An Eastern European language, Croatian is spoken by 5.5 million people. It is the official language of the Republic of Croatia and, along with Bosnian and Serbian, one of three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It used to be defined as a Serbian language but after Croatia gained independence from Austria-Hungary in October 1918 and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the two languages and cultures claimed their distinction. Another distinction between Croatian and Serbian is the written form. The Latin alphabet is used in Croatian, whereas the Cyrillic alphabet is used in Serbian.
There are three dialects: Shtokavian, Chakavian and Kaikavian. Shtokavian is the literary and standard language in Croatia.