Indo-Europan > Balto-Slavic > Slavic > South Slavic > Western South Slavic

Spoken by: 5.5 million according to, 2001

Official in: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Spoken primarily in: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (esp. Vojvodina)

The written Standard for Croatian is based on the Štokavian dialect, just like for Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin. Croatian is however made up by two other characteristic dialects; Kajkavian, spoken in the north of Croatia, in and around Zagreb, and Čakavian, spoken in the coastal areas. The different names were derivated from the word for ‘what’ in these different dialects: što, kaj and ča. Another thing that makes Croatian special, when compared with Serbian and Bosnian, is a strong tradition of word coinage instead of word borrowing for new phenomena. For instance, the word for ‘geography’ is zemljopis (from zemlja ‘Earth’ + opis ‘description’) in Croatian, and geografija in Serbian and Bosnian.