What is the principal language of Dalmatia?

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What is the word for Grandma in Dalmatian and how do you pronounce it? I am a brand new grandmother and am searching for an unusual and meaningful name for her to call me other than "grandma"! (My life revolves around my Dalmatian (dog breed) rescue that I understand orginated in Dalmatia, so it would be so fitting to be call "grandma" in true Dalmatian form! Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to visit someday!!!

-- Theresa Monnard (tmonnard@ou.edu), August 16, 1999


Dalmatian is a dialect of Croatian language. It is most similar to Croatian, but it also contains a lot of Italian-descent words. "Grandma" is I believe one of these Italian-descent words.

"Grandma" in Dalmatian dialect is "nona". "o" is pronounced like the vowel in "saw", "a" is pronounced as the vowel in "cup" and "n" is pronounced as usual.

-- Marko Pinteric (mpinter@ifs.hr), August 17, 1999.

Dalmatinski jezik je nekada potpuno spadao u grupu Romanskih jezika, znaci sa Talijanskim, Spanskim, Portugalskim et.c. No taj izvorni Latino-Dalmatinski jezik je vremenom nestao pod prodorom Slavenskih jezika-Hrvatskog jezika. Ali ipak jezik Dalmacije ni danas nije isto sto i jezik Slavonije. U Dalmatinskom jeziku ima puno vise Latinizma i Talijanskih rijeci, sto i cini zasebnost Dalmatinskog jezika.

-- sarajevointercity (sarajevointercity@hotmail.com), October 07, 1999.

Principal language in Dalmatia is, like in any other part of Croatia, Croatian language.
In Dalmatia, if we mean on area that was a province in Austro-Hungarian Empire (under Austrian- ruled part), only Croatian language is spoken. Inhabitants are Croats.
There are two dialects of Croatian language, that are spoken in Dalmatia; CHAKAVIAN and SHTOKAVIAN. Chakavian kept many characteristics of Old Croatian (by forms, lexic, accentuation etc.) and it is the oldest and most archaic dialect of Croatian. Shtokavian dialect had got its current form 3 or 4 centuries ago. Shtokavian is much more homogenous than Chakavian dialect of Croatian. Chakavian dialect is very irregular.
So, in Shtokavian dialect, the word for "grandma" is "baba" or "baka".
In some Chakavian dialect areas word for "grandma" is also "baba" or "baka".
In Chakavian dialect, word for "grandma" is "nona" (spoken similarly to italian, but with "shorter" n; in italian is like "nonna"). The other form is "nuone" (N + diphtong UO, similar to "wa-" in "water" + N + E, like in "Ed"; in this form there is long-falling accentuation on first and short-rising accentuation on last syllable; but, in some areas, long-rising accentuation comes on first and falling accentuation on last syllable).
Maybe this will hard for someone to pronounce or to spell these words, but this mottled accentuation gave to Chakavian dialect the title of most melodic speech of Croatian language.
Foreign words in Chakavian dialect come from: - romance Dalmatian language,
- Venetian dialect of Italian
- other dialects of Italian that are on italian side of Adriatic
- Old Greek language - and words from Mediterranean koine (language of people whose lives and professions are closely tied them to sea: sailors, navigators, merchant navy, shippers, ship-owners, workers in shipyards and drydocks, ports, including administrative personnel, lighthouses, navy, fishermen and other professions connected to extracting of sea-goods...) Chakavians` lives are very tied to sea.
Foreign influences in coastal Shtokavian dialect come from the same languages as above; in inner Shtokavian dialect those influences came in smaller amount, but there are words that come from Turkish language.
Chakavians mostly live on coastal and island areas, and Shtokavians live in bigger coastal cities,in coastal areas southern from river Cetina and mostly in innerland. The old Republic of Dubrovnik, was originally Chakavian; throught centuries, it shtokavized.

Dalmatian language is an extinct romance language, that was spoken on eastern Adriatic coast. It was a barbarized Latin language, the language of romanized Illyrians (by the way, Dalmatia got its name after Illyrian word "d`lma", "sheep". That word come from non-romanized Illyrian language, that is considered as ancestor of Albanian language.
Dalmatian language, however, got its name after Byzantium empire`s province of Dalmatia, that was spread on scattered areas on eastern Adriatic coast, in "pockets". That province was remnant of ancient Roman Empire`s province Dalmatia, that spread on much larger area than ever later.
Last speaker of that language, that actively spoke it, was living on the island of Krk. He died in 1898. The other speakers of Dalmatian language assimilated in Croats, with whome they were in contact since (probably) 6th, but surely since 7th century.
In 19th century, Austro-Hungarian Empire has drawn new borders of Dalmatia. Dalmatian dog comes from THAT Dalmatia.

-- Jurica Lausic (jurica.lausic@st.tel.hr), January 08, 2000.

The principal language today spoken in Dalmatia is Croatian. Once the Romance Dalmatian language was spoken, but it was replaced by Croatian in the country and to some extent in the cities and by Venetian in the cities. Dalmatian belonged to the eastern branch of Romance languages together with Italian and Rumanian, while Venetian is considered by most linguists as a dialect of a language, called variously "Northern Italian [aware that it isn't a dialect of Italian proper]", "Padanian", etc., belonging to the western branch of Romance languages together with Spanish, French, Portuguese, Occitan, etc. Venetian is still spoken in some coastal cities (Zadar, Split).

-- Dŕvide Sivčro (davidesivero@libero.it), December 15, 2000.

A few words of contribution to this very interesting discussion. It is still not clear whether the medieval dalmatian language in the cities of dalmatia was substituted by venetian , or venetian was introduced when dalmatian was already dissapeared from everyday use? What is exactly the meaning of "lingua franca" that, according to some venetian documents, was spoken in Dalmatia?

-- bosko denona (bosko.denona@libero.it), January 04, 2001.

In response to Bosko Denona, Lingua Franca was the original lingua franca, an artificial language used throughout the Mediterranean as a koine in the Middle Ages, whose vocabulary was based mainly on Occitan and Italian dialects, supplemented by words from Catalan, Castillian Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, Turkish and Croatian. Grammar was almost non-existent.Its users included merchants and sailors. It was also used by Christian slaves of different nationalities in Muslim countries, between themselves and in communication with local Muslims. It survived in Algeria until the French arrived in 1830.

I would be interested to know which Croatian words are of Lingua Franca, as opposed to Italian, Venetian or Dalmatian origin.

More information can be had by searching google for lingua franca, especially the following :

A Glossary of Lingua Franca - 41k

- Joseph Mangan.

-- Joseph Mangan (mangan@eircom.net), January 13, 2001.

The Old dalmatian is Offically Extinct, however there are still people who speak it. The lingo has died out on mainland but the islands (especially the once further away) are still chating in 2/5 at least Dalmatian. I would love to get in contact with anyone interested in bringing the old language back to the surface and into the daily life of people. The vegliot dialect is one of most interesting broken latin scripts that I have come across. And would be really sad to see it disapear. Thank you

-- M.D. Arneri (Dubrava76@yahoo.com), March 20, 2002.

I call my grandma 'baba'. When I call out to her, I say 'babo!'. My parents are from a coastal village named Vrsi in Northern Dalmatia. I hope that helps.

-- Marin Bozic (velebit_bura_more@hotmail.com), October 28, 2002.

Serbian language has its many accents,used in all places where has lived Serbian population, than we have a form of chyrilics, and lathinic letter and its use depenced of livin place : in dalmatia for exemple hve been used lathinic letters because of lathin and catholic influence. After the ethnic clining during the second war when have been killed about a million of serbs ,comunistic period, and the last war croatia the first tine have had an oportynity to define its national interest made of blood and tooken fron someone elses culture. Croatian language is made of that too, and how Dalmatia now is under Croatia, Dalmatian is now called an accent of some "Croatian" language. Funny, isn't it?:)

-- Nemanja (Apx_011bg@yahoo.com.au), December 06, 2002.

Dalmatian is a dialect of the Croatian language. The word "grandma" in its dialect form is NONA or NONE (as spoken in Dubrovnik). But, people today speak also Standard Croatian language which has BABA or BAKA.

-- Dzivo Bunic (popxx2@yahoo.com), December 14, 2002.

Ma jeba vas konj, Dalmatian is not a dialect of "Croatian". Dalmatian was spoken before any official "Croatian" language was formed. Dalmatian is Dalmatian,Croatian seems to change on a daily basis. Politicians trying to de-serbianize words change the Croatian dictionary regularly, for example, zrakoplov (who really says that??). Dalmatian is still the language of Dalmatia, but not the Dalmatian of 200 years ago, but a mixed tongue of Croatian and the old Dalmatian. For example, walk through Split and say, asti gospe mande, zivi pa vidili, isa san na skale, i vidija kako se riva zapalila u ijadu coluri, i to dok luna je svitlila na portunu...and everyone will understand what you are saying, say that in zagreb however, and you will be speaking a foreign tongue....

-- TorcaSpalato (torcida2k@hotmail.com), December 21, 2002.

Svaka Cast TorciSplit,.. Vidi se ko je pravi Delmat odi!!

-- Maroje (Rafelli@dalmazia.it), February 11, 2003.

Just to add that Dalmatian was a *western* romance language, despite its location.

-- (no@way.dl), February 22, 2003.

well, let me make it short. In Dalmatia we speak DALMATIAN Today it is a dialect of croatian language. In the years of great Dalmatia, it is a couple of years ago, :( it was official language in this contry. that's it. p.s NISTA KONTRA SPLITA!!! see ya

-- Djordje Kadijevic (ruciababa@hotmail.com), February 26, 2003.

Dalmatian is a dialect of Croatian. Dalmatians are CROATS. So mr Djordje that means YOU serbians ARE NOT Dalmatians.

-- Anto (croatiandalmatian@hotmail.com), May 23, 2003.

Dalmatian is NOT a dialect in Croatian..in fact, it is on the UNESCO list of extinct languages. The Croatians in Dalmatia do have distinctive way of spekaing, both in particular words and in pronunciation versus Croatian proper.

Is what is spoken in Dalmatia now a dialect or a language? It is probably a matter of opinion. It is incorrect to suggest that Dalmatian is the dialect, because it is not. Sentence structure, word usage, etc. are not contant in any part of Dalmatia. Italian words are pervasive as is a latin sentence structure. That is fundamentally where the differences lie as far as I can see.

Ask me if what nationality I am (although I am Canadian) I will say Croatian. If a Croatian asks I am Dalmatian (dalmatinka) and if a Dalmatian asks, I am a Splicanka (from Split). I would have to say this as as divisive as the Italians.

As for the way to say "grandma" Dalmatinci (Dalmatians)would say Baba...while someone in Zagreb might say Baka. Nona is also used in Dalmatia, but I have found it more common on the islands.

-- Nena (pussycaa@allstream.net), October 01, 2003.

I'd like to note that there's a difference between TWO DALMATIAN LANGUAGES! Slavic Dalmatian is a form of Croatian, while two hundred years ago there also was a roman language called Dalmatian that was more similar to Italian. So modern Dalmatian is just a form of Croatian, which on its own turn is just a form of Serbo-Croatian. By calling your dialect a language you just show arrogance. So there's no Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin language. We're different peoples, but we do speak the same language in a different form of which Dalmatian is a single example.

-- Onar Ljesevic (Barmek52@hotmail.com), October 22, 2003.

Despite, my constant changings of address,.. I'm still here looking at the last remaining words of this forgoten language and I can't figure out what to do about it!! I have tryed everything from talking to other people thru forums, message boards ,chat rooms(of which I was banned on majority of them). I tryed making my own site about vegliot,.. but its like, I've got nothing substantional on it. I really would love to bring back this language that my Grandmother used to chat, but its just no point. Its always fun to go to Dalmatia and ask for a Bandiera Dalmata (Dalmatinska Zastava/Dalmatian Flag), and everyone looks at you like u'r from mars!! Or look for the notorius Old Dalmatian Dictionary(2 versions got published few years ago, but as yet no one has ever heard of) What about the Great Dalmatian Action Party,.. Oh they are my favorite. After a long battle with the government, they are now more or less dead!! If you look above, u will see that about a year ago I posted a message for help, well that was helpfull!!

I am still interested in making some sort of site about this, but I need help,.. or need to be pointed at the right direction. There is a rather small dictonary of Dalmatian words on one of the torcida sites (i think its torcida-online.com), anyways thats a good begining, but I need more.

-- M.D. Arneri (Lazareti@hotmail.com), October 29, 2003.

dalmazia indipendente!

-- dalmata (dalmazia_indipendente@yahoo.it), November 17, 2003.

This thread has been very interesting. My granmothers (both islanders from the Sibenik archipelago) both spoke words which i believe came the old Dalmatian language - but i'm can't be sure. Perhaps someone out there can verify or correct me. Words such as lešto (fast), ki (who), barenko (at least), šoli (just), hala (dirt), pijaža (to like). I was also told that many nautical terms are of Dalmatian origin rather than Croatian eg bonaca, tremuntana, levant, jarbol, also names of fish - arbun, gaun etc I don't know if these are regional old Croatian words or a connection with the old Dalmatian language. Perhaps someone can comment. cheers

-- Lino (franich25@hotmail.com), December 17, 2003.

Bonje m'amaico la palavra pore "Batsara" Grandmother es "Batsanona" eu "NONA" Quande la batsara mia vivesi en l'islha de Ulhoma circa de La Italia e Adriatica parle idiome meus eu mehn a mechesa de la Cretia e l'italia. La mera mia dice che la gente alhi feu de Isareal camina de Caravina Espagnola e perche desse-che la Dalmatia fuosa I Ladini de Espagna. En muiti cassi la genti ladini camvina seus nomes a Cretia u Italiani. E perche mi nome e "Misach Ramon"

-- Misach Ramon Eduardo Grequi (eduardo_grequi@yahoo.com), December 22, 2003.

Dalmatian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrian, all those are dialects of one language, which is called SerboCroatian or Croatoserbian. The standard word for grandma in this language is baba or baka, but in Dalmatian dialect the word nona is commonly used too. Stokavstina Rocks!

-- Goran (pgoran6@hotmail.com), January 09, 2004.

I couldn't not answer, when I saw the posting above in the wierd language which I think is Italian. Well,.. he was going on about the language of Ladino which is a sort of old Castelian Spanish mixed in with Hebrew, spoken exclusivly by Sephardic Jews in Turkey and the Balkans. I believe its alphabet is writen in the Alef Format(Hebrew script). Now, that Ramon above mentioned it,.. there does appear to be a Dialect that used to be spoken on the Adriatic(mix of Vegliot and Ladino words with a hint of Italian and Greek as well). It was called vegjo-ladinish or just Vegliot Ladino.

-- M.D. Arneri (lazareti@hotmail.com), February 11, 2004.

There are two significant dialects in this region, stokavian(ikavian) and cakovian; I see the Dalmatian dialect(ikavian) as the most western vocalization of the Croatian language. Croatian independence cleansed this region of far-eastern lice (ekavian, it seems as if the Serbs have to put their dirty hands on everything) and instituted cultural improvement.

-- Dino (sjurjevic85@yahoo.com), March 14, 2004.

Dino,.. this is a nice forum,.. it has been nice for years so plz don't bring that nationalist hatered here,..

By the sound of things, you seem to be one of those Cro-Dalmatians who feel so Croatian that Croatians themselves couldn't match you! Yeap,.. Propaganda and Brain washing does the trick everytime,...

-- PizDopa (dannydking2003@yahoo.co.uk), March 17, 2004.

I can easily answer these questions:

Principle language spoken today in modern Dalmatia (4 Croatian southern counties of Zadar, Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik) is Croatian. However, a lot of people still speak Croatian dialectal form which is quite different from standard Croatian langauge. This dialect has many foreign words of latin and italian origin.

But, true dalmatian language existed in the past. It was an oral langauge (not written) among city romanic population. But it is now dead. last speaker died in 1898 by a land mine. It originated from vulgar latin language. Here is the Our father in old dalmatian :


J should be read as english Y C should be read as english TS

-- Ivan Depolo (magannini@yahoo.com), March 21, 2004.

To PizDopa So what your trying to imply is that announcing Ikavian as the most utilized dialect in Dalmatia instigates nationalist hatred. I don’t hate serbs, as a matter of fact I feel sorry for them. The serb majority in croatia (in main ciies, Zagreb, rijeka) received a bad reputation and suffered greatly because of the ‘manipulated serbs in Dalmatia and Lika’.

Your sound like a nationalistic serb who is sympathetic to the enlargement of greater Serbia, or an outsider who has limited knowledge of the regions history.

-- (sjurjevic85@yahoo.com), March 31, 2004.

Dalmacija was always independent region and Croatia's only goal is to take advantage of our DALMATIAN coast in return we just get troubles with our neighbours. Dalmatia should exist as separate, independent country with separate lanuage.

-- Lucija (luce@hotmail.com), June 17, 2004.

Dear all, It is nice to see the interest in the old (romance) Dalmatian or Vegliot language. I've spent some time collecting material and the best I've done is get Dr Matteo Giulio Baltoli's book "Das Dalmatische" (written 1906 in German). Bartoli collected as much as could be found of Dalmatian in his time and he even had the chance to interview Tuone Udaina, the last Vegliot speaker, before his death in 1898. There are transcriptions of these interviews.

I'm currently working on a reconstruction of the language - and all though there is not nearly enough to ensure reconstructing a fully fledged language there is enough for careful extrapolation to make it a communicative medium.

If anyone is interested in sharing information please contact me. Respectfully, Dan Prohaska

-- Daniel Prohaska (daniel@ryan-prohaska.com), June 21, 2004.

From ethnologue.com

DALMATIAN: an extinct language of Croatia Region Coast near Dubrovnik. Alternate names RAGUSAN, VEGLIOTE Classification Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Italo- Dalmatian. Comments Recently extinct, late nineteenth century. A dialect of Croatian is now spoken in the area.

-- Alessandro Gaudenzi (alessandro@newemotion.it), July 06, 2004.

I'm very interested in the dialect of Split. If someone could tell me more about it or direct me to some useful resources I'd be most grateful. I, in turn, will be happy to provide this information on the Split dialect.

a. The dialect is ikavian-cakavian though there is a strong stokavian influence because of the standard language. Ikavian means that some many words which have "ije" or "je" in the standard language have "i" in Split. - covik (covjek "man"), misto (mjesto, "place"), lipa divojka ("lijepa djevoka "a beautiful girl")

b. The "lj" sound in the standard language is just "j" in Split. - judi (ljudi, "people"), jubav (ljubav "love"), boje (bolje "better"), prijateji (prijatelji "friends")

c. There is no "h". The "h" of the standard language is dropped, or replaced by "v" after "u" or by "j" after "ih". - kruv (kruh, "bread"), ij (ih, "them")

d. When last in a word, "m" is changed to "n" - nosin (nosim, "I carry"), sedan (sedam, "seven"), rukon (rukom, "with the hand")

e. The masculine form of words in the past tense ends in "a" (and not in "o".) - zna san (znao sam, "I knew"), razumia san (razumio sam, "I understood)

f. The third plural (=them) ends in "du". - govoridu (govore, "they speak"), gredu (idu "they go")

g. Many words are different

Any more information on this beautiful dialect would be very welcome!! If you want to hear the Split dialect (and cannot go to Split) listen to Croatia's greatest singer Gibonni. Thanks to him every Croat is fairly familiar with the Split dialect.

-- James (james_brachin@hotmail.com), July 21, 2004.

Looks like there is a confusion of names.

1. Dalmatian is an extinct Romance language (or a compund of extinct Romance languages), spoken in Dalmatia in Croatia primarily in the cities.

2. primary language-dialect of Croatian Dalmatia was/is čakavian. For instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakavian_dialect

3. there was no Serbo-Croatian standard language, ever. The fact that it is still recorded as a standard language in the majority of official linguist and political institutions is, generally, due to either inertia or political schemes. Had not Croats and Serbs lived in a one country (Yugoslavia), there would not have been Serbo- Croatian language, just like there is no Malay-Bahasa Indonesian or Hindi-Urdu. http://www.hercegbosna.org/engleski/croatian_language.html

-- Mir Harven (mharven@softhome.net), October 01, 2004.

Hi I just wanted to know if any one could point out really different versions on words depending on what part of Croatia you are from.Like for instance words spoken in Split and the rest of Dalmatia that inlanders wouldn't understand.

-- Natalie Tari (natalietari@hotmail.com), January 22, 2005.

Hm, interesny forum, no otveta na svoi vopros o venetskom i dolmatskom yazikah ya tak i ne nashla.:) Est takoi off topik: http://rain.prohosting.com/lut/venety_predki2.htm (na russkom)

-- Ěŕđč˙ (mariaak@newmail.ru), February 06, 2005.

This is a question rather than an answer. My grandparents came to the US from Split in about 1902. Can someone tell me what language they would have spoken. We have always called it Austrian. Thank you, Connie Pullen Also, although it hasn't much to do with language, how can I find information about their life (baptism, etc.) from Split?

-- Connie Pullen (MyGrandmaPullen@aol.com), March 08, 2005.

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