Croatian/Main Contents/Fundamentals

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The Croatian alphabet

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Croatian is an easy language to spell and pronounce. Each letter is pronounced separately and clearly in any position and each word is spelt as it is pronounced.

The Croatian alphabet is a "subset" of the Latin alphabet and consists of 30 letters.

The following table lists all of the letters, together with pronunciations and "as in..." notes for easier pronunciation.

Note: Because of their similarity in pronucation, most Croatian children don't learn to differ Č and Ć, Đ and DŽ or "je" and "ije" before fifth grade.

Croatian alphabet
Letter Name Pronunciation Note Example
A a a [a] like "a" in "arc" of the word Ana.ogg Ana (Anna)
B b be [b] like "b" in "brother" of the word Baka.ogg baka (grandma)
C c ce [ʦ] like "ts" in "cats" or "zz" in "pizza" of the word Car.ogg car (emperor)
Č č če [ʧ] like "ch" in "church" of the word Cokolada.ogg čokolada (chocolate)
Ć ć će [ʨ] like "tch" in "gotcha", or like "ch" with the top of the tongue slightly forward of the word Poci.ogg poći (to go somewhere, to depart)
D d de [d] like "d" in "day" of the word Dan.ogg dan (day)
DŽ dž dže [ʤ] like "j" in "John", "jungle" of the word Dzungla.ogg džungla (jungle)
Đ đ đe [ʥ] like "dy" in "didya eat yet?", or "j" with the top of the tongue slightly forward of the word Djak.ogg đak (pupil)
E e e [e] like "e" in "bed", or like "ea" in "head" [1] meso (meat)
F f ef [f] like "f" in "fast", or like "ph" in "photo" [2] film (film)
G g ge [g] like "g" in "go" [3] garaža (garage)
H h ha [x] like "kh" in "khan", or like "ch" in "loch" [4] hoću (I will)
I i i [i] like "e" in "he", or like "y" ih "lorry", "factory" [5] imati (to have)
J j j, je, jot, ju [j] like "y" in yes" [6] jaje (egg)
K k ka [k] like "k" in "key", or like "c" in "cat" [7] kotač (wheel)
L l el [l] like "l" in "love" [8] livada (field, meadow)
LJ lj elj [ʎ] like "ll" in "million", "brilliant", [9] ljubav (love)
M m em [m] like "m" In "mother", "milk" [10] mama (mummy)
N n en [n] like "n" in "no", or "kn" in "knob" [11] nada (hope)
NJ nj enj [ɲ] like "ny" in "canyon", or like "n" in "onion" [12] njuška (snout)
O o o [o] like "o" in "no" or "omen" of the word Ovo.ogg ovo (this)
P p pe [p] like "p" in "pot" [13] opet (again)
R r er [r] roiled, rhotic "r", like "r" in Scottish, Irish and some rural English dialects [14] ruka (arm)
S s es [s] like "s" in "stop", or "ss" in "bless", or like "c" in "cell" [15] sreća (happiness)
Š š [ʃ] like "sh" in "shy", or like "s" in "sure" [16] šešir (hat)
T t te [t] like "t" in "top" [17] tata (daddy)
U u u [u] like "oo" in "food", but it is pronounced short of the word Uho.ogg uho (ear)
V v ve [v] like "v" in "vest" [18] veza (connection, relationship)
Z z ze [z] like "z" in "zebra", or like "s" in "reason" [19] Zagreb (Zagreb)
Ž ž že [ʒ] like "s" in "pleasure", or "zh" in foreign names (Russian, Chinese, etc.) such as "Zhivago" [20] žaba (frog)

To oversimplify, remember six rules:

1. For the "c" without a hat, remember "cats." In English we pronounce the cat's head ("c") but in Croatian the tail is pronounced ("ts").

2. A hat on a "c," "s," or "z" becomes an English "ch," "sh," or "zh." Pronounce "ć" like "č" if you think no one expects Americans to speak foreign languages correctly.

3. DŽ is an English "j," as in "John." If you pronounce "Đ" and "đ" the same way, note rule #2.

4. For "h" pretend you're Scottish and saying "loch" or German saying "Bach."

5. The "i" and "u" vowels are always long, never short.

6. The "j" is pronounced like "y" in English.

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