Croatian in a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and ther neighbouring countries by about 5.5 million people.

The oldest texts in Croatian date back to the 11th century and were written in the Glagolitic alphabet, mainly in Croatia. The earliest text in the Latin alphabet dates from 1345. The Glagolitic alphabet was eventually replaced by the Latin alphabet in Croatia.

Up to the mid-19th century there was no standard written form of Croatian, but there was extensive literature in different dialects. In 1850, a group of Serbian and Croatian writers and linguists decided to create a standard written form based on the widely-used Štokavian dialect.

Croatian contains many words of Latin and German origin but many new Croatian words are created by combining and adapting existing ones.

Croatian is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin.