HRVATSKI  Family: Indo-European, Slavic


Croat is spoken as a lesser used language in Austria and in Italy


 Web links about Croatian



Region: The Croatian ethnic group in Burgenland lives in six (Neusiedl/Niuzalj, Eisenstadt/_eljezno, Mattersburg/Matrštof, Oberpullendorf/Gornja Pulja, Oberwart/Borta, Güssing/Novi Grad) of the state`s seven districts. The Croats do not make up  the majority population  in any of these districts. They are strongest in relative terms in the Oberpullendorf district, and are strongest in absolute terms in the Eisenstadt district. Compact Croatian regions that are now increasingly becoming bilingual exist only in the Oberpullendorf and Eisenstadt districts.


A substantial segment of the Croatian ethnic group has moved to Vienna, mainly because of economic reasons, like job shortages in Burgenland. Part of this group continues to commute on a weekly basis, the remainder have definitively settled in Vienna. The Burgenland Croats in Vienna are culturally and ethnically well organised.


Numerical Strength: 25,713 according to 1991 census. Surveys carried out by the churches in Burgenland show  that approximately 35,000 parishioners would prefer to have Sunday church services conducted in Croatian. The Croatian Voluntary Cultural Association of Vienna estimates that 15,000 Burgenland Croats live in the capital.This discrepancy illustrates the difficulties that census taking has in dealing with ethnic reality.


Status: Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty of May 15th, 1955 (Federal Law Gazette No. 152/1955) contains one of  the strongest declaration of rights for  Croats in Burgenland and Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria. In addition all Austrian minorities are protected under the Treaty of St. Germain (State Law Gazette No. 303/1920; Articles 66 to 68), which has  constitutional status.


The Ethnic Groups Act of July 7th, 1976 (Federal Law Gazette No. 196/1976) provides minority rights for Burgenland Croats, Hungarians in Vienna and Burgenland, Carinthian Slovenes,  Romanies, and Czechs and Slovaks.


Public Service: Burgenland Croats have the following constitutional rights under Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty:


*to use Croatian with the authorities;  granted in 25 communities,


*to use Croatian before courts of justice; granted only before 6 district law courts,


*to bilingual printed forms;  granted only sporadically,


*to use Croatian in official publications;  not granted in Burgenland,


*to bilingual place and road signs,  not respected in Burgenland. To date  not one single official bilingual topographical sign has been posted.



Because of the 25% barrier introduced by the Ethnic Groups Act, limiting the protection of  minorities as guaranteed under Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty (1955), an amendment to this law according to the Ethnic Group Basic Act (October 24, 1995 Draft) is needed.


Education: The Burgenland state Kindergarten Act (LBGl.35/1995) provides for the establishment of bilingual kindergartens. Croatian can be declared an "official kindergarten language" if the native Austrian parents and guardians of over 25% of the children formally request it. Parents must register their children. If a bilingual kindergarten does not have at least one staff member at its disposal who is fluent in the language of the ethnic group then the government is required to appoint an assistant kindergarten teacher. The language of the ethnic group must be adequately taught, at the very least for six hours a week, preferably at least for one hour each day. The use and affectiveness of native language training in kindergarten is almost exclusively dependent on the skills  and dedication of the kindergarten teachers.


Since 1994 a child attending a traditional bilingual school can be unregistered from bilingual education. Children attending bilingual schools who have been unregistered must then be taught according to the „normal" teaching plan, i.e. in German. Teachers are no longer permitted to speak Croatian to them. The three hours usually reserved for Croatian class are then replaced with an hour each of German, physical education and handicrafts. The term "bilingual" has not been precisely defined. It remains up to the teacher and the proficiency of the pupils to determine to what extent Croatian is used and to what degree the children should be challenged to improve their skills. An optimal model for the preservation of the native language would be the introduction of mandatory bilingual education in the traditionally bilingual regions.


At secondary level (Hauptschule) teaching for ethnic groups  may only be organized on a monolingual basis i.e. in either Croatian or Hungarian.  German in these schools is taught for up to six hours a week as a foreign language. The Minority Schools Act provides for the establishment of one secondary school in Oberwart/Borta.


Media: Several Croatian language  journals and periodicals are published catering mainly for Burgenland Croats. The regional service of the Austrian Public Broadcasting (ORF)   provides 40 minutes of programmes a day, except on Sundays. The only television program that can be currently picked up in Burgenland in Croatian is the weekly 30 minute  programme directed at ethnic groups.


The Burgenland Croats recently founded a private radio station, RadioMora, which will transmit in the minority languages.





Region: Croatian is spoken in three communities in the Molise region (province of Campobasso).


Numerical strength: Croatian is spoken by about 2,000/2,400 people.


Status: No legal status.


Public services: No public presence for the language, except for some bilingual road signs.


Education: The language is not used as a medium of instruction in the schools, nor is it taught as a subject.


Media: No radio or television services, nor newspapers nor periodicals exist in the language