Croatian: The language with 30 letters

Croatian is a South Slavic language with around 7 million native speakers in Croatia, neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a large diaspora. The first inscription in Croatian dates from the 11th century, and it was standardized to modern Croatian in the 19th century. It shares similarities with Serbian, and, although historically linked, both are now considered different languages.

HappyBeavers earth

3 interesting facts about the Croatian language


Croatian contains letter constructions such as dž, lj, and nj that are pronounced and treated as single letters.


Unlike the English language, which only consists of 26 letters, the Croatian language has 30 letters.


Bartol Kašić wrote and published the first Croatian Grammar in 1604 which was written in Latin.

Origin of the language

In the 7th century, the Croats migrated with other South Slavic tribes. Over time, they developed a separate and unique language similar to Proto-Slavic and Old Church Slavonic languages. The language was also influenced by neighboring countries and occupying powers such as the Ottomans, Venetians, Hapsburgs, and Hungarians.

History of the language

Croatian lords used the Latin language and letters in early scripts, and Croats were first mentioned in the 9th century. After the Byzantine theologians, Saint Cyril and Methodius, spread Christianity, they also developed the first alphabet. Croatia adopted the Glagoljica alphabet and created a localized version.

The Baska tablet of the 11th century is the first noted Croatian inscription. In the 14th century, Croatians adopted Latin letters, and the first written Croatian document in Latin was a poem called “The Sibenik prayer.” In the 19th century, the Ilirski movement was a national campaign that chose the Štokavian dialect as the standard, keeping Kajkavian and Čakavian as local dialects. Many linguists created grammar books and dictionaries, leading to the modern standardized Croatian language.

Learning the language

It is estimated that an English speaker can learn Croatian in 1100 hours.

How to say ten common words and phrases in the Croatian language

Here are a few common words and phrases in the Croatian language that you can learn quickly.

Croatian language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Croatian:

Hello = Zdravo

I love you = Volim te

Good morning = Dobro jutro

Thank You = Hvala

How are you = Kako si

Congratulations = Čestitke

Bye = Doviđenja

Good night = Laku noć

Happy Birthday = Sretan rođendan

Family = Obitelj

lang orbit original

Of all things, I liked books best.

Nikola Tesla

Inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer

Yet we are all just ordinary people, and the only thing that matters is whether someone is good or not.

Miro Gavran

Short story writer and author

Listen: I always return to myself.

Vesna Parun


Fun facts about the Croatian language

Three major dialects

Croatian has three major dialects—Kajkavian, Štokavian, and Čakavian—which also have their minor dialects.

No silent letters

Croatian does not have any silent letters or letter combinations, making learning and reading it easier.

Numerous tenses

The Croatian language mainly consists of four past tenses, one present tense, and two future tenses.


Aside from unique letters, the Croatian national language has many different case endings. For example, one ending has seven cases.

Croatian is most similar to the Serbian and Bosnian languages. Some linguists consider it a Serbo-Croatian language, but they are distinctly different languages that share a considerable amount of lexis and grammar although Serbian uses the Cyrillic alphabet.

Croatian is one of the most complex languages for native English speakers to learn. On average, English speakers will need a whole academic year, roughly more than 1,100 hours to master the language.

All nouns in Croatian are masculine, feminine, or neuter. Thus for animate objects, if a person or an animal is male, its grammatical gender will be masculine, and the same applies to females.

Recommended Languages