Similarities in the Syntactic Structure of the German and Croatian Language


  • Manuela Svoboda PhD, Lecturer of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, Croatia.


German and Croatian language, similarities in syntactic structure, subordinate clauses, main clauses, adverbial clauses, syntax


The purpose of this paper is to analyse any potential similarities between the Croatian and German language and present them adopting a contrastive approach with the intent of simplifying the learning process in regards to the German syntactic structure for Croatian German as foreign language students. While consulting articles and books on the theories and methods of foreign language teaching, attention is usually drawn to differences between the mother tongue and the foreign language, especially concerning false friends etc. The same applies to textbooks, workbooks and how teachers behave in class. Thus, it is common practice to deal with the differences between the foreign language and the mother tongue but less with similarities. This is unfortunate considering that this would likely aid in acquiring certain grammatical and syntactic structures of the foreign language. In the author's opinion, similarities are as, if not more, important than differences. Therefore, in this article the existence of similarities between the Croatian and German language will be examined closer with a main focus on the segment of sentence types. Special attention is drawn to subordinate clauses as they play an important role when speaking and/or translating sentences from Croatian to German and vice versa. In order to present and further clarify this matter, subordinate clauses in both the German and Croatian language are defined, clarified and listed to gain an oversight and to present possible similarities between the two. In addition, the method to identify subordinate clauses in a sentence is explained as well as what they express, which conjunctions are being used for each type of subordinate clause in both languages and where the similarities and/or differences between the two languages lie.