(English words in Croatian)


The goal of this project is to investigate English loan words in Croatian, their frequency, cognitive processing in an L1 environment, the differences in L2 proficiency and their impact on cognitive processing, as well as associative relations between English words and Croatian words.

Team Members


  • Marijan Palmović, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia

  • José Antonio Hinojosa Poveda, Pluridisciplinary Institute, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

  • Claudia Poch, Department of Education, Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain

  • Marc Guasch, Department of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain

  • Maria Pilar Ferre, Department of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain


Bogunović, I. & Ćoso, B. (2019). Lexical access in Croatian–English unbalanced bilinguals: a cross–linguistic study. Suvremena lingvistika, 87, 1-22. (WOS) doi: 10.22210/suvlin.2019.087.08

In Croatia, early exposure to English is enabled through early language learning programs as well as the media. The media plays an important role in incidental language learning. This, along with the fact that daily exposure to English is measured in hours, indicates that its status as a foreign language is changing, which offers a unique opportunity to investigate the relationship between language exposure, level of proficiency and lexical access. The main goal of this study is to explore lexical access in Croatian speakers of English, with different levels of proficiency. The investigation consisted of a questionnaire on language use and exposure, proficiency test and an experiment in which cross–language priming was combined with a lexical decision task. The experiment explored whether priming effect would occur in two conditions: associative and semantic relatedness and translation equivalence, in both language directions. Semantic relationship between words elicits shorter reaction time, suggesting that sharing similar meaning speeds up the recognition process in words from two languages. Even stronger effect was observed in the case of translation equivalents. Surprisingly, proficiency level was not significant. The results are discussed in the light of the Revised Hierarchical Model and the Bilingual Interactive Activation Model +.

Bogunović, I. & Jelčić Čolakovac, J. (2019). The Role of Informal Activities in Incidental Language Acquisition: The Relationship Between Language Use and Proficiency. Fluminensia, 30, 181-199. (WOS) doi: 10.22210/suvlin.2019.087.08

The English language is studied as a foreign language in Croatia, and, apart from being included in formal education, it is also present in everyday life. Daily exposure to English is measured in hours and research has shown that many informal activities allow for incidental language acquisition. This paper is aimed at identifying the activities in which the Croatian student population spends most of their time using English as well as at investigating whether a connection between exposure to English, its use and prior knowledge of language can be established. Ninety-three participants were included in the study, all students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka. The level of English knowledge was determined by administering the Oxford Placement Test. Three groups were formed based on the results obtained in the testing. Exposure to English and the students’ use of the language were tested by means of a questionnaire in which the participants were asked to approximate how much time they spent using English in the activities listed in the questionnaire. The results showed that the participants spent most of their time online and least in spoken communication. The differences between groups with the lowest and the highest levels of knowledge were found to be significant across all activities apart from reading for leisure, written, and spoken communication. On the one hand, this study has managed to corroborate the connection between language use and the level of language proficiency, and on the other, it has indicated that the status of English is slowly changing on both the global and individual level.

Ćoso, B. & Bogunović, I. (2017). Person perception and language: a case of English words in Croatian. Language & communication, 53, 25-34. (WOS) doi: 10.1016/j.langcom.2016.11.001

Research on language attitudes has shown that speech style plays an important role in social evaluation. In Croatia, English words commonly occur in everyday communication, which could affect the way we perceive other people. This study aims to investigate the relation between English words and person perception. 200 Croatian elementary school students, adolescents and young adults were given one of the three versions of the same text, varying in the frequency of English words, and a questionnaire to evaluate personal characteristics of the author of the text. The results showed that frequent use of English words was related to higher estimations of social attractiveness, indicating that the use of English words has become an important cue in person perception.

Bogunović, I. & Ćoso, B. (2013). English in Croatian Scientific Medical Discourse: A Corpus-Based Study. Fluminensia, 2, 177-191. (SCOPUS)

English as a lingua franca is a part of the more general phenomenon of “English as an international language”. Its influence on other languages, Croatian being one of them, is evident across different functional styles. This study presents findings from a corpus-based qualitative and quantitative analysis of anglicisms and English words on the lexical level, and the passive, light verbs and noun compounds on the syntactic level. The corpus, consisting of texts published in four journals, Acta Stomatologica Croatica, Gynaecologia et Perinatologia, Medicina Fluminensis and Paediatria Croatica, is based on the introductory parts of the papers. The results indicate that the influence of English is most evident on the lexical level – 1.55% of all words are anglicisms. On the syntactic level, the use of noun compounds is significant.

Brdar, I. (2010). English Words in the Language of Croatian Media . LAHOR: časopis za hrvatski kao materinski, drugi i strani jezik, 10, 217-232.

English is lingua franca of today’s society. The consequences of that fact are twofold. On one hand languages such as roatian tend to restrict huge numbers of anglicizms and plain English words that are taken into Croatian, whilst on the other hand the media promotes English words daily. This paper analyses sixty Croatian texts taken from the internet to see if different sources influence the choice of English words. One group of texts, which discusses the divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, are based on English sources, hence are often direct translations. The other group of texts, originaly written in Croatian, discusses the divorce between Josip Radeljak and Vlatka Pokos, Croatian ex-couple who could be described as celebrities. The analysis shows that the first group of texts is influenced by English sources on syntax (such as usage of passive, personal pronouns, gerunds) and semantics (such as literate translations of idoms, false friends). They have somewhat more non-adapted English words than the second group of texts. Non-adapted English words in the first group were mostly connected to British culture and music, while the second group of texts used non-adapted English words either with negative connotation or due to trendiness.


Bogunović, I. & Ćoso, B. (2019). Cognitive processing of unadapted English words in Croatian: Evidence from Croatiaspeakers of English with different levels of L2 proficiency. 21st conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, Tenerife, Spain, 25-28.09.2019.

Brdar, I. & Ćoso, B. (2012). English language in Croatian medical discourse: A corpus-based study. International Scientific Conference, 14th Days of Bioethics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, Rijeka, Croatia, 10.-11.5.2012.

Brdar, I., Ćoso, B. & Hodak, J. (2010). Person perception and language. Summer school in Cognitive neuroscience, Leipzig, Germany, 19.-21.07.2010.


Corpus available at the repository of the University of Rijeka

The corpus consists of the text collected from the most popular webpages in Croatia in the period from 2014 to 2020: Direktno, Dnevno, Net Hr, Hrt, Index_Hr, Jutarnji, Novilist, Rtl, SlobodnaDalmacija, Večernji. Tportal, Dnevnik (Reuters Institute Digital News Report for 2018, retrieved from http://www.digitalnewsreport.org in April, 2019). Web browsing and web crawling were used to select and store the texts, while the useful HTML information (such as publication date of the article, its URL, title, etc.) as well as the text of the article with corresponding tags and categories, if available, were extracted and analysed with Python package „beautifulsoup“. The extracted data is stored in an MySQL relational database.

The corpus is available at: