Croatian - interesting facts


Croatian, part of the Slavic language family, is important among other European languages. As one of the three standards of the Serbo-Croatian language, Croatian has several unique features and curiosities that may interest people who speak Polish. Contemporary Croatian is the official language of the Republic of Croatia and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. It is used by about 5.5 million people worldwide, mainly in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro, and among Croatian diasporas in other countries. This language has a lot in common with the Polish language, but it also has its own unique features that can be fascinating for Polish-speaking Croatian learners. 

Croatian is the mother tongue of about 6 million people (about 0.1% of the world's population) and ranks outside the top 100 most spoken languages in the world regarding the number of native speakers.

HRvatski is the official language in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vojvodina (as one of the official languages) – an autonomous district in northern Serbia. It is recognized as the language of national minorities in Montenegro, Romania, Italy, Austria and Hungary.

Croatian belongs to the group of Slavic languages, specifically to the South Slavic subgroup. Its sources should be found in the Old Church Slavonic language, which at the end of the first millennium served as the language of the liturgy. Croatian as a separate language developed in the fifteenth century and took a form similar to the modern one in the nineteenth century. Originally Croatian was written in the Glagolitic alphabet, now the Latin alphabet. The institution regulating the norms of the Croatian language is the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics.

Croatian has many similarities with other countries of the former Yugoslavia, i.e. Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin (users of these four languages communicate with each other without major problems). The biggest discrepancies between Serbian and Croatian occur in the lexical layer (much smaller at the level of syntax and style). It is generally believed that there are fewer differences between the two languages than between the British and American versions of English. There are three basic dialects in Croatian: Sztokawski, Kajkawski and Chakawski.

Croatian, like Polish, is a language with a very extensive inflexion. As in Polish, nouns and adjectives change by seven cases and two numbers. There are also three grammatical types. There are seven times: the present, the future, the past, the imperfect, the past, and the aorist.

The nouns kuna and lipa have the same meaning in Polish and Croatian. Kuna is the name of the Croatian currency, referring to medieval times when in the territory of today's Croatia, kun leather served as a means of payment. 1 kuna is 100 lip.

Croatian has consonants which may be difficult to pronounce. A significant challenge may be the correct pronunciation of such words as stvrdnuti ("harden") or mortno ("mortal").

The longest word in Croatian is the 24-letter noun prijestolonasljednikovica. His Polish counterpart is the wife of the heir to the throne.

Croatian is one of the official languages of the EU.


request a tailored quotation

just fill in a quick form about your project

Alphabet and spelling

The Croatian language uses a Latin alphabet consisting of 30 letters, which differs from the Cyrillic alphabet used by some other Slavic languages. In the Croatian alphabet, three letters are not in the Polish alphabet: č ,Ć, dz and j. The orthography in Croatian is mainly phonemic, which means that each letter corresponds to one sound. Such a rule facilitates the learning of reading and writing for people learning this language.

Influence of neighbouring languages

Although Croatian belongs to the group of southern Slavic languages, it also has influences from other languages such as Italian, German and Hungarian. These influences are visible in both vocabulary and grammar. In Croatian, you can find many borrowings from neighbouring languages, which testify to this area's rich history and multiculturalism.

Past and Future Time

In Croatian, past tense is expressed by aorist and imperfect, which are used depending on the context. The future tense is created by constructing with the auxiliary verb "htjeti" (want) and the infinitive of the main verb. The time system of the Croatian language differs from that of the Polish, which may be of interest to those learning the language.


In Croatian, the syntax is relatively flexible, and the order of words in a sentence can be changed to express the speaker's pressure or intention. The similarity to Polish lies in the fact that both languages are inflexible, which means that words change their shape to express different grammatical meanings.

Literary language and dialects

Croatian is distinguished by its standard literary language and various regional dialects. The standard language is based on the Stockholm dialect, which is the most widely spoken and used in the media, education and in everyday life. Other dialects are Chakavian and Kajavian, which have their own unique phonetic, grammatical and lexical characteristics.

Croatian Literature

Croatian literature has a rich history, dating back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, it has developed under the influence of various cultural and political currents, creating unique literary works. Among the most important figures of Croatian literature, it is worth mentioning that Marek Marulić, the father of Croatian literature, created the Old Croatian language. Other famous writers include Ivan Gundulić, a representative of the Baroque, and Petar Preradović, a poet of Romanticism. Contemporary Croatian literature also has prominent figures, such as Dubravka Ugrešić, a writer and essayist whose work touches on identity, migration and culture. Knowledge of Croatian literature allows a better understanding of the Croatian nation's culture, history and values.

Astounding similarity to Polish

Croatian and Polish have many similarities, which result from the fact that they both belong to the Slavic language family. However, these are languages from different groups - Croatian from the southern Slavic group and Polish from the western Slavic group - their common roots mean that people speaking Polish can see numerous analogies in these two languages.

Croatian and Polish are inflexible languages, meaning words change their shape to express different grammatical meanings. In both languages, there is declension of nouns, adjectives and pronouns, as well as conjugation of verbs. The system of cases in Croatian includes seven cases, as in Polish.

In the syntax of both languages, some flexibility can be noticed, which allows you to change the order of words in the sentence to emphasize the emphasis or intentions of the speaker. Although this flexibility is greater in Polish, the similarity may facilitate learning Croatian.


request a tailored quotation

just fill in a quick form about your project

Essential Croatian Dictionary




yes da
no ne
please molim
thank you hvala
I'm sorry oprosti/oprostite
good morning dobro jutro/ dobar dan
good evening dobra večer
goodbye laku noć
good night doviđenja
hi bok
how are you?  Kako si?
well dobro
My name is... Ime mi je…/Zovem se…
I don't understand Ne razumijem



request a tailored quotation

just fill in a quick form about your project

POZENA ATC Supplier of the Year

The kindness and appreciation expressed by clients daily bring us immense joy. Feedback shapes our formula and motivates us to strive for continuous improvement, learning and effort.

We are incredibly proud when our daily work leads to prestigious global recognition. POZENA Multilingual was recently Commended at the grand annual gala of the Association of Translation Companies, one of the world's preeminent language industry organizations. We are immensely thankful for this gesture of peer recognition.