Croatian 101

Croatian, like most other Slavic languages has a rich system of inflection. Pronouns, nouns, adjectives and some numerals decline (change the word ending to reflect case, i.e. grammatical category and function), while verbs conjugate for person and tense.

Nouns have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) that correspond to a certain extent with the word ending, so that most nouns ending in -a are feminine, -o and -e neutral and the rest mostly masculine with a small but important class of feminines. Grammatical gender of a noun affects the morphology of other parts of speech (adjectives, pronouns and verbs) attached to it.

Verbs are divided into two broad classes according to their aspect, which can be either perfective (signifying a completed action) or imperfective (action is incomplete or repetitive). There are seven tenses, four of which (present, perfect, future I and II) are used in contemporary standard Croatian, with the other three (aorist, imperfect and plusquamperfect) considered stylistically marked and archaic.

Language examples

Notturno (A. G. Matoš)

Mlačna noć; u selu lavež; kasan
Ćuk il netopir;
Ljubav cvijeća - miris jak i strasan
Slavi tajni pir.

Sitni cvrčak sjetno cvrči, jasan
Kao srebren vir;
Teške oči sklapaju se na san,
S neba rosi mir.

S mrkog tornja bat
Broji pospan sat,
Blaga svjetlost sipi sa visina;

Kroz samoću, muk,
Sve je tiši huk:
Željeznicu guta već daljina.

The Lord's Prayer

Oče naš, koji jesi na nebesima,
sveti se ime Tvoje.
Dođi kraljevstvo Tvoje,
budi volja Tvoja,
kako na Nebu, tako i na Zemlji.
Kruh naš svagdanji daj nam danas,
i otpusti nam duge naše,
kako i mi otpuštamo dužnicima našim.
I ne uvedi nas u napast,
nego izbavi nas od zla.