Šokački (dialect of the Šokci community) belongs to the Shtokavian dialect and incorporates first the Ikavian and then also Jekavian pronunciation. The region west of Vinkovci uses the western Ekavian (Ivankovo, Vođinci, Šiškovci, etc.), while in Vinkovci and Slakovci Ikavian is more common.

Nowadays only the elderly still use the original Šokački, which implies that it is in decline and slowly disappearing. The generation that comes after them uses the old Shtokavian dialect, but mixed with the new Shtokavian. The newer generations use Šokački only on rare occasions.


Borrowings and wandering letters

Šokci managed to preserve many of their customs all the way up to mid 20th century, including numerous Turkish loanwords such as avlija (yard), pendžer (window), taraba (fence), kurjak (wolf), bunar (well), komšija (neighbor), peškir (towel), đuvegija (bachelor), ekser (nail)…

There are also many loanwords from Germanbircuz (tavern), birtašica (waitress), šlingan (crochet), lajtnant (lieutenant), befel (order) , felvebel (sergeant), štift (pin, pen), grencerski (borderly), sajtluk (large beer glass), narihtati (adjust precisely), tal (share, dowry), farbar (house painter), potrefiti (hit, guess). In addition to other loanwords from Italian and Hungarian, Šokački is also extremely reach in local expressions such as zaiskati, demand, require), bukta (sweet roll), otromboljen (sagging), reduša (person who prepares the food for festivities), skut (the hem of a skirt or dress), oplećak (a decorated vest), deder (a particle used to nudge someone towards an action), nemrsna (food eaten during fast), ponjavica (baby blanket), okolac (fence), istrt (wear out), razdionici (brothers sharing an estate), uborci (old measurement), povučica (line in a rug), naćve (dough tray), struka (profession), odilit se (separate), kurtalisat (free oneself), moba (custom of providing help to neighbors during harvest, construction), etc.

The biggest difference between the new and old Shtokavian is the melodiousness. A Šokac will, for instance, never use the consonant “h”. In Šokadija, that letter is a complete unknown! So a real Šokac will pronounce hlad (shade) as lad, hrana (food) as rana, and hlače (pants) as lače, meaning that the consonant h does not appear where it should etimologically. It is completely lost, whether it is in the beginning, the middle or the end of a word: ’tio (htio, wanted), ’ajde (hajde, come on), na’raniti (nahraniti, feed), odma’ (odmah, right now). It can also be substituted by the letter “v”: kuvam (kuham, cooking), suve (suhe, dry), and the letter “j”: kujna (kuhinja, kitchen), snaja (snaha, sister-in-law).

The consonant “f” is to be found in borrowings: fino (nice), flaša (bottle), ofarban (painted) i ćef (whim, will), or it comes from the two consonants “hv”: faljen (hvaljen, praised) , fala (hvala, thank you). In some cases, only the “h” is lost, while the “v” remain: uvatio (uhvatio, caught), or vatam (hvatam, catching).


Cases and phrases

The morphology of Šokački is extremely interesting: the vocative case of the noun mama (mother) is mamo. Instead of the locative case denoting the location, the genitive is used: divovala u Drenovaca. The plural košari (baskets) (which would make the singular košar instead of košara) is masculine where it should be feminine. The locative case of the noun nebo (sky) is nebesi. The sibilarization is often left out, so instead of u zadruzi (in the cooperative), a Šokac will say u zadrugi.

There are many authentic phrases in Šokački. Some of them have a religious background while others come from the time of the Military Frontier. Some have become part of the modern dialect as well. Interesting examples include phrases such as kuća na front (a house facing the street with its entire length) and voda na (nečiji) mlin (grist to the mill).

Ikavian is simpler and more practical than Jekavian. Šokci brought the Ikavian from their old home in Bosnia, a theory supported by the fact that the Ikavian phoneme jat was first noted down in Bosnia in 1331. The ancient Šokci used a specific archaic Ikavian pronounciation, which can still be heard among the elderly of the community. Ikavian is eminently Croatian, which has been argued in many conferences on the language of Šokci.


ak = like

alaj = an exclamation

b = would

budža = a decorated stick with a bulbous end

čako, ćaća = father

čiča = an elderly man

ćela = would like

ćera, ćerka = daughter

dašta = of course

dede = give

delije = handsome men

dika = sweetheart

džaba = free

đuvegija = bachelor

el ćmo = shall we

kapija = gate

lagav = barrel

kru = bread

nana = mother

pendžer = window

rakja = grappa, brandy

struga = broken fence

šenca = wheat

zvan = invited