Number of people speaking Croatian: Approximately 280 million
The Croatian language is a language of the western group of South Slavic languages which is used primarily by the Croats. It is one of the standard versions of the Central-South Slavic diasystem, formerly (and still frequently) called Serbo-Croatian language.
Modern Croatian standard language is a continuous outgrowth of more than nine hundred years old literature written in the mixture of Croatian Church Slavonic and vernacular language. If we narrow out the subject, the Croatian Church Slavonic had been abandoned by mid 1400s, and Croatian “purely” vernacular literature has been in existence for more than 5 centuries—a story of remarkable linguistic continuity with only a few shock points.
The beginning of the Croatian written language can be located in the 9th century when Old Church Slavonic was adopted as the language of the liturgy. This language was gradually adapted to non-liturgical purposes and became known as the Croatian version of Old Slavonic. The two variants of the language, liturgical and non-liturgical, continued to be a part of the Glagolitic service as late as the mid-9th century.
Until the end of the 11th century, Croatian medieval texts were written in three scripts: Latin, Glagolitic, and Croatian Cyrillic (bosančica), and also in three languages: Croatian, Latin and Old Slavonic. The latter developed into what is referred to as the Croatian variant of Church Slavonic between the 12th and the 16th century.
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