Sunday, 22 May 2022

Croatian Language Scholarship: Public Call for 2022/23 Semesters Announced

May 22, 2022 - The Central State Office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia has announced a public call for the Croatian language scholarship for the 2022/2023 semesters. This year, for the first time, those interested will be able to choose the City of Zadar as their preference of location when studying the Croatian language.

With the aim of learning the Croatian language, learning about Croatian culture and preserving national identity, promoting unity and cooperation, and returning emigrated Croats and their descendants to the country, the Central State Office for Croats Abroad announced a public call for scholarships for Croatian language learning in Croatia for the academic year 2022/2023.

The first period of the Croatian language scholarship, called the winter semester, runs from the beginning of October 2022 to the end of January 2023. The second, the summer semester, runs from the beginning of March 2023 to the end of June 2023. The participants, when applying, can choose between studying for one or both semesters.

Who can apply?

Members of the Croatian people, their spouses as well as friends of the Croatian people and the Republic of Croatia who nurture the Croatian identity and promote the Croatian cultural community. They must be over 18, they must have completed at least high school and reside outside of the Republic of Croatia. They can also have resided in the Republic of Croatia for no longer than three years as of the date of the publication of this public invitation.

How and until when can one apply?

The application for this public invitation is to be submitted exclusively in electronic form via the e-application form available HERE. The deadline for submitting applications is June 19, 2022.

In which cities can you study the Croatian language scholarship?

The course is being organised by the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, and the University of Zadar. The scholarship implies regular attendance at classes in the Republic of Croatia in the place where the course is held.

Among other things, the canidadte must indicate their choice of language learning semester in their application (winter, summer, or both), as well as their desired place for attending the course.

For more information about the Croatian language scholarship in Croatia, write me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject ''Croatian language scholarship''.

All other details are listed in the public invitation and the attached instructions. In case of the need for additional information, candidates can send an inquiry to the e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than the expiration of the above deadline or in the same period call: +385 (0) 1 / 6444-683, working on the day from 10.00 - 15.00.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Croatian Language Test for Permanent Residence, Yes or No?

May the 3rd, 2022 - One of the most common questions one tends to read on expat groups small and large from up and down the country from residents of Croatia nearing the golden five year mark of temporary residence is Do I need to pass a Croatian language test for permanent residence? 

Understandably, this question is usually bombarded with answers from different people from across the world who have residence based on all sorts of different reasons, from marriage to druge svrhe (other purposes) and everything in between, all of whom were approached differently by the authorities.

What Zdenka at the desk in Rijeka says to someone applying who happens to have a Croatian (or indeed Austro-Hungarian) distant relative and what Mirna at Petrinjska in Zagreb says to someone applying based on family reunification will likely be very different. So, let's get to the point. Do you need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence? The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Helpful, I know. Let's look into who has to take it and who doesn't.

EEA/EU/EFTA citizens

If you hold the citizenship of a European Union, European Economic Area or European Free Trade Association Area country, you do not need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence. Pure and simple.

The EFTA countries are Iceland, Norway, the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland, none of which are EU or EEA member states or part of the Customs Union and negotiate trade deals separately to the EU, but which do enjoy a similar free trade agreement with the European Union.

Third country citizens

Third country citizens or nationals are individuals who don't hold the citizenship of an EU, EEA or EFTA country. These people typically do need to sit a Croatian language test for permanent residence. The language test is at the B1 level and includes understanding, reading, writing, speaking and perhaps the worst of all for anyone who has spent time around the Croatian language - grammar. 

If you pass this test, you'll be presented with a certificate from any of the education institutes which run these tests which you can then take to MUP as part of your permanent residence application. A list of such institutes running the tests can be found on MUP's website so that you can pick and contact the one closest to your address.

Exceptions for third country citizens

You do not need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence if you're 65 or over and are unemployed, if you're of pre-school age, or if you've already completed your compulsory (mandatory) primary and/or secondary in Croatia, or if you've completed higher education here.

Citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who had legal residence in Croatia before the 31st of December, 2020

British citizens who had legal residence in Croatia before the 31st of January 2020 and who as such fall into the category of those who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement do not need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence.

British nationals were once also EU citizens, and as such had the rights to freedom of movement, one of the fundamental pillars of the European Union, until the 31st of December, 2020, when the UK's transition period out of the bloc ended. Those British nationals who held temporary or permanent residence before the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, more precisely before the end of its transition period, are protected and have acquired rights in Croatia. Their residence status and rights are unaffected.

That said, they did need to apply for a new residence document which demonstrates their protected status before the end of June, 2021. British citizens who are in this category who have not yet got their new document can still do so and their rights will not be affected, but they may face a small administrative fine for not having made the application before the specified date. The application for the new document is not a new residence application, but merely a demonstration to MUP that you are owed it. If you already held permanent residence in Croatia before the end of the UK's transition period, this will be an extremely easy exercise.

Citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who did not hold legal residence in Croatia before the 31st of December, 2020

If you're British and didn't exercise your right to free movement across the EU before the aforementioned date, you fall under the category of a third country national and as such need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence.

Those married to Croatian citizens

If you're an EU/EEA/EFTA citizen married to a Croatian citizen and are applying for permanent residence (which in this case can now be applied for after four years as opposed to five), you do not need to take a Croatian language test for permanent residence based entirely on your own nationality which affords you certain rights in Croatia.

If you're a third country national married to a Croatian citizen and are applying for permanent residence (which is also now after four years in your case, too, not five), you may be asked to take a test, and you may not be. I realise how unhelpful that is, but people have vastly different experiences when it comes to this depending on when they've applied, where they live (and as such which administrative police station they've used), and quite frankly, what side of the bed the clerk woke up on that morning.

For more on nationality and residence in Croatia, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Meet Crodle, the Croatian Version of Today's Most Popular Game

February 3, 2022 - Wordle has taken the internet by storm, testing the wits of millions. What few know, however, is that it was recently adapted into the Croatian language by a group of early enthusiasts of the popular game as a method to encourage its learning. Meet Crodle!

If you're on Twitter, chances are you've seen people all over the place in recent months sharing a set of green, yellow, and gray squares. Either you're confused and don't have the slightest idea what's going on, or you're just another user of the trendy game that's now everywhere you look: Wordle.

meet-crodle-2.png

Wordle was created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn, in October 2021. The game that has now taken over the internet, however, started in a very curious, and romantic way. As The New York Times recalls, it so happens that months before its launch, Wardle created it as a kind of gift for his partner, who loved word games. The concept would be one of word guessing, and the name would be a fun one that would combine the pillar on which it was designed and the last name of the person who created it: Wordle.

At first, it was played only by Wardle and his partner, and after several months of obsession, they decided to share it with their families. Shortly after, in October, it would be released worldwide. On November 1st, 90 people played it. Two months later, on a Sunday, 300,000 people were playing it.

One of the reasons why Wordle has become popular so quickly and has won the affection of millions of users is because of its friendly design and easy gameplay. In addition to having a fairly simple concept compared to others that can be found on the Internet, Wordle does not have advertising or annoying pop-ups.

How to play Wordle? You have to guess the Wordle in 6 tries. Each guess must be a valid 5 letter word. Hit the enter button to submit your guess. After each guess, the color of the tiles will change to show how close your guess was to the word. A new Wordle will be available each day! Here are some examples:

meet-crodle-3.jpg

(Screenshot/Wordle)

Today the game has millions of users around the world, but among the first loyal users, we must recognize a group of enthusiastic Croats who saw in the original concept an ingenious way to promote the Croatian language and encourage its learning. ''At our language school we were early fans of Wordle, so we decided to create the Croatian version - as a tribute to the original and a fun way to play with the Croatian language'', recalls Maja Jukić, teacher and school manager at the Školica Croatian Language School in Zagreb.

Maja and her colleagues called their Croatian version Crodle, and tell that, just like the original, it's completely free and there’s a new word to guess every day. ''Apart from our fellow citizens here in Croatia, we already have enthusiastic Crodle players with Croatian origins living in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand'', adds Jukić.

crodle.jpg

The Croatian version features the full Croatian alphabet, but to keep things simple they have considered the letters , Lj and Nj to be counted as two separate letters. (Screenshot/Crodle)

''As we became addicted to the popular word game Wordle, we decided to build a Croatian version for our language students to practice with, and for everyone else to enjoy. Crodle is built with open-source software'', can be read on the game's website.

Anyone can play Crodle from their phone or computer, it's free of ads, and it has a friendly design. To play, click here. Enjoy!

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 28 January 2022

Serbian Ombudsman Requests Withdrawal of Textbook Negating Croatian Language

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Serbian Ombudsman Zoran Pašalić has requested the withdrawal of a Serbian language textbook for eighth-graders which denies the existence of the Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin languages, Croatian language-media in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina reported on Friday.

The media quoted leaders of the ethnic Croat community as describing the recommendation as encouraging.

A definition on the division of South Slavic languages in the contentious textbook, written by a group of authors, says that Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian belong to the South Slavic group of languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak and Montenegrin."

Ombudsman Zoran Pašalić said in a statement the approval of the textbook violated the rights of ethnic minorities because it negated the existence of their languages, with Croatian and Bosnian being in official use in Serbia.

Pašalić called on the Education, Science and Technology Ministry to take the necessary steps and withdraw the textbook before the start of the school year 2022/2023 as well as to report to him within 60 days of the action taken.

The ombudsman's decision was welcomed by the Croat National Council (HNV) and the DSHV party of Vojvodina Croats, which in October 2021 said that Serbian eighth-graders were taught that Croatian did not exist.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, too, have protested over the negation of the Croatian language.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Pupils at Saint Petersburg School Can Learn Croatian

ZAGREB, 26 Jan 2022 - Pupils at School No691 in Saint Petersburg's Nevsky District can learn six foreign languages, including Croatian.

Since last year, the school with more than 1,500 pupils is home to the Croatian Club and wants to be an exclusive place in the city when it comes to Croatia and its language and culture.

Zagreb and Saint Petersburg have been friends since 1968 and their cooperation has covered various areas, including culture and education.

The cooperation gained new momentum in 2015 thanks to the Zagreb Russian Language and Culture Association and the enthusiasm of No691's headmistress Irina Leonidovna Karpicka, a big lover of Croatia.

Her students can learn Croatian three times a week for a month or two throughout the school year. The groups have numbered 15 to 20 students to date and they have been taught by volunteer Russianists and Croatists.

One of them is Mato Špekuljak, a Russian language and literature professor and president of the Russian Language and Culture Association, who has described School No691 as "one of the most beautiful and technically most equipped I have seen in my life."

The school is new and has a big library, a swimming pool, a toy museum, and computerized classrooms.

It has a Croatian library with some 300 books and multimedia content donated to the Croatian Club by the Zagreb Russian Language and Culture Association.

Other Russianists and Croatists from Zagreb have also guested in the school, including Russian language teachers at Zagreb's Trnjanska Primary School, which cooperates with School No691, as well as in Zagreb's Tin Ujević Primary School, which cooperates with School No351 in Saint Petersburg's Moskovsky District.

Besides the language, the students in the two Zagreb schools are also taught about Russia and its culture, and the students in the two Saint Petersburg schools about "Croatia as a friendly Slavic country," Špekuljak said.

The schools sometimes hold video conferences. "In Petersburg, that proved to be especially interesting to Russian students who spent summers in Croatia with their parents and those who are interested in football and admire the Croatian national football team and its successes," he added.

The Croatian-Russian school cooperation has been disrupted by COVID-19, but both sides hope it will resume and expand once the pandemic is over.

Headmistress Karpicka said one of the post-pandemic plans was to bring together the Croats living in Saint Petersburg and their families. Speaking to Hina, she invited all Russianists and Croatists from Croatia interested in volunteering in her school and making guest appearances in the Croatian Club to write at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Russian Language and Culture Association hopes the cooperation will expand between schools in Zagreb's Donji Grad and Trešnjevka districts and Saint Petersburg's Moskovsky and Novsky districts.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Matica Hrvatska Institution Launches Drafting of Bill on Croatian Language

ZAGREB, 10 Jan 2022 - President of Matica Hrvatska, Miro Gavran, on Monday presented the program for marking the 180th anniversary of that cultural institution and announced the drafting of a Croatian Language Act.

"We have formed a task force to draw up the Croatian Language Act," Gavran said at the press conference, adding that the group included Fellows of the Croatian Academy: August Kovačec, Stjepan Damjanović, Mislav Ježić, and linguists Tomislav Stojanov and Mario Grčević.

He underscored that in addition to the five renowned linguists, the draft bill would be prepared by three lawyers, and it would be co-signed by Croatian writers, after which it would be sent to the Croatian parliament.

He announced that in the future the editions of Matica Hrvatska would be sent to embassies and Croatian language departments all over the world.

We insist on good atmosphere and mutual respect, increasing the number of members, establishing new branches and restoring old ones, as well as on the increased activity of the departments of Matica Hrvatska, said the institution's president, adding that over 500 different cultural, science and professional events were planned at branches of Matica Hrvatska in Croatia,  Bosnia and Herzegovina and around the world.

Today, Matica Hrvatska has around 4,000 members and 123 branches, 100 of which are in Croatia, 14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in other parts of the world. Matica Hrvatska has 20 departments in Zagreb, and its head office has 31 employees.

 

Sunday, 12 December 2021

The Rough Guide Croatian Phrasebook Review: Learning Croatian Dangerously

December 12, 2021 - TCN contributor Patrick Galeski reviews the Rough Guide Croatian Phrasebook, which he notes can be as dangerous as a hand grenade if used improperly. 

I have lived in Croatia since 2006, and Varaždin is my home. I have learned a lot over the past 15 years, and luckily my Croatian has improved since my first days in the country. As time passes by, I collect more and more memories. Recently, I came across a Croatian phrasebook that I thought I had lost: the Rough Guide Croatian Phrasebook. Since it helped me so much, and at the same time got me into some potentially sticky situations, I think it is time to review this handy little grenade thoroughly. 

First of all, what’s Rough Guide anyway? 

Rough Guide, well-known for its travel guidebooks for backpackers and tourists on a tight budget, also publishes language guides and phrasebooks. This phrasebook targets the typical English-speaking tourist without any previous exposure to the dynamics of the Croatian language.

In this particular phrasebook, a Croatian novice will be schooled quickly in the art of being Croatian. Numerous daily situations are covered, including visiting the bank, ordering food at a restaurant, asking for directions, booking a hotel room, etc. The common questions that an English-speaking tourist will have at certain places and sites are translated into Croatian. The authors use phonetics to ensure that the proper tone and pronunciation are used by the brave tourist visiting Croatia. Overall, the translations are presented in an easy-to-understand way that is useful to any tourist. There is also an English-Croatian/Croatian-English dictionary in the phrasebook. Although it is short, it provides most of the keywords that tourists need to use while visiting the country. The last section of the book provides the reader with a crash course in Croatian grammar. This section does not cover everything, but it does provide the reader with the basics. The size of the handbook should also be noted.  It is just right. It can fit in your pocket, making it convenient for any tourist visiting Croatia.

Although the phrasebook provides a Croatian language learner with the basics, Rough Guide ought to review the content of this phrasebook before publishing it further. It seems that they watched the classic sketch “The Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook” from Monty Python and decided it would be funny in real life. I have used this guide in Croatia, and my Croatian friends and colleagues have pointed out that some material is dangerously inaccurate.  I point your attention to page 122 - Colloquialisms.  

Not realizing that the translations on this page were completely wrong, I used them in public with my new friends back in 2006. To my dismay, the phrase “dobit ćeš kurac (doe-bit chesh koo-rats)” did not mean “you’ll get lucky” as presented in the phrasebook. Instead, that phrase meant something very rude and insulting. I will allow you, the reader, to put it into Google Translate and figure it out for yourself. I said this to my friend after he told me how horrible his day was. In my case, I got lucky. I could have been beaten up if I were with the wrong crowd. Not taking offense, my friend pointed out the exact meaning of each phrase on page 122. I should note that the majority of the words on that page are mistranslated. In fact, they are very rude, sometimes sexist, and absolutely insulting statements. This page should be used with absolute care. If any of those phrases are used in public with people you don’t know, don’t be surprised if you get into a fight. It should be noted that the phrasebook has been in circulation since 2006, and only minor changes have been made to the book since. Page 122 remains unchanged. It is odd to me that there have not been any lawsuits or incidents reported relating to the phrases listed on that page.

Despite the dangers of using page 122 in public, this phrasebook is a useful tool for any novice Croatian language learner. It provides many useful phrases that can be used in everyday situations. The dictionary and grammar rules are also presented well. Due to the potential disaster that page 122 poses to an unsuspecting tourist in Croatia, I give this phrasebook a 3/5 rating. 

Buyer beware!  This phrasebook can be as dangerous as a hand grenade if used improperly. 

Picture 1.1. The cover of my personal copy of the phrasebook                                      

Picture 1.2. The notorious page 122 with my notes included. Thanks to my Croatian friends,  I was able to get the right translations. The stars on the left side mean that the words are dangerous!

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Croatian Declared Official Language 174 Years Ago

ZAGREB, 23 Nov 2021 - Parliament recalled on Tuesday that Croatian was declared the official language instead of Latin 174 years ago today.

The Sabor adopted the historic decision on the official use of the national language on 23 October 1847 and parliament started using it in its work in 1848.

At the last Sabor session of 1847, Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski warned the people's representatives about the need to introduce the official language in public services. At his proposal, parliament adopted a conclusion to that effect.

The introduction of Croatian as the official language was preceded by 50 years of political struggle, notably revivalist attempts to adopt and apply a uniform orthography and adopt the Shtokavian dialect as the basis of the official language.

The first address in Croatian was delivered in parliament by Kukuljević Sakcinski on 2 May 1843.

Kukuljević Sakcinski (1816-1889), a Croatian politician, historian, and author was one of the leaders of the Croatian National Revival, also known as the Illyrian movement.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

How Difficult Is It to Learn the Croatian Language?

October 24, 2021 - I don't consider myself halfway to being able to speak the Croatian language fluently, but I think there are definitely some factors that have helped me streamline the process and that can help you as well, and they are worth sharing.

It is unlikely, but not impossible, to find someone who wants to study the Croatian language without a particular reason, that is, for the simple fact of learning Croatian. Especially if you are someone with no background in Slavic language learning, it can be quite challenging, and for many even demotivating. Among those who studied the Croatian language out of curiosity, I found Erasmus students from countries such as Poland, Ukraine, or the Czech Republic, and I have also met people from Bosnia, Slovenia, and Macedonia, who despite speaking different languages, studied Croatian without problems or spoke it very fluently in very little time.

It was not the case of my colleagues from countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, or France. Neither was it for me, from Peru, nor my friends from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, or Colombia, of which the vast majority studied the language as part of the scholarship offered by the Central Office of the State for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia, with the intention of learning more about the country of their ancestors or taking the first steps within their new life project in Croatia. Our vocabularies, grammar rules, and even alphabets may be relatively similar, but they are very different from those of the Slavic languages. Along the way, one notices that certain words can be shared and thus help to understand in a certain way the context of what is heard or read, but by no means reveal their full meaning.

Some examples are:

  • situation (English) - situación (Spanish) - situacija (Croatian)
  • politician - político - političar
  • museum - museo - muzej
  • linguistics - linguística - lingvistika

On the other hand, as in Croatian, we also conjugate verbs almost exclusively for each noun according to whether it is first, second or third person, or if it is singular or plural. While in English it is possible that verbs change very little under these same considerations.

For example, with the verb eat:

In English (to eat):

  • I eat.
  • You eat.
  • (He/she/it) eats.
  • We eat.
  • You eat.
  • They eat.

In Spanish (comer):

  • Yo como.
  • Tú comes.
  • (Él/ella) come.
  • Nosotros comemos.
  • Ustedes comen.
  • Ellos comen.

In Croatian (jesti):

  • Ja jedem.
  • Ti jedeš.
  • On/ona/ono jede.
  • Mi jedemo.
  • Vi jedete.
  • Oni/one/ona jedu.

Those of us who speak Spanish could say that, in a certain way, there are reasons to accommodate ourselves to the study of the Croatian language from certain angles, such as the fact that our language also has a large number of grammatical rules and conjugations, as well as the presence of the genres. However, the Croatian language has declensions, which do not happen in Spanish. For instance:

  • La ciudad. (The city) - Grad (Case: Nominativ)
  • Me voy a la ciudad. (I'm going to the city) - Idem u grad. (Case: Akuzativ)
  • Vivo en la ciudad. (I live in the city) - Živim u gradu. (Case: Lokativ)
  • Junto a la ciudad. (Next to the city) - Pored grade. (Case: Genitiv)
  • Él debatirá con la ciudad. (He will debate with the city) - Raspravljat će s gradom. (Instrumental)

As you can see, in Spanish, the noun city does not change in its form while the case does, but in Croatian, the noun changes its form according to declension. Although I mentioned earlier that in Spanish, as in Croatian, nouns can also be classified by gender, this does not affect the way the verbs that accompany them are conjugated. For instance:

  • Él fue a la ciudad. (He went to the city) / Ella fue a la ciudad. (She went to the city) - Otišao je u grad. / Otišla je u grad.

Also, we are not very used to putting together sentences where nouns are not accompanied by articles. For example:

  • A ellos les gusta la pizza. (They like pizza) - Vole pizzu.

However, some things may be familiar to those who speak English, as the articles next to the nouns are in many cases dispensable, as in the example above. But even if a few little things may favor those who speak English, in the end, they will find themselves entangled in a language laden with declensions and gender, contrary to the neutral language they possess.

Now, I am not a linguistics student, much less an expert, so I do not dare to analyze or delve further into the history and rules of each language. However, and taking into account the advantages and obstacles that can arise when learning a language as challenging as Croatian, I think there are five ways in which you can learn it not only faster and with greater ease, but also in an entertaining way.

1. Enroll in a course to learn the Croatian language

Probably the best alternative, enrolling in a course to learn the Croatian language has many advantages. For example, as you progress through the topics and levels, you will have the opportunity to consult with your teacher, usually someone born in Croatia, about something that you have not understood well or something about which you need more information regarding the Croatian language. Also, the homework assignments and tests that you have to take throughout the course will help you put your learning to the test. You will also have study material that you may not find elsewhere, and you will study with colleagues who probably have the same level as you and in whom you will find support. If you are interested in studying the Croatian language in Croatia, you can review the bases to apply for the Croatian language course scholarship in the Republic of Croatia, or you can also review the courses offered by the Croaticum in Zagreb.

2. Practice with your friends or partner from Croatia

The good thing about having a Croatian-born partner, or Croatian friends, is that you don't need to live in Croatia to practice or continue learning the language. If that person is willing to teach you, and you commit to studying, you will notice that it can be very easy and entertaining. Since they were born in Croatia, you will not only learn grammar rules and declensions, but you will also be able to learn pronunciation. Chances are that they will surely appreciate your interest in learning the language!

3. Be encouraged to speak Croatian in everyday situations

If you live in Croatia, or even if you study the Croatian language there, I can tell you that it is probably not enough to do summaries in your notebook, assignments, exams or many hours of study. In the end, if you are studying a language it is precisely so that you can speak it. It is best to avoid intermediary languages as much as possible. Although in Croatia you will realize that English is spoken by a large part of the population, encourage yourself to practice what you know of Croatian when shopping, at the post office, in a cafe, in the bar, or even with strangers on the street! And there are two reasons why you will love this option. The first reason is that you will gain more confidence to speak Croatian, and the second is because Croatians are aware that their language can be complicated, so they will help you with what you do not know well and will motivate you to continue improving.

4. Watch movies or series with Croatian audio or subtitles

When I arrived in Croatia, several of my Croatian friends recommended me to watch Croatian movies or series, and at first, I thought that it could be a bit cliché and that it might not help me much to learn the language. Yes, it is true that when watching a Croatian movie or series you will not be able to decipher the declensions or understand the grammar rules, but it will help you to associate some expressions, phrases, or common words used by Croats. I would recommend that you first watch movies with audio in your native language or in English, but with Croatian subtitles. Then, try watching movies or series with Croatian audio, and with subtitles in your native language or in English. This way you will practice not only your vocabulary but also your pronunciation and the contexts in which you can use new expressions in Croatian.

5. Change the language of any of your electronic devices

Today, smartphones and other electronic devices have become essential tools to learn a new language or function during a trip abroad. For example, Google Translate works very well for translating from English to Croatian and vice versa, and it continues to improve over time. Nowadays, it allows you not only to translate words or sentences that you write yourself, but you can also upload photos or scan a text in Croatian, and the application will translate it for you very effectively. On the other hand, the latest iPhone and its operating system allow you to detect texts through your camera and even in your photographs, and that way you can achieve results very quickly.

However, my main advice is to change the main language of your phone, at least from time to time. As we are very aware of our phones through social networks or work, it is likely that we have already become accustomed to frequent texts and messages that we see on different platforms: ''send message'', ''log out'', ''update'', ''download video'', ''share image'', ''like'', ''comment'', etc. Once your phone is in another language, you will find the same messages, but this time in Croatian, and with time you can get used to it!

The Croatian language is difficult, but not impossible. Once you find the trick, you will realize that it is a language very rich in history and you will find pleasure and motivation to learn it. Do not be discouraged!

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Eighth-Graders in Serbia Taught That Croatian Language Does Not Exist

ZAGREB, 4 Oct 2021 - The political leadership of Croats in Serbia on Monday condemned the denial of the Croatian language in grammar books for eighth-graders, noting that examples like this one show why negative sentiments among young people in Serbia about Croats should not be surprising.

The Croatian language in Serbia does not exist, Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) head Tomislav Žigmanov said, adding that "this is just the tip of the iceberg of the social context affecting the status of Croats in Serbia."

According to the local Croat-language weekly "Hrvatska riječ", a grammar book for eighth- graders by a group of authors says that the Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian languages are South Slavic languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak or Montenegrin."

The textbook was approved by the Serbian Institute for the Promotion of Education, the weekly says, noting that it had contacted the competent institutions in that regard.

"As regards language as a linguistic and political category, our position is that it is up to the authors of the textbook to provide an explanation. The matter is covered sufficiently in textbooks and there are also experts on the Serbian language at the Institute who check textbooks," the Committee for the Standardisation of the Serbian Language said in its reply to the weekly, among other things.

"The Serbian education system denies our language. We should therefore not be surprised by the views of children who are taught from such books," the DSHV said in a Twitter post, with Žigmanov citing as an example of the negativity associated with Croats the declaration of the Bunjevci ikavian dialect as an official, non-Croatian language in Subotica in May this year.

The Subotica Town Council earlier this year amended the town statute to declare the Bunjevci dialect one of the four official languages in that town, along with Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian. The demand for declaring its speech an official language in Subotica was made by the Bunjevci community, which denies its belonging to the Croatian people.

"It is a paradox that Croatian, an official EU language, is being denied in Serbia and that the status of an official language is awarded to the so-called Bunjevci language, which is not recognized anywhere else in the world and cannot be recognized in the full sense of that word," Žigmanov said.

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