Introduction

Recommendation.

At this moment, I recommend that you check my other blog, Easy Croatian first. It's simpler, has sound clips, deals with pronunciation from the start, etc., and use this blog as supplemental information only.

This is my Croatian language blog. I have been trying to put together a language blog for some time. I have collected some materials, and I'll be posting some Croatian lessons here.

I think there's not enough information on the Internet about the Croatian language basics. A good thing about blogs is that I'm able to edit them easily, people are able to post questions and comments, etc.

Some explanations and descriptions I will use are different from ones found in the textbooks. I had two goals:

  • simplify things wherever possible
  • attempt to create a more logical descriptions — hence easier to memorize.

Beware, Croatian is not a simple language. It's complicated even with my simplifications.

Aim

I will concentrate mostly on spoken, everyday language. If you take a look at an average Croatian language book, or read about Croatian grammar on Wikipedia, there are actually many things that almost nobody uses nowadays. Some features are used only on TV and in some books. My aim is to give important things first, and such fine points will be 'for those who want to learn more'.

I will also consider various dialects: most people actually everyday speak a somewhat different (some would say — quite different) language from the Standard Croatian!

Similar languages

If you would really like to learn e.g. Serbian or Bosnian, it's useful to learn Croatian first and specifics of similar languages can be learned later. Grammatical specifics of Serbian are mentioned whenever they occur, Cyrillic script can be learned later, and Bosnian is basically Croatian with some changes in vocabulary and optional changes in spelling. All four languages (including Montenegrin) are extremely similar, and some consider them variants of a single language.

Main vocabulary and spelling specifics of similar languages are covered in 80 Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin.

About this work

I'm not a professional linguist or teacher of Croatian. This work is not finished but nevertheless I hope you will find it useful. All suggestions are welcome. I'm not likely to expand this blog with more entries, I will rather work to expand already written posts.

Updated 2014-11-11

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel!

I'm so happy to be able to put a comment. This website is a really great one. We can learn bases, as well as very detailed points.

And now, no excuse, I just have to work ;)

Chrystel

Anonymous said...

hola Daniel ! Hey, nice page. I' would like to learn this language. Greetings!

moritz said...

vielen vielen Dank für Ihre blog

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the course. It would be great if you put the list 1000 or 2000 or 5000 most used Croatian words somewhere here.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Very useful site and the pictures are very artistic!
concerning the language, could you add as an example some nice Croatian song links with the text of the song when you have some time so as to learn and practice (for memorization)! Thanks! zhammer!

Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel,

I thought about pop music. Do you have one with nice tune and text which are favoured by youth?!

zhammer!

Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for the quick response!
The best of those songs is the last one (BFVOFGoGPmM. It would be famous on an international festival as well. But when I found Cetinski's song I would choose the following if it is not a problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ9A42nayyg

One song will be enough and the rest will be home work for us :)

zhammer!

Anonymous said...

This is my Croatian language blog. I HAVE BEEN trying to put TOGETHER a language blog for some time.

Anonymous said...

Could you please tell me what "tako te volim" means? Or "tako te volin" in Dalmatia.

Hvala

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for your excellent blog. I am an American of Croatian heritage interested in learning the language after visiting your beautiful country last summer. I will be returning again this summer and hopefully for many years to come!

I would be most happy to help check and correct your English. Please let me know how you would like me to do this. (I couldn't find a way to email you directly.)

Hvala from your Croatian-American student. I look forward to helping with your project.

Gloria said...

Thnks you very much for you blog! I started to learn Croatian three weeks ago and I have to say that I fell in love with the language! Your course is very useful, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

Regards!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Daniel!!
I've been looking for any helpful sources for me to learn Croatian. Very good yours!
I'm Brazilian, but I'm graduated in English, I have Spanish as my second language, I've studied Latin for 1 year, I've studied German for 1 year as well, and I've been studying Italian for 3 years.
Good there are still people who care about sharing some knowledge with others! Keep like that!

Greetings from Brazil.

Daniele Jackson.

Engu said...

Hello!!!

Thanks a lot for your blog! For long time I wanted to learn Croatian. I think this site would be very helpful to me. I'm from Lithuania. I've studied German for 9 years, English 7, Russian 6. Also in university I had Latin and Polish.
Thanks a lot for your great job there!

Ugne

Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel,

Am having trouble trying to download and print the PDF files it says that the site has to many redirect loops. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards
Johnny

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Daniel,

I had previously used Firefox then have been using Google Chrome of late and had no issues the first time when I printed the files but am now having troubles trying to re-print next chapters. If you could send me the PDF files via email I would appreciate that.

Mnogo hvala.

Sally Virgin said...

Thank you for this wonderful blog! It will really come in handy. I am of Croatian ancestry. Last summer I visited Croatia and fell in love with the country and people. I also met my family for the first time. I want to become more familiar with the language for my trip Summer 2012.

Dayna said...

Daniel, thanks SO very much for this blog. I recently moved to Croatia to spend several months, and I am already learning quite a bit! Hvala lijepa. :) -Dayna

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between:

Mir Bozji and Mir Boziji?

Is one a Serbian and one a Croatian dialect?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daniel,
I have studied Croatian for 2 years because I will be working there as from the autumn. I have a lot of course books and material, but your blog surpasses everything !! Thank you.
Anders

pencilnpaper said...

Thank you for such a useful Croatian language site. I have a question / request, please. Would you ever consider posting a blog entry about how to give a dog commands in Croatian? The reason that I ask is that I have trained my dog with the commands: sjedi, dodji, setaj, itd. I'm just wondering what are the "real" commands in Croatian (Zagreb)- what people really say. I've asked my cousins and friends there. The idea of me talking to my dog in Croatian on the street in the US seems to make them laugh really hard. I'm glad to provide a point of humor, yet I still don't have an answer about this language and culture question. Thank you and best wishes.

Daniel N. said...

Unfortunately, I'm not really sure, I don't have a dog. Our cats obey no orders... However, "dođi", "lezi" and "sjedi" are definitely REAL dog commands in Croatian that people here use.

Maybe you could post such a question here (requires registration): http://www.forum.hr/showthread.php?t=317691

Anonymous said...

A wonderful blog! I am wondering whether you might eventually add some specifics about the Dubrovnik dialect? And thank you for posting differences between "standard" and "colloquial" Croatian - most resources where I live teach only the standard, yet most Croatians I have met speak quite differently.

Daniel N. said...

Thanks. I will add such information. Dubrovnik dialect is a part of ije-štokavian, actually very close to the Standard Croatian, however there are some specifics, mostly special words. My grandmother was born in Dubrovnik, so I have some knowledge first hand, and I know some scholarly works about Dubrovnik dialect as well. I will add it this week, expect it here: http://basic-croatian.blogspot.com/2010/06/76.html

lijep pozdrav, Daniel

Anonymous said...

Good. Thank you very much for considering the addition of this information on the Dubrovnik dialect. I look forward to it. You mentioned these scholarly works on the dialect - I am very curious about them. Where might one access them? Thanks for your response! :)

Steven

Daniel N. said...

You can Google for govor Dubrovnik site:hrcak.srce.hr - it will search the Hrčak collection of papers, it contains most Croatian journals. However they are in Croatian mostly :)

br Daniel

Anonymous said...

This is a great resource for those of us who want to go further than those books that seem to be stuck way back in Tito's time ("da vas upoznam", "imate razglednice" etc. as if someone could fail to see if a shop was selling postcards - maybe in the 1950s they kept postcards under the counter haha). Some stuff is a bit technical on the linguistic side but I'll comment more as I go through, thanks so much for the blog!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering whether you have had time to consider adding the info on the specifics for the Dubrovnik dialect. When can we expect this? And would you say the Dubrovnik vocabulary is more similar to standard Croatian or Serbian?

Daniel N. said...

I've added information here: http://basic-croatian.blogspot.com/2010/06/76.html

As for the vocabulary, it's a difficult question, some forms are definitely closer to Standard Croatian, but there are a lot of specific things. Probably the closest thing would be Standard Montenegrin :)

Lucretius said...

This is a really excellent site. I began learning Croatian from the old Teach Yourself Serbocroat book, and then a 'Yugoslav' phrasebook. Obviously, not the best materials, but even so, I have been immensely impressed by the clarity, concision and comprehensiveness of these pages. I shall definitely buy you a beer next time I am in Zagreb.

Daniel N. said...

Thanks, Lucretius. A tea will suffice :) I would really like to get some critique, not just accolades. For instance, I recently wrote something in #37 Talking, Eating, Drinking, making a difference between "talk to" = govorim and "talk with" = razgovaram. However, I'm not sure if that's really true. When I'm trying to be precise I realize that I'm really NOT sure about such fine points of English.

Everything written here can be applied to Serbian as well. I'm aware of the differences, but I'm not so sure about some fine points of the contemporary Serbian Standard.

All critique, esp. pointing out unclear passages will be greatly appreciated.

thanks br Daniel

pixy said...

Hi Daniel,
I can't find how to email you. I have a question for a project I'm doing on body language.
Thanks!

Daniel N. said...

Hi, download the PDF (link is on the right) and you will immediately see my address.

br Daniel

Marin said...

Oops, the YouTube video at the top if the page doesn't exist!
Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Daniel N. said...

Removed it.

Anabonana said...

Hi there Daniel,

I wanted to thank you for your blog. It is fantastic and for YEARS I have wanted to know these little details that are a big help when you are in Croatia or Hercegovina. I am Croatian American and live half the year in Croatia and the other half in California. Thanks very much again and I'm glad I found your site.

Ana

Daniel N. said...

Nema na čemu! Please feel free to ask anything and point to anything that's not clear. lp Daniel

Anonymous said...

Ovo ti je jako dobra ideja za one koji hoću naučiti Hrvatski.
Bravo, samo tako nastavi.

Daniel N. said...

Mala ispravka: za ONE koji HOĆE... :)

Hvala! lp Daniel

Jack Meren said...

Hi Daniel, First of all thank you very much for putting all this material together for us. It helps us a lot to learn Croatian. I am learning this language from an online site name lingolearn. It is really a very nice site but some tips I found from your blog. Thanks once again for such great information.

Daniel N. said...

You are welcome. Please ask/report anything that you don't understand. Happy learning!

Anonymous said...

Finally some useful information regarding Croatian! Thanks Daniel :)

Regards
Roar

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy that I found a web site to learn my favorite (slavic) language (among of other languages). I have started learning Croatian just one month ago, but for me was not easy because I should learn only. However now I have a web site which can help me to do it.
Puno hvala


Kastriot

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Europe! Congratulations to your beautiful, wonderful country! God bless Croatia! :-D

rafafafa said...

Hey thank you very much, my girlfriend is croatian and I have been trying to get info on the internet of croatian language, I have some books but as you wrote, a lot of really complicated things are not used on everyday situation and are not really worth it to learn, hahaha any way thank you so much for this blog!

Anonymous said...

Hello!

How happy I am seeing that I have this tool to learn Croatian. I'm Spanish but my father was Croatian but I don't speak the language. I've decided to start learning Croatian this month. Do you have a special advice to give me? I thank you very much anyway for this great "present" you're giving all of us.
Kind regards,
Stipe

Daniel N. said...

Listen to as much music as possible to get words and how they are pronounced. Get a Croatian/Spanish/Croatian dictionary and try to get in touch with someone who speaks Croatian in your vicinity.

good luck
Daniel

E said...

Hi Daniel,

You've said in other posts to offer any suggestions. Overall, I think the blog itself is great. The only suggestion I have is if you come across any basic worksheets and answer keys, if you could please put them up. I've found a few here and there, but these are no doubt difficult to find outside of Croatia. Maybe if you know a teacher who is willing to pass along a few worksheets? I think the blog does a great job explaining and simplifying the concepts as much as possible. The last step, at least for me, is to try and find exercises to test my use of the concepts.

It's just a suggestion I thought I'd mention in case you knew someone who might have some worksheets/tests. Thanks for everything!

Grgo said...

Tako te volim --> I love you so much.
tako = so/ so much
te = short of "tebe", which is direct object of "ti" (you)
volim = I love (1st person singular, present tense)

Tako te volin --> voliN is part of dialect's speech/grammar. in Dalmatia they tend to change some letters and sounds, like m->n

Anonymous said...

Estimado amigo Daniel:
Muchísimas gracias por su invalorable aporte sobre gramática croata y además su gran gesto de desprendimiento al haberlo puesto desinteresadamente a disposición de todos los que queramos accederlo. Su generosidad, además de enriquecernos en el conocimiento, nos emociona.
Seguramente usted encontrará la forma de traducir este comentario, que ex profeso no lo hago en inglés, pues amén de lo que dije, quisiera sugerir la posibilidad de ampliar los alcances de su gran obra, al idioma español y, por qué no tal vez, hacer algo más. Haberme expresado en español servirá para que quienes me lean y no dominen el inglés, se enteren ya que hay mucha gente que habla solo este idioma.
La cantidad de hispanohablantes es muy importante. La diáspora croata, entre otros lugares del mundo, ha escogido en su momento, entre otros, algún país latinoamericano como éste el mío. Diferentes razones hicieron que el idioma croata no continuara en el conocimiento de sus hijos, pero en muchos anida el deseo de aprenderlo y junto con ello acceder a la posibilidad de comunicarnos con nuevos amigos, gente con quien intercambiar conocimientos y/o, porque son nuestros familiares y no existe otra forma de hacerlo. Otras personas tendrán otra razón por la que se hayan interesado en el idioma croata.
El inglés es un lenguaje muy importante pues nos sirve como nexo, a quienes lo tenemos como segundo idioma y aunque no lo dominemos totalmente, para acceder a muchos conocimientos que en su defecto nos sería imposible.
Si usted me permite, quiero sugerirle un par de cosas:
1) Se analice la posibilidad de traducir al español su excelente explicación. Hay sitios, al menos conozco uno, que ofrece voluntarios para hacerlo entre diferentes idiomas, estableciendo límites de cantidad de texto. También se podrán agregar voluntarios que al enterarse decidan colaborar y así, cada uno un poco, volcar su conocimiento aquí aludido, a un espectro mayor de gente. Esta tarea podría ser objeto de revisión para evitar imperfecciones de traducción.
2) La segunda, es abrir la posibilidad de discutir la forma de estructurar un curso con diferentes niveles de conocimiento, que aunque no pretenda el logro de la excelencia lingüística, sí permita dar la posibilidad de aprender a expresarse en croata (que a la vez podría ser viceversa, -se podría partir desde tres idiomas: croata, inglés y español-) y apuntar a una forma de comunicación algo más que básica a la cual cada uno que haya llegado a ese punto pueda superarlo en la forma que le convenga.
Pero establecer una meta de dominio del lenguaje que permita la comunicación, entendiendo esta palabra en su mayor amplitud. Tal vez no centrándose excesivamente en aspectos de rigor gramatical. Un segundo idioma, salvo en contados casos será dominado totalmente, pues siempre se le notará a quien lo practique algo que denotará ser extranjero. Para este propósito, prever la interrelación entre los estudiantes sería muy importante, pues a la vez de ayudarse mutuamente, permitiría la vinculación entre los mismos, revitalizaría lazos, haría el aprendizaje más ameno, etc.

Considero importante que el estudiante logre expresarse y entender lo que se le dice. No obstante, paralelamente, podrá aprovechar al máximo su compendio de ayuda gramatical que le permitirá al interesado ir puliendo su lenguaje acorde con sus propias exigencias e inquietudes.
Una convocatoria de voluntarios y su coordinación, podría contribuir en gran medida al logro del fin requerido.
Estimado Daniel, permítame repetirlo, ambos puntos no son más que una sugerencia y como tal se toma o se deja si ésta escapara a los lineamientos que usted previó. No obstante, ya lo que usted ha hecho ha sido una aportación enorme y así valoro su esfuerzo, su conocimiento y claridad con que supo expresarse. Admiro no solo eso sino la forma de estructuración y que lo haya hecho ameno para su lectura entre otras cosas.
Antes agradecido por su contribución, ahora debo sumar también mi gratitud por haberme leído.
Con mi mayor afecto, un gran abrazo desde Argentina, Juan.

Anonymous said...

yes this blog looks amazing! i hve been struggling with the unusual forms of verbs for ages but this is helping - but yes i too would love to see a list of the 1000 2000 etc words in croatian

rosemary šegedin, nz (djed iz Korcule)

Daniel N. said...

Well I will start building it, either on a separate blog or at a separate page. Eventually we'll have it, for functional words (e.g. a preposition) with link to the blog page where it's use is explained. lijep pozdrav...

Daniel N. said...

What do you think about something like this?

Anonymous said...

WOW ovaj blog je tako genijal ne znam kako da te zahvalim. mislim da mozda nije najbolji nacin za pocetnike, zato sto bas kompleksno i ne fali detalji. ali to nije losa stvar, meni je super posto ucim hrvatski malo duze sad (a najvise kroz pricati). mislim da moras vjezbati basics sam a ovdje imas sve gramatiku i objasnjenje, ekstra su. pa ne znam da li sam ovo dobro napisala a nema veze. kad budem procitala taj blog BICUU SUPER :D HVALA PUNO

Daniel N. said...

OK, hvala. Evo par ispravki :)

WOW ovaj blog je tako genijalan ne znam kako da ti zahvalim. mislim da mozda nije najbolji nacin za pocetnike, zato sto je bas kompleksno i ne fali detalji. ali to nije losa stvar, meni je super posto ucim hrvatski malo duze sad (a najvise kroz razgovor). mislim da moras vjezbati basics sam a ovdje imas sve gramatiku i objasnjenje, ekstra su. pa ne znam da li sam ovo dobro napisala ali nema veze. kad budem procitala ovaj blog BIT CUU SUPER :D HVALA PUNO

Samo naprijed...

Daniel N. said...

Can you point out at some difficult parts, what do you consider "too complex" for a "beginner"? thanks Daniel

Anonymous said...

You need a section on wooing Croatian women. That's the kind of help I need!

Anonymous said...

I just married a "Croatian guy from Bosnia"--his words--and I want to at least attempt to learn some of his tongue. I needed some basic instruction...thanks.

Daniel N. said...

Congratulations, you should read first 12 "chapters" and that should give you some very basic understanding or language, at least the most common verbs and nouns, however for anything more (for instance, if you want to say "come here") you should read all.

Bear in mind that this is just a supplement made by an amateure and not a professional course. There are basic courses available on the market, with CD's, books, etc.

Feel free to ask anything. br, Daniel

Iva said...

Hej, hej! Ne mogu nigdje na blogu naći tvoju e-mail adresu, a željela sam ti nešto predložiti (uuuu, tajanstveno! :-D)
Javi mi se, molim te, na info@skolica.de kad stigneš... Puno hvala! Iva

Daniel N. said...

Adresa je u PDF-u :D

Marcin said...

Do you have any special advice for speakers of other Slavic languages who want to learn Croatian? My native language is Polish and I already understand some Croatian (better written than spoken though).

Daniel N. said...

I would advice learning the main differences, that is, basic words that are different first.

Unfortunately, Polish has such a weird pronunciation (that is, from my Croatian point of view :) that I cannot understand spoken Polish as well (much, much less than spoken Russian).

Grammar differences are not so big, but many function words have different meaning, for instance jak.

You could take a book or comic in Croatian, try to understand it, have a dictionary with you and write down all really different words you find...

Listen to Croatian songs (or Bosnian, etc.) to get sounds and accent.

Good luck... sretno

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I'm moving to Croatia to study next September and I only know how to say good night and cat. So 1 thousand times thank you for this blog

Daniel N. said...

Please, better check my other blog, Easy Croatian, as some things are explained there in a simpler way, and you can hear sound clips of a native speaker (my wife, that is).

Lijep pozdrav, Daniel

Anonymous said...

Hvala puno Daniel!

Thanks so much for all the work you are sharing on your website.

I am trying to learn Croatian and "Easy Croatian" helps me a lot.
It is concise and clear enough for me and full examples which means plenty of vocabulary.

I like it so much... I am feeling more confident day after day in my learning process (I was using a language method that was focusing too much on grammar and declensions since lesson n° 7!) and hope that I will be able to handle some tiny chats with locals when back to Croatia in one month.

E. (Paris, France)

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