14 Croatian words that change around the country

Learning Croatian is a challenge. It’s a very hard language to learn, especially if you’re a native English speaker.

Absorbing this complex language is further complicated by dialect. Croatia has 3 main dialects, but there are many sub-dialects with vocabulary that changes from county to county, village to village, island to island and sometimes, neighborhood to neighborhood. When using certain words you’d never say they are synonyms – they have no links.

In this post, we summed up some of the frequently used words in Croatia and their variations in different parts of the country – so they won’t come as quite the shock when you hear them.

Jump to a word:

  1. bok
  2. djevojka
  3. grah
  4. hvala
  5. novac
  6. ograda
  7. partikl
  8. prijatelj
  9. suknja
  10. stube
  11. torba
  12. udariti
  13. zaimač
  14. žniranac

The facts are these…

#1 Bok

Meaning: Hi

Variations:
alo
bog
bok
bokić (diminutive)
ćao – Dalmatia, Istria
ej
haj
halo
hej
oj
zdravo

[Read: All the ways to say “Hi” and “Bye“ in Croatian]

#2 Djevojka

Meaning: girl

Variations:
dekla – Hrvatsko zagorje
dikla
divojka – Dalmatia, Istria
djevojka – Standard Croatian language
cura
curetak (diminutive)
puca – Hrvatsko zagorje, Međimurje
seka – Slavonia
snaša – Slavonia

#3 Grah

Meaning: beans

Variations:
bažul –  Hrvatsko zagorje
bažulj – Hrvatsko zagorje
fažol – Istria
fažolet
fižol
grah – Standard Croatian language
pasulj

#4 Hvala

Meaning: thanks

Variations:
fala
fala lipa – Dalmatia
fala lipo
hvala – Standard Croatian language
hvala lijepa
hvala lijepo
hvala puno
hvala ti
najljepša hvala
zahvaljujem

#5 Novac

Meaning: money

Variations:
keš
kinta
lova
novac – Standard Croatian language
novčeki (diminutive)
novčići (diminutive)
pare
penazi – Hrvatsko zagorje
penezi – Hrvatsko zagorje
perje
šoldi – Dalmatia
šuške

[Read: How to transfer money to Croatia from abroad]

#6 Ograda

Meaning: fence

Variations:
lesa – Hrvatsko zagorje, Međimurje
kapija – Slavonia
ograda – Standard Croatian language
plot
ulaz – Standard Croatian language
vrata – Standard Croatian language

Image by Teška lingvistika

#7 Partikl

Meaning: bib

Variations:
babajol – Primorje
babarin – Dalmatia
balavac
banbarolac
barbajol – Primorje
barbajolčić – Primorje
barbijol
bavarin – Dalmatia
baverin – Dalmatia
brabajol – Primorje
kecelja
opršnjak
partek – Podravina
partihla
partikl – Standard Croatian language
partikla – Moslavina, Slavonia
partiklica – Slavonia
partlek – Međimurje
podbradak
podbradnik
siperak
slinavac – Lika
slinček – Hrvatsko zagorje, Lika, Zagreb
slinčić – Lika
žbravijol – Pag

#8 Prijatelj

Meaning: friend

Variations:
drug
frend
kolega
kompa
lega
pajdaš
pajdo
prijatel – Hrvatsko zagorje
prijatelj – Standard Croatian language
prika – Dalmacija

#9 Suknja

Meaning: skirt

Variations:
kiklja – Hrvatsko zagorje
suknja – Standard Croatian language
šos
kitla
kotul – Istria
oprava – Hrvatsko zagorje
brhan – Istria

#10 Stube

Meaning: stairs

Variations:
skale – Dalmatia
skaline – Dalmatia
stepenice
stube – Standard Croatian language
štenge – Hrvatsko zagorje
škale – Istria
škaline – Istria

#11 Torba

Meaning: bag

Variations:
borsa – Dalmatia
borša – Istria
boršeta
ceker
kesa
taška – Hrvatsko zagorje, Međimurje
taškica
torba – Standard Croatian language
torbica (diminutive)
vreća
vrećica

#12 Udariti

Meaning: to hit

Variations:
bubnuti – Međimurje
jeknuti – Hrvatsko zagorje
lupiti – Standard Croatian language
mlatnuti
pogoditi
seknuti
tresnuti
treviti – Istria
trupit
vudriti – Hrvatko zagorje

Image by Teška lingvistika

#13 Zaimač

Meaning: ladle

Variations:
grabilica – Slavonia
grabljača – Slavonia
kaciol – Zadar
kaciola – Istria, Dalmatia
kacjol – Istria
kacola – Dalmatia
kačica – Dubrovnik
kačola – Dalmaia
karcivola – Dalmatia
kašika – Slavonia
kutal – Dalmatia
kutljača – Slavonia
pajić – Istria
palj – Primorje
paljak – Lika, Primorje
šefarka – Lika
šefla – Međimurje
šeflenka – Slavonia
šeflja – Hrvatsko zagorje, Zagreb
šeflica – Međimurje
šieflja – Hrvatsko zagorje
zaimač – Standard Croatian language
zaimača

#14 Žniranac

Meaning: shoelace

Variations:
pertla
šnjura
špigeta – Dalmatia
vezica – Standard Croatian language
žniranac – Hrvatsko zagorje
žnjiranac

View our other Croatian vocabulary posts


Sources: 
https://www.srednja.hr/svastara
https://www.facebook.com/kajkavskirjecnik/
https://www.facebook.com/teskalingvistika

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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