[Logo] Pronunciation / Izgovor

CroLang Editors gratefully acknowledge the help of Mr. Gary L. Giblin, who kindly provided the linguistic information for this page, the alphabet transcription, and improved the style and grammar. 1/97

The Croatian language comprises three main dialect groups. Of these, the tokavian group contains the greatest number of speakers. The tokavian group itself comprises three separate dialects, traditionally distinguished by their treatment of the Common Slavic vowel "e-hacheck". The Ijekavian dialect, so called because Common Slavic "e-hacheck" emerged as "(i)je", is the basis for standard literary Croatian. The forms described in these pages will generally be understood by speakers of other dialects, including those who speak the closely-related "Bosnian" and Serbian languages.

1. Orthography

Croatian orthography is largely phonemic, which means that each phoneme--or distinctive sound--is represented by a single letter and each letter, in turn, generally represents a single sound. This contrasts dramatically with the English version of the Roman alphabet, in which a single letter may represent several different sounds (cf. the value of "u"in the words "cup", "rude" "dull" [American English] and "cute"), while a single sound may be spelled in several different ways (cf. the words "flu", "glue", "to", "too", "two", "shoe", "through", all with the identical vowel /u/.). The Croatian phonemes described below, as well as in the table representing the Croatian alphabet, are unambiguously transcribed in the symbols of the International Phonetic Association.

2. Accent (Stress)

Standard Croatian does not employ the so-called "tonic accent" of other South Slavic dialects. Rather, Croatian employs simple word stress, which is somewhat "lighter" than the relatively "heavy" stress of English, German or Russian. In two-syllable words, stress generally falls on the first syllable; in words of three or more syllables, stress may fall on any syllable except the last.

3. Sounds

The sounds of Croatian are compared to similar sounds in British and American English, as well as other widely spoken European languages.


There are six vowels in Croatian, not counting diphthongs formed with the semi-vowel "j". Stressed vowels tend to be pronounced more clearly and distinctly than their unstressed counterparts.


There are 25 consonant phonemes:

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Last update: Fri Feb 21 14:54:54 CST 1997