Background and status
Croatian (Hrvatski) is the official language in Croatia, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, Croatian is recognised as one of the official languages of the European Union. Approximately 5.5 million people across Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, the Romanian county of Caras-Severin, and the Croatian diaspora speak Croatian as first language, while a further 1.25 million people in Slovenia claim it as a second language.
Croatian (part of the Serbo-Croatian language group) is a Western South Slavic language, with three principal vernaculars, namely Čakavian, Kajkavian, and Štokavian. Serbo-Croatian language is the collective term used for Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. These languages are mutually intelligible, as they are all based on the same dialect of Štokavian.
Up until 1850 there was no standardised written form of Croatian. To rectify this, several Croatian and Serbian authors and linguists teamed up to create a standardised written form that was based on the widely used Štokavian dialect. Nowadays, the current standard language is outlined in several different linguistic publications, as well as grammar books and lexicons prescribed by the Ministry of Education for the school syllabus. However, there is no monitoring council that regulates the correct usage of the Croatian language. While many loan words from other languages have found their way into the Croatian language, an attempt is being made to replace these loan words with new and unique Croatian words.
Native Croatians view having their own distinct language as an integral aspect to their national identity. For this reason, the Declaration on the Status and Name of the Croatian Literary Language policy was passed in 1967, granting the Croatian language more independence and allowing it to be considered a language distinct to that of the Serbo-Croatian languages.
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