Saturday, 7 January 2023

Croatian Dialects World Cup Final: Hvar v Forests of Zagorje

January 7, 2023 - Croatian is a logical language, but it is the Croatian dialects that will kill you. How many of you can understand these dialect experts from Hvar and a forest in Zagorje?

As per my YouTube video a few weeks ago, I still maintain that Croatian is a logical language, but those je*eni dialects... 

It is almost a decade since Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, stormed the Internet with his iconic Dalmatian Grunt. The Professor's ensuing niche series on Hvar dialects brought him a cult following of (mostly young, attractive, and female) dedicated followers. But the power of his message inspired others.

None more so that Grgo Petrov, who was so taken by the Professor's Dalmatian Grunt that he changed his university course and went on to dedicate himself to capturing Croatian dialects all over the country, as well as branching out with a whole range of dialect ideas and services. A little more about Grgo's dialect efforts (which are quite phenomenal) below, but here is the email he sent me to explain how the Professor had changed his life all those years ago.

Hey Paul!

We haven't met in person but you've had a huge influence on me and what I have been doing the last couple of years. It took me a long time to finally contact you haha.

I want to thank you for the Hvar Dialect Lessons you started posting on YouTube 5-6 years ago. I was in shock, just like the rest of my friends from Zagreb and the area. It was super entertaining but also educational. It made me think (and the rest of us) how our authentic local heritage was fading away. General unawareness of this local universe we have across Croatia.

What happened next is I started recording the "kajkavski lessons of Marija Bistrica" on YouTube with my local native the end, I spent most of my University along with my Master's project all about preserving and promoting local dialects and values in Croatia.

I graduated as a visual communications designer, so I wrote and illustrated a tale in Kajkavski idiom, then posters and picture books for children... Following that, I started recording other people along the coast. Just last year spent two weeks on Dugi Otok island recording the locals' stories and their dialects. The project started connecting the locals across Croatia, raising awareness. Schools and parents are calling me for the presentations... it's just crazy.

And all of it kind of started when I saw the first "Hvar Dialect Lesson" you posted. 

Cheers from Zagreb!

You can check out some of Grgo's dialect videos on his channel above - they are excellent. 

We both thought the unthinkable - what about bringing the  Professor to Zagreb to meet Grgo to do a special lesson, perhaps with one of Grgo's own dialect specialist. Someone like the lovely Martina, who Grgo literally discovered living in a forest (ok, in a village in a forest) in Zagorje. 

Below is the result - and I am genuinely interested to hear how many Croats can understand the dialects spoken by Martina and the Professor.


You can see the rest of the Professor's iconic language series on the dedicated TCN YouTube playlist.  

And now a little more about Grgo and his projects. If you would like to cooperate with him, you can reach him via his graphic design website.  

Documented short interviews of Čakavski and Kajkavski dialects ... around the coast, islands, and Zagorje...mostly me asking questions in standard, them answering) ... I used to do research on the local dialect, talk to the linguists and local enthusiasts who connected me with interesting local speakers ... camera into my backpack and off we go!

Imbra Houstovnjak - kajkavski fantasy book and a master project at the School of Design, ZG ... the one I hope to publish this year as a bilingual's the original PDF available for reading. The goal was to give the Kaj-Croats a story in their mother tongue due to lack of the same, and connect the regions as, despite the differences, all of them can understand it. (Got positive feedback from a few schools in Zagorje that children read it with delight)

Imbra Houstovnjak across Croatia (same story in different dialect)

Imbra Houstovnjak Animated Audio book (first part) - a 5-minute video on YouTube with text, illustrations and narration by Martina Premor (the girl with Šumski dijalekt)

Priča o jednom Kaju (A story of Kaj) - illustrated educational picture book about the history and use of Kajkavski language in Northern Croatia. Teamwork with Croatian linguist Bojana Schubert from Ludbreg - approved by the Ministry of Education for the elementary schools. Published last year.

Croatian local Identity through original souvenirs - illustrated and designed popular merch with some of the local Zagreb, Kajkavski and Čakavski phrases with the help of local community...  the webshop and the whole project is partially incognito as it's slowly developing in the background (working on packaging and finding local stores).

Moj prvi abecedar - a first Kajkavski illustrated alphabet for children with words from various dialects. Student project. Also in the line for funding hahaha (but Imbra Houstovnjak is a priority)


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

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Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Monday, 28 November 2022

Exploring Croatian - A Brief History of the Istro-Romanian Language

November the 28th, 2022 - Have you ever heard of any Balkan-Romance languages other than Romanian? Unless you happen to be a linguist, the term is probably somewhat alien to you, especially given the fact that the languages spoken across much of the region (but not all of it) are Slavic. Let's get better acquainted with the sparsely spoken Istro-Romanian language.

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously. That goes without even mentioning much about old Dalmatian, Zaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

Istria in particular is full of culture, and its rather complex historic relationship with Italy and in particular with the formerly powerful Venice has a lot to answer for in this regard. That brings us to a language that actually has nothing to do with Venetian, and is only spoken by people who call themselves Rumeni or sometimes Rumeri. It can only now be heard in very few rather obscure locations and with less than an estimated 500 speakers of it left, the Istro-Romanian language is deemed to be seriously endangered by UNESCO's Red Book of Endangered Languages.

Who are the Istro-Romanian people?

The Istro-Romanians are an ethnic group from the Istrian peninsula (but they aren't necessarily native) and they once inhabited much of it, including parts of the island of Krk. It's important to note that the term ''Istro-Romanian'' itself is a little controversial to many, and most people who identify as such do not use the term, preferring instead to use the names taken from their villages. Those hamlets and small settlements are Letaj, Zankovci, the wider Brdo area, Zeljane, Nova Vas, Jesenovik, Kostrcani and Susnjevica.

Many of them left to begin their lives in either larger Croatian cities or indeed in other countries as the industrialisation of Istria in the then Yugoslavia progressed at a rather rapid pace. Following Istrian modernisation which had enormous amounts of resources pumped into it by the state, the number of Istro-Romanian people began to dwindle rather significantly, until they could only really be found in a handful of settlements.

The origins of the Istro-Romanian people are disputed, with some claiming they came from Romania, and others claiming that they arrived originally from Serbia. Regardless, they have been present in Istria for centuries and despite efforts from both the Romanian and Croatian governments to preserve their culture and language - the Istro-Romanian people are still not classed as a national minitory under current Croatian law.

Back to the Istro-Romanian language

Like many dying languages, the Istro-Romanian language was once much more widely spoken across the Istrian peninsula, more precisely in the nothwestern parts near the Cicarija mountain range. There are two groups of speakers despite the fact that the language spoken by both is more or less absolutely identical, the Vlahi and the Cici, the former coming from the south side of the Ucka mountain, and the latter coming from the north side.

Back in 1921, when the then Italian census was being carried out, 1,644 people claimed they were speakers of the Istro-Romanian language, with that figure having been deemed to actually be around 3,000 about 5 years later. Fast forward to 1998, the number of people who could speak it was estimated to stand at a mere 170 individuals, most of them being bi or trilingual (along with Croatian and Italian).

The thing that will be sticking out like a sore thumb to anyone who knows anything about language families - the fact that this is called a Balkan-Romance language. While it is classified as such, the Istro-Romanian language has definitely seen a significant amount of influence from an array of other languages, with approximately half of the words used drawing their origins from standard Croatian as we know it today. It also draws a few from Venetian, Slovenian, Old Church Slavonic and about 25% or so from Latin.

Istro-Romanian is very similar to Romanian, and to anyone who doesn't speak either but is familiar with the sound, they could easily be confused. Both the Istro-Romanian language and Romanian itself belong to the Balkan-Romance family of languages, having initially descended from what is known as Proto-Romanian. That said, some loanwords will be obvious to anyone familiar with Dalmatian, suggesting that this ethnic group lived on the Dalmatian coast (close to the Velebit mountain range, judging by the words used) before settling in Istria.

Most of the people who belong to this ethnic group were very poor peasants and had little to no access to formal education until the 20th century, meaning that there is unfortunately very little literature in the Istro-Romanian language to be found, with the first book written entirely in it having been published way back in 1905. Never used in the media, with the number of people who speak it declining at an alarming rate and with Croatian (and indeed Italian) having swamped Istria linguistically, it's unlikely you'll ever hear it spoken. Some who belong to this ethnic group who live in the diaspora can speak it, but that is also on a downward trajectory.

This language has been described as the smallest ethnolinguistic group in all of Europe, and without a lot more effort being put into preservation, the next few decades to come will almost certainly result in the complete extinction of the Istro-Romanians and their language.

For more on the Croatian language, dialects, subdialects and history, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Exploring Croatian - A Brief History of the Istriot Language

November the 14th, 2022 - You've likely heard of Istrian, but have you heard of the Istriot language? This very, very sparsely spoken language remains the tongue of around 400 people in the southwestern part of the Istrian peninsula, and is a Romance language of the Italo-Dalmatian branch of languages.

I know I've said it before (probably a few dozen times, actually), but for such a geographically small country, Croatia boasts a seriously impressive number of dialects, subdialects and yes, even languages in their own right as some linguists argue. We've explored old Dalmatian words which are unfortunately close to extinction, the main dialects which make up standard Croatian as we know it today, Shtokavian, Cakavian and Kajkavian, as well as the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan), and even some much more obscure ones such as Zaratin, which was once widely spoken in and around Zadar, but is rarely heard anymore - if at all.

Many people will think of gorgeous Istria and its fairy tale hilltop towns, rolling hills and popular wine and truffles as a place in which people generally speak Croatian or Italian. After all, all the signs are bilingual, and Istria and Italy have had a... let's say... rather complex relationship over the years. It makes sense that the Italian influence is strong in that part of Croatia, and indeed it is. But it isn't quite that simple.

So, back to the Istriot language, which, as I stated, is spoken by a very small number of people in southwestern Istria, mainly in Vodnjan and Rovinj and shouldn't be confused with the Venetian ''inspired'' Istrian dialect, or with Istro-Romanian. The Istriot language is something that is very much its own and draws its roots directly from medieval Latin. That doesn't mean there aren't arguments from linguists and other experts about what it actually is, however. The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History placed it in the Dalmatian Romance subgroup back in 2017, but of course, not everyone agrees, and many people (this includes multiple experts) classify it quite differently. 

I should also stated that historically speaking, it was never actually referred to as the Istriot language until the 19th century, but rather by giving reference to the locations in which it is (or in some cases was) spoken. Just six towns in Istria spoke it, and they were Vodnjan (Bumbaro) and Rovinj (Rovignese), Bale (Vallese), Sisan (Sissanese), Galizana (Gallesanese) and Fazana (Fasanese).

When Istria was part of Italy, the Istriot language was deemed to merely be a Venetian subdialect, but many now consider it an independent language of its own, and for the purposes of this article, I'm going to be calling it the Istriot language. Those who consider it to be entirely independent classify it as an Italo-Dalmatian language, which many people accept it to be. Others consider it to be a Romance language influenced by Friulian, Venetian and Slavic speech. Some consider it to be an independent Northern Italian language which doesn't belong to the Venetian language whatsoever. Others classify it as a variety of the Rhaeto-Romance languages, and Antonio Ive, an Istriot himself, believes that to be the case.

So, as you can see, it's far from simple and the fact that a mere 400 people speak it in very specific locations today doesn't alter the fact that debates still take place over the Istiot language, its origins, or its influences. It was of course once significantly more widely spoken, and the term ''Istriot language'' was, as stated, given back during the 19th century when an Italian linguist, Graziado Isaia Ascoli, first called it that. It is classed as an endangered language which is at real risk of becoming extinct very quickly, and the reason is obvious. With an estimated number of speakers at just 400, it won't be long until the Istriot language enters the same history books as Zaratin went to.

Despite its endangered status, attempts have been made at trying to rescue this language from the cruel hands of time, and in order to preserve and promote the Istriot language, the Istriot Dialect Festival was organised, which has been being held every year since 2013, where other traditional Istrian items can be enjoyed, including locally made cakes.


For more on the Croatian language, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Zagorje, Međimurje, Samobor and More - The Northwestern Kajkavian Dialect

November the 2nd, 2022 - Iva Lukezic, an expert in the Croatian language and in dialects, states that what's known as the Zagorje-Međimurje dialect or the Northwestern Kajkavian dialect is one of the main dialects of the wider Kajkavian dialect. This manner of speaking is primarily characterised by the preservation of what's known as ''basic Kajkavian accentuation''.

We've looked into enough dialects and subdialects of the Croatian language to realise there's much more to the language spoken in this country than what's now known as standard Croatian. From the Dubrovnik subdialect with its Florentine and Venetian roots, and learning about Kajkavian and Chakavian, to old Dalmatian which is sadly dying with the last generations to speak it, the regional way of speaking across Croatia is extremely varied for such a small country.

Did you know that in some cases it gets a bit more complicated than the three ''main ways'' of speaking (Kajkavian, Chakavian and Shtokavian)? There of course regionalities and variations within each of those, too, and let's not even get started on the words only spoken on certain islands. Let's take a look at the Northwestern Kajkavian dialect, which encompasses several areas of modern Croatian territory.

It is spoken in the border areas of Croatia from Slovenia and Hungary (around Kotoriba below Nagykanizsa and in Prekodravlje) all the way to the City of Zagreb. The Northwestern Kajkavian dialect can be divided into several sub-dialects; spoken in Samobor, Međimurje, Varaždin-Ludbreš, Bednjan-Zagorje and Gornjosutlan. There are some linguists and other experts in the Croatian language and in dialects who consider each of the ways of speaking in the aforementioned locations to be dialects in their own right, and not merely subdialects.

Veering off to be even more specific for a second, it's worth mentioning that the local Bednja(n) dialect is considered to actually be the oldest form of the Kajkavian proto-dialect. 

The Bednjan dialect is spoken by the inhabitants of the municipality of Bednja, which, in addition to Bednja itself, encompasses the areas of Pleš, Šaša, Vrbno, Trakošćan (which you'll likely know of thanks to its stunning castle), Benkovec, Rinkovec, Prebukovje, and so on. The Bednjan dialect isn't completely isolated, and most of its main features are also found in certain neighbouring areas like Lepoglava, Kamenica, and especially in Jesenje.

In scientific circles, Bednja speech is unfairly neglected, which makes it all the more important to mention the professor and dialectologist Josip Jedvaj, born in Šaša, who published the most precise and comprehensive study on the Bednjan speech so far in the Croatian Dialectological Collection, which is considered one of the best descriptions of one of the organic forms of speech of this part of the country. The people of the municipality of Bednja named a district school in Vrbno and a street in Bednja after him as a thank you for his efforts to preserve the Bednja language and not let it be lost to the often cruel hands of time, as has been the case for many words spoken in old Dalmatian.

Given the fact that the Northwestern Kajkavian dialect encompasses a fair few places, some (if not most) of which will have variations in their own locally spoken words, we'll look at some more standard words used in this dialect, some of which are still used, and some of which might well be being forgotten in areas like Međimurje and beyond. Some can still be heard in Zagreb, even. I'll provide their standard Croatian and English translations.

Astal - table/stol

Bajka - a thick winter coat/deblji zimski kaput

Cafuta - a prostitute/prostitutka (kurva)

De - where/gdje

Eroplan - plane/avion

Fajna - good looking or pretty/lijepa, fina ili zgodna

Gda - when/kad(a)

Harijada - when something is busy, unorganised or overcrowded/guzva, nered ili cirkus

Jagar - hunter/lovac

Kalamper (kalampir) - potato/krumpir

Laboda - ball/lopta

Marelo - umbrella/kisobran

Nemorut - someone who is useless, lazy or good for nothing/beskoristan ili lijen

Ober - above/iznad

Palamuditi - to talk shit or say stupid things/pricati gluposti

Raca - duck/patka

Senje or senji - dreams/snovi

Tolvaj - thief/lopov

Untik dosta - more than enough/vise nego dovoljno

Venodjati - to have sex or make love/voditi ljubav

Zajtrak (sometimes zajtrek or zojtrak) - breakfast/dorucak


For more on the Croatian language, from learning how to swear in Croatian to learning about the various dialects, subdialects and history of the language, make sure to keep up with our language articles in our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Learning Croatian: Articles of Clothing in Hvar Dialect (VIDEO)

February 13, 2021 - Continuing our look at the Croatian language through Hvar dialect, some important things to know about articles of clothing, with a cameo appearance from a famous winemaker.

Learning Croatian on a Dalmatian island is not recommended, unless you find a teacher who can teach you classic Croatian rather than the local dialect. It was a lesson I learned at great cost when I went to Zagreb some time later, only to find out that my shiny new Croatian words were actually unintelligible to most people who were not from Hvar.  

Add to that the famous Dalmatian Grunt, perfected by the one and only Frank John Dubokovich, and the concept of a video series on Hvar dialect was born.  As previously mentioned, the original YouTube series dating back to 2011 was taken down for some reason, but some of it has survived on an old camera. 

Today's lesson is probably my favourite, focusing on articles of clothing in Hvar dialect. Over the years, the lessons achieved something of a cult status on Jelsa's main square, and various people were quick to add their expertise, sometimes even to contradict the great Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects. 

The other problem, which was probably linked to the number of cold ones consumed prior to recording, was that filming (always one take only) often coincided with the ringing of the midday church bells. This week's episode descended into chaos, with a combination of those bells, as well as the linguistic intervention of the Three Wise Men, including legendary Jelsa winemaker, Andro Tomic. 

You can subscribe to the TCN Talks YouTube channel for the latest language instructions from The Professor. 

For the latest news from the island of Hvar, check out the dedicated TCN Hvar section.

Looking to improve your Croatian as a foreigner? 25 Mistakes Foreigners Make When Speaking Croatian.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Learning Croatian: How Do People from Hvar, Dubrovnik Understand Each Other?

February 5, 2021 - Croatia is a country full of dialects. How do the people of Hvar and Dubrovnik understand each other, for example? The latest Hvar dialect lesson from Professor Frank John Dubokovich. 

My Croatian is by no means fluent but I get by pretty well and am happy to do television interviews in Croatian, for example (much to the amusement of locals), but when I moved from Hvar to Varazdin four years ago, I thought I had entered a different country.  The Varazdin dialect was REALLY hard to follow after being brought up on Dalmatian. 

Things are a little better these days, but I still struggle a lot, and I do look in wonder at my kids who switch effortlessly between the two during the school holidays back in Jelsa. 

The dialects of Croatia have fascinated me, even since we started a fun Hvar dialect video series with the self-styled linguistic colossus, Professor Frank John Dubokovich back in 2011. His iconic Dalmatian Grunt, above, took the Internet by storm, quickly racking up 50,000 views before the channel was removed by YouTube for reasons unknown. 

We are now reintroducing some of the original videos which I came across offline last year. As the series developed, we invited people visiting from other parts of the country to take part, so that we could compare the dialects of Hvar and that region with the classic Croatian dialect. 

In the latest episode, we were delighted to welcome a Dubrovnik resident to the Total Office in Jelsa, and we put The Professor, our Dubrovnik guest and classic Croatian speaker through their paces with a range of phrases to highlight some of the differences. 

It is hard for me as a foreigner to recognise that they are all speaking the same language. How about you?

For more linguistic genius from Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, subscribe to the YouTube channel. 

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Learning Croatian: the Hvar Dialect Language of Love

January 30, 2021 - Visiting Hvar and looking for the perfect language of love? Help is at hand in the latest in our Hvar dialect series with Professor Frank John Dubokovich.

Within a week of moving to Hvar all those years ago, I had met the girl of my dreams in the library in Jelsa and have been married to her for many years now. As such, I have never had any need for the language of love, Hvar-style, that is the focus of this week's lesson in Hvar dialect from Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects. 

The Professor, you may recall, became an Internet sensation several years ago when his iconic Dalmatian grunt was unleashed on an unsuspecting public, quickly racking up over 50,000 views before YouTube removed it for reasons unknown. 

The Professor is the most successful man with the ladies I have ever met on all my travels to almost 100 countries in my 51 years, and while it is tempting to assume the Dalmatian grunt instantly melts female hearts, it turns out that the Professor has a whole arsenal of Hvar dialect terms dedicated to the language of love.  

In this week's episode, which was recorded in early 2013 and is now once more back online, the Professor is joined by Hvar tour guide Dijana Moskatelo, whose classic Croatian phrases of the language of love seem to be a lot more comprehensible than the Professor's utterances. But who am I to judge? 

If you would like to learn more about the dialect words spoken on Hvar, we are slowly restoring the popular series from the early days of Total Hvar to YouTube. You can subscribe to the TCN Talks YouTube channel for the latest updates. 

For the latest news from Hvar,  check out the dedicated TCN section

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Learning Croatian Vegetables the Hvar Dialect Way (VIDEO)

January 23, 2021 - Continuing our alternative look at the Croatian language through Hvar dialect, this week Professor Frank John Dubokovich shows us his moves in the mysterious world of learning Croatian vegetables.

I sometimes wonder how Croatians from other parts of the country understand each other. I know that all countries have dialects and dialect words, but Croatia seems to take the regional vocabulary to a different level. 

One of the fun projects in the early years of the Total Project, before TCN, was an occasional language series on Total Hvar looking at the Hvar dialect compared to standard Croatian with Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects. 

What started out as a bit of fun with the infamous Dalmatian Grunt in the first episode above, quickly got quite a following, with more than 50,000 views for that first article. About 20 more videos followed until they were taken down by YouTube for reasons unknown.  

We continue to restore the Professor's linguistic colossus to the Internet with the latest in the series, a rather illuminating look at the differences in various words on the subject of vegetables and how they differ between standard Croatian and Hvar dialect. 

The Professor confessed to me before shooting this lesson that there was something about the Hvar dialect word for 'aubergine' that made his want to get up and dance. He was even kind enough to demonstrate some of his moves during the lesson. 

With thanks to Zdravko for his more understandable version for those learning Croatian vegetables, as well as to Marion in her role as Executive Aubergine Holder. 

You can follow more of the linguistic musings of the Professor as the series develops by subscribing to the TCN Talks YouTube channel

For the very latest from the island of Hvar, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Learning Croatian: The Months of the Year v Hvar Dialect

December 27, 2020 - Continuing our look at the Croatian language through the unique viewpoint of Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, time to learn the months of the year.

One of the many things that baffled me when learning Croatian during my time in Jelsa were the months of the year. 

With every language I have learned (or perhaps, more accurately, attempted to learn), the days of the week and months of the year were usually one of the earliest - and easiest - things to master. 

Not so with Croatian, or should I say the version of Croatian I was exposed to. 

And it seemed that I was not alone, and that locals seemed to get a little confused too. At first I thought it was due to the fact that the use of the months of the year in modern Croatian were being deliberately used to move away from Serbo-Croat, in the same way that 'aerodrom' was replaced by 'zracna luka' (literally 'air harbour'), and there were wonderful Croatian versions of Serbo-Croatia - listopad (leaves falling) rather than Oktober being my favourite.

But over time, I realised that it was just the way that people speak here, especially in dialect. Rather than refer to June by its real name, I would often here 'sesti mjesec' or 'sixth month.'

My experience of learning Croatia was hardly classical Croatian grammar at its finest. My main teacher was a man in my local cafe, who went on to become christened Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects. The Professor's iconic Dalmatian Grunt, above, amassed 50,000 views on YouTube back in 2013 and inspired an alternative language series with the Professor's teachings, which was mysteriously removed by YouTube a few years ago.  

I chanced upon some of the original footage recently, and so I am posting the lessons once more, in the hope that the Professor can inspire a new generation. Today, we look at the months  of the year, comparing the months of the year in standard Croatia and Hvar dialect. Did the Professor simply run out of words, or do you think he was demonstrating his prowess at counting?

You can follow more of the Professor's linguistic genius on our YouTube channel.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Learning Croatian: Did the English Language Originate from Hvar Dialect?

December 17, 2020 - Continuing our alternative look at the Croatian language with linguisitic colossus Professor Frank John Dubokovich, is the English language actually derived from Hvar dialect?

One of the most popular features in the early years of Total Hvar, the precursor to TCN, was an impromptu language series I recorded with my good friend, Frank John Dubokovich, with whom I would share a late morning cold one each day on the square in Jelsa. 

Frankie, of Jelsa stock but born and raised in New Zealand until his family moved back to Hvar when he was 8, is trilingual, although there is a case for saying not all of his language is understandable. He is fluent in English, Croatian and the very unique Hvar dialect. And it was his expertise in Hvar dialect that catapulted him first to a national televsion audience, and then to an international one, as he gave Croatian language lessons - at least his version of Croatia - to participants of a British reality TV show.  

Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, as he quickly became known, was an Internet hit, with more than 50,000 views on his iconic Dalmatian grunt, before YouTube removed my channel for some reason. 

Thankfully, I came across some offline versions of some of the Professor's teachings recently, and TCN is gradually reintroducing these linguistic treasures to the online world.  

Today's lesson shows the depth of the Professor's intellect and capacity for detailed research.  After toying around with his Hvar dialect, the Professor noted a number of similiarities between Hvar dialect and the English language. He enlisted the assisted of Jelsa Mayor, Niksa Peronja, to present his findings to his faithful audience. You can see the results in the video above - conclusive stuff. 

The only thing left to explore is the following conundrum. Were English speakers the first inhabitants of Hvar,  or is Hvar dialect actually the birth of the Croatian language?

You can see more of the Professor's linguistic genious on the TCN Talks YouTube channel

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