Croatian (hrvatski jezik) is the collective name for the standard language of the Croats and for other Serbo-Croatian dialects spoken or once spoken by Croats in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojvodina (Serbia), Slovenia, and neighbouring countries, as well as by the Croatian diaspora worldwide.
The literary and standard language is based on the central dialect, Shtokavian (Štokavian), more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is shared with Serbian and is also the basis of standard Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. Two other Croatian dialects are Chakavian (Čakavian) and Kajkavian. These dialects and the four national standards are commonly subsumed under the term "Serbo-Croatian" in English, though this term is controversial for native speakers and paraphrases such as "Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian" are therefore sometimes used instead, especially in diplomatic circles.
Croatian is written in Gaj's Latin alphabet. Vernacular texts in the Chakavian dialect first appeared in the 13th century, and Shtokavian texts appeared a century later. Standardization began in the period sometimes called "Baroque Slavism" in the first half of the 17th century, while some authors date it back to the end of 15th century. The modern Neo-Shtokavian standard that appeared in the mid 18th century was the first unified Croatian literary language.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_language
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