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Čakavian - Croatian literary language

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Čakavian - Croatian literary language

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Note: A Project was created by: Ivo Lušić

Before the modern (Neoštokavian-based) Croatian standard language was adopted, the Croatian linguistic area had known many different writing traditions. Among them, the practice of using the Latin alphabet for producing texts on a coastal or insular Čakavian basis is among the most colorful. It will be referred to here as “Classical Čakavian” (NB - the Glagolitic and bosanica scripts were also used, beginning from the 12th century until the late 19th century, and are the earliest examples of Čakavian, predating the Latin Script “Classical Čakavian” examples given below.). One can get some idea of the important place Classical Čakavian occupied for several centuries by looking at the impressive list of firsts to which it gave rise:

  • The earliest running text in Croatian written in the Latin alphabet is the Classical Čakavian Zadar “Red i zakon” of 1345.
  • The earliest Croatian book printed in the Latin alphabet is the Classical Čakavian Lectionary of 1495, better known as “Bernardinov Lekcionar”.
  • The earliest extended piece of original secular literature written in Croatian to be printed is Marko Marulić ’s Classical Čakavian “Judita” of 1521. Since it was printed three times between 1521 and 1523, “Judita” can also with some justice be regarded as the earliest bestseller in the Croatian language.
  • The earliest prose novel in Croatian is Petar Zoranić’s Classical Čakavian “Planine”, printed in 1569.
  • The first printed Croatian dictionary is Faust Vrančić’s Classical Čakavian Dictionarium of 1595.
  • Like the contemporary written language of Dubrovnik, Classical Čakavian was a forward-looking, vernacular-based tradition. Classical Čakavian texts constitute a major source of information about the language actually spoken in Dalmatia from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century.

If the surviving texts are anything to go by, Classical Čakavian arose in the fourteenth century in northern Dalmatia, i.e. in the area dominated by Rab, Zadar and Šibenik. By the closing decades of the fifteenth century it had spread to central Dalmatia, where it came to thrive in the coastal towns such as Trogir and Split and on the islands of Hvar and Brač as well as in the region of Istria.

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The area where Classical Čakavian was in active use at one time or other comprises (roughly speaking) the islands from Rab in the north-west to Korčula in the south-east and the coastal towns of northern and central Dalmatia, among which Nin, Zadar , Šibenik, Trogir and Split are perhaps the most important. No two Classical Čakavian texts are linguistically quite identical. The above text is based upon the article The twofold origin of Classical Čakavian (Vermeer 1996)

The Croatian Čakavian literary language was at its peak in the 16th century, although the language itself can be traced back to the medieval era, the Classical Čakavian (aka Old Croatian Čakavian) texts, reflect the features of the territorial stratification of the region, because the old Croatian writers avoided common local features in written language, deliberately mixing divergent linguistic features of the Croatian language of the day. In other words. there was no standardized literary language during the time frame of the earliest texts.

Čakavština je u Istru došla s prvotnom hrvatskom naseobom već početkom VII. stoljeća. Taj se prvotni govor razvio u klasičnu čakavštinu ekavskoga tipa kakva je do danas u središnjoj Istri i istarskoj Liburniji, u Kastvu pa istočno uz primorje sve od Rijeke do Bakra. Taj tip ima pet kratkih i pet dugih vokala te dugo i kratko slogotvorno r u konsonantizmu nema zvučnih afrikata j i j; fje zatvorni palatalni dental. Glasovni skup *dj u pravilu se ostvaruje kao j: preja, meja. U ovom govoru spjevane su najljepše Nazorove i Gervaisove čakavske pjesme. Čakavska Čitanka ( Petar Šimunović 2011)

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