it will be very simple for you to pick up some of the other Slavic languages.
In fact, although they are distinct and different languages, you will have no problem understanding Serbian, Bosnian or Montenegrin. Even though they have their differences, learning one of these languages will automatically propel you into understanding the rest.
If you were to ask locals how many languages they speak, they will jokingly tell you that they speak several – alluding to the aforementioned languages.
These Slavic languages are all different and distinct, but also very similar to each other. If you can speak one, you could understand the other three and communicate without much difficulty.
In fact, if you were to place a Croat, Serb, Bosnian and Montenegrian in a room and each spoke their own language, they would have absolutely no difficulty in understanding each other. You can read more about the differences and similarities of these languages here.
Now, how about that? Basically becoming multilingual by learning a single language? Not a bad deal!
Also, in comparison to these other languages, Croatian uses a Latin script. Serbian uses Cyrillic, similar to that of Russian, with some differences, and Bosnian uses both scripts. For an English speaker, it would be easiest to begin with Croatian so you wouldn’t have to learn another alphabet.
Croatian is also a great base to learn other Slavic languages (Slovenian or Bulgarian, for example) since these languages share similar vocabulary and grammar structures.
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