• Croatian language course for beginners
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  • 1 Croatian alphabet [0/1]
  • 2 Greetings in Croatian [0/3]
  • 3 Introduce yourself and how to say hello in Croatian [0/2]
  • 4 Asking for directions in Croatian [0/2]
  • 5 Daily conversations in Croatian (restaurant, shopping) [0/2]
  • 6 Croatian numbers [0/2]
  • 7 Telling the time in Croatian [0/3]
  • 8 Colours in Croatian language [0/2]
  • 9 Days, months, seasons in Croatian language [0/2]
  • 10 Family members in Croatian [0/2]
  • 11 The body parts in Croatian [0/2]
  • 12 Ordering in the restaurant in Croatian [0/2]
  • 13 Countries and nationalities in Croatian [0/2]
  • 14 Grocery shopping in Croatian [0/2]
  • Croatian alphabet

    The Croatian language is the official language in two countries ( Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) and also the language, which is easily understandable in Serbia and Montenegro. If you manage to learn it, you will be able to speak in 4 countries. What are you waiting for? :)

    Even though Croatia is a relatively small country, it has three main dialects, which means that Croatians from different parts might have understanding problems. Division would be:

    • čakavian ( spoken along the Croatian coast)
    • kajkavian ( spoken in Northern and Northwestern Croatia)
    • štokavian ( rest of Croatia). 

    Learn the letters of the Croatian alphabet

    The Croatian alphabet consists of 30 letters in total and differs from standard Latin due to the following letters.

    • every single letter should be clearly pronounced
    • there are no silent letters
    • some letters have two characters
    • letters are pronounced the same regardless of the position

    In 30 letters, there are 5 vowels ( a, e, i, o, u) and 25 consonants. Each sound is represented by a single letter as you will be able to hear in the upcoming lessons. 

    The 5 vowels and their pronunciation

    A, E, I, O, U

    As in every language, it's crucial to learn the basics of the alphabet. As already mentioned, Croatian has 5 vowels, which are presented in the table below. Comparing to English, you should pronounce it as it's written.  coLanguage

    Letters Croatian examples English translation
     A, a  avion, antena airplane, aerial
     E, e  erupcija, eukaliptus eruption, eucalyptus
     I, i  igla, ikona needle, icon
     O, o  oko, otvarač eye, opener
     U, u  ulov, ubod catch, bite

     

    Consonants and how to pronounce them

    B, C, Č, Ć, D, DŽ, Đ, F, G, H, J, K L, LJ, M, N, NJ, P, R, S, Š, T, U, V, Z, Ž

    As already mentioned in this lesson, Croatian has 25 consonants, which will be displayed as follows. Comparing to English, you pronounce it as it's written. 

    enlightenedPay attention not to mix pronunciation of "c" with "k", and to always pronounce the letter "h". 

    Croatian consonants Examples English translation
     B, b  brod   boat
     C, c  cvijet  flower
     Č, ć  čovjek  person
     Ć, ć  ćup   jar
     D, d  dno   bottom
     Dž, dž  džep   pocket
     Đ, đ  đavao   devil
     F, f  frula   fife
     G, g  grad   city
     H, h  heroj  hero
     I, i  igla  needle
     J, j  jesen  autmun
     K, k  kralj   king
     L, l  lopov   thief
     Lj, lj  ljubav  love
     M, m  mjesec   moon
     N, n  novo   new
     Nj, nj  njiva   field
     O, o  opera   opera
     P, p  pravac   line
     R, r  ruža   rose
     S, s  sunce   sun
     Š, š  šuma   forest
     T, t  tlo   floor
     V, v  vuk   wolf
     Z, z  zid   wall
     Ž, ž  žetva  harvest

     

    Examples

    • On ima velik brod. = He has a big boat.
    • Zagreb je glavni grad Hrvatske. = Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.
    • Dubrovnik je grad okružen zidinama. = Dubrovnik is the city surrounded by walls.
    • Ljubav je najlijepši osječaj. = Love is the best feeeling.

     

    A pronunciation guide for letters with two characters

    In this lesson you will deal with the usage of these unfamiliar letters in Croatian alphabet which could be quite confusing for beginners. Firstly, we will start with the letters which have two characters: nj, lj and

    coLanguage

     NJ, nj - consists N and J  like ni in "minion"
     LJ, ljconsists L and J  like lli "billon"
     DŽ, dž - consists D and Ž  like j in "Jefree" ( bit harder)

     

    Examples

    • U Njemačkoj živi osamdeset milijuna stanovnika. = Eighteen million people live in Germany.
    • Ljubičice rastu u proljeće. = Violets grow in the spring.
    • Kad je hladno Marko nosi džemper. = When it is cold Marko wears a sweater.

     

    Learn the difference between letters "Č and Ć" 

    Even the Croatian native speakers are confused when it's about mentioned letters. What is the difference? When should I use Č and when Ć?

    Č is mostly referred as a harsh/hard one whereas ć is soft. The main difference between them is the pronunciation. Unfortunately, there is no exact English equivalent to "Ć" whereas "Č" sounds like ch in words such as "charming" or "matching". 

    Examples

    • Često idem trčati u park. = I run often in the park.
    • Oko ponoći ja izlazim vani. = Round midnight I go out.

     

    Learn the difference between letters "DŽ and Đ"

    The distinction is pretty much the same between "" and "Đ". As in the previous subtitle, there is no exact English equivalent to đ whereas for "" is pronounced like j in "joy" ( only slightly harsher/harder). In order to produce "soft" sounds ( ć, đ) your tongue should be placed right behind your front teeth. Regarding the words with they are mostly originaly from Turkish and English language.

    Examples

    • Marko je pravi džentleman. = Marko is a real gentleman.
    • Mađarska graniči sa Hrvatskom. = Hungary borders with Croatia.
    • Džamija je mjesto gdje ljudi muslimanske vjeroispovijesti mole. =The mosque is a place where the Muslim people pray.

     

    Learn the difference between letters "Š and Ž"

    Last but not least, "Š" and "Ž" are letters, which are quite easier to understand and pronounce. Comparing to previous letters, there is only one version of "Š" = like sh in "shopping" and "Ž" is  like s in "treasure" .

    Croatian letters Croatian examples
     Š, š  like sh in "shopping"
     Ž, ž . like s in "treasure" 

    Private lesson - coLanguage

     

    Examples

    • Škola se nalazi u centru grada. = The school is in the city center.
    • Marko je bio žrtva krađe. = Marko was a victim of theft.

     

    For all of you who are willing to listen to the alphabet pronunciation, check the attached alphabet song. Enjoy! :)

    Exercises

    Practice with the Croatian alphabet!