kajkavian language

Kajkavian, Part 1

The first thing that one notices when listening to a typical Kajkavian speech is that it sounds different. Kajkavian is spoken in the north of Croatia, around Zagreb and in a broad diamond-shaped area between borders with Slovenia and Hungary.

Kajkavian is its various forms (there are no sharp borders when going from Kajkavian stops to Slovene or Čakavian) is spoken by some 800000 persons, or even 1.2 million — there are no precise counts — but the number is similar or greater to the whole population of Dalmatia! However, if you turn on any Croatian radio station, it’s very unlikely that you will hear anything Kajkavian. It’s even not easy to find songs on YouTube™.

However, there are some great songs, and Suza za zagorske brege is one of greatest Croatian songs, and some verses in it are without a doubt the saddest.

V jutro dišeče gda bregi su spali
A mesec još zajti ni štel
Potiho sem otprl rasklimanu lesu
I pinklec na pleča sem del

Stara je mati išla za menom
Nemo vu zemlu gledeč

Ni mogla znati kaj zbirem vu duši
I zakaj od včera nis rekel ni reč
Preveč smo toga povedat si šteli
A se smo pozabili več

Gda smo vre prešli kraj najzadnje hiže
Vu suzah najemput sem bil
Kaj ne bi to vidla stara mi mati
Z rukami lice sem skril

Sud oko mene su disale rože
I bil je rascveteni maj

A ja nis ni jemput pogledal za sobom
Od tuge nis mogel pozdraviti kraj
Samo sem bregima dragim obečal
Da vrnul se bum nazaj


(Ana Bešenić)
“On a scented morning, while the hills were sleeping
and the Moon was reluctant to set
I silently opened the rickety gate
and put a small load on my back

My old mother followed me
silently looking down

She couldn’t know what I was pondering in my soul
And why I didn’t utter a word since yesterday
There was too much to say to each other,
And we have forgotten it all.

When we passed the last house
I was suddenly in tears
So that my old mother couldn’t see it
I hid my face with hands

All around me, the scent of roses
And the May was blossoming

And I didn’t once look behind me
Too sorrowful to say goodbye to my homeland
I only promised to the dear hills,
That I will come back”

(based on the translation by Mojast, YouTube)

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