To communicate clearly in Croatian, it is important to know both the correct pronunciation and intonation of the words and sentences you are using. You can read our blog post on basic Croatian pronunciation here.
As with any language, the best way to learn the correct pronunciation and intonation is to listen to native speakers speaking. You can search the internet and find plenty of videos in Croatian and made by Croatians, or movies for you or your children.
In the meantime, here are some rules to help you understand the basics!
Each vowel can be either kratak (short) or dug (long) and there are two types of stress, uzlazni (rising) and silazni (falling). The accent is a combination of length and stress. Because of this, there are four standard types of accents in the Croatian language: short falling, short rising, long falling and long raising.
Generally, these accents aren’t marked when writing Croatian, but in this post we will use the markings explicitly to help depict the difference between them:
mač (sword) → mȁč
naš (our) → nȁš
brat (brother) → brȁt
kuća(house) → kȕća
čist (clean) → čȉst
put (path) → pȗt
ključ (key) → kljȗč
moj (my) → mȏj
glup (stupid) → glȗp
jak (strong) → jȃk
noga (leg) → nòga
kišovit (rainy) → kišòvit
otvoriti (to open) → otvòriti
danas (today) → dànas
ljepota (beauty) → ljepòta
tužan (sad) → túžan
majoneza (mayonnaise) → majonéza
napisati (to write) → napísati
svirati (to play and instrument) → svírati
čokolada (chocolate) → čokoláda
As in many other countries and with many other languages, each Croatian region has its own unique rules/exceptions for pronouncing words – for Croatians it’s easy to immediately guess where someone’s from as soon as he or she starts to speak.
moć (power) → mȏć → long falling
mač (sword) → mȁč → short falling
trg (square) → tȑg → short falling
stol (table) → stȏl → long falling
žena (woman) → žèna → short rising
kuća (house) → kȕća → short falling
baka (grandma) → báka → long rising
meso (meat) → mȇso → long falling
razmišljati (to think) → razmíšljati → long rising
inteligentan (intelligent) → inteligèntan → short rising
prijestolonasljednik (heir to the thorne) → prijestolonásljednik → long rising
otorinolaringologija (otorhinolaryngology) → otorinolaringològija → short rising
By scheduling a free trial lesson you have the opportunity to find out more about the features of our online course. You can see the virtual classroom and meet your teacher in person, whereby you can find out whether online lessons suit you.