If you’re planning your holidays to this superb, sun-splashed city, you might be wondering what the language in Dubrovnik is. The official language in Dubrovnik is Croatian but, thanks to the steady influx of visitors, many of the locals have a basic command of English.
While it might be tempting to jet off on your break and rely on being able to speak your mother tongue, using the Dubrovnik language, to whatever degree, is a gesture that will ensure you get a warm welcome from the locals wherever you go. In addition, with English not being the inhabitants’ first language, using a smattering of the native language in Dubrovnik will help avoid any confusions and misunderstanding.
The History of the Dubrovnik Language
Today, you’ll find Croatian spoken by over 6 million people, worldwide. Aside from being the language in Dubrovnik, you can hear it in Bosnia, Italy, and Romania. Its origins can be traced back as far as the 9th Century, when it was used by the Old Church of Slavonia. It boasted three separate alphabets and absorbed words and phrases from its neighbours, including Hungary, Slovenia, and Serbia.
In 1991, Croatia achieved independence and a movement was formed to distil and purify the language and separate it from the influences of the countries that border it. Today, the language is still evolving, under the watchful eyes of linguistics experts and language historians.
Ensure a Warm Welcome
For those with no experience of the Slavic languages, the native Dubrovnik language can sound daunting. However, it can be better to set yourself apart from the ‘speak slow and loud crowd’ and have a go. The city’s inhabitants are famous for their friendliness and even stumbling through a Croatian phrase or two will help ensure you get the warmest of welcomes wherever you go.
In addition to endearing yourself to the locals, learning a few sentences and phrases in Croatian can serve a number of practical purposes. From asking directions and ordering food, to paying bills, being able to speak a little of the local lingo can help to ensure you get great service and minimise the risk of confusion.
However, using the local language in Dubrovnik can also be important during emergency situations. At the very least, it’s worth committing a few of this sort of phrase to memory, in the event that you ever need them.
Learning a Little Croatian
Learning the language in Dubrovnik doesn’t mean you have to aim to become fluent: a few basic greetings, pleases and thank-yous, and some useful phrases can go a long way.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common sentences that people use on holiday and translated them. In addition, we’ve added some sound files, to help with pronunciation.
Click on the ‘play’ icon and you’ll hear your chosen phrase spoken in the Dubrovnik language, as it should sound. Play and repeat a few times and you’ll have some useful Croatian to help you get the most out of your holiday. Who knows, using the language in Dubrovnik, you might even forge a few friendships during your stay in the Pearl of the Adriatic.