Mali Kralevič — in Kajkavian.

Kajkavian is a South Slavic regiolect or language spoken primarily by Croats in much of Central Croatia and northern Istria.

There are differing opinions over whether Kajkavian is best considered a dialect of Serbo-Croatian or a fully-fledged language of its own, as it is only partially mutually intelligible with other dialects and bears more similarities to Slovene (it is transitional and fully mutually intelligible with the Prekmurje dialect) and the dialects in the Slovenian Lower Styria’s region of Prlekija (that bundle with Kajkavian directly far more than to other Slovene dialects) than to the prestige Shtokavian dialect (which forms the basis of the national normative standards of Serbo-Croatian) in terms of phonology and vocabulary. Notable Croatian linguists consider Kajkavian to be a language in its own right as is evidenced by phonological, morphological, and vocabulary identity shared between the dialects spoken in the Croatian Kajkavian area and in Slovenian Prekmurje and north-eastern Styria, with its own established dialects and documented literature. Furthermore, there is no clear demarcation between Slovene dialects and Kajkavian: this continuum is particularly strong along the border with Slovenian Styria, and on the upper stream of the Kolpa river, where dialects spoken on both sides of the border are sometimes indistinguishable. Thus, Kajkavian has low mutual intelligibility with Shtokavian, on which Croatia’s standard language is based.

The term Kajkavian stems from the interrogative pronoun kaj (“what”). The other main dialects of Croatian also derive their name from their reflex of the interrogative pronoun. However, the pronouns are only general pointers and do not serve as actual identifiers of the respective dialects. Certain Kajkavian dialects use the interrogative pronoun ča, the one that is usually used in Chakavian. Conversely, some Chakavian dialects (most notably around Buzet in Istria) use the pronoun kaj. The pronouns these dialects are named after are merely the most common one in that dialect.

Although speakers of Kajkavian are primarily Croats, and Kajkavian is generally considered a dialect of Standard Croatian, its closest relative is the Slovene language (particularly the Pannonian and Styrian dialects of Slovene), followed by Chakavian and then Shtokavian. Kajkavian is part of the South Slavic dialect continuum, adjoining the Slovene language (Slovenia) and Chakavian dialects (Croatia).