Language and music

The Municipality of Viškovo is part of Liburnia, a region whose administrative centre until the mid-20th century was Kastav, which is why this area is known locally as Kastavština.


The local language is a Liburnian variety of the Chakavian dialect with a consistent Ekavian pronunciation of the Slavic sound ‘yat’ and with Ekavian noun endings. The special (softer) pronunciation of the ‘ć’ sound and the retention of the Old Slavic consonant clusters ‘šć’ and ‘čr’ are also characteristic of this dialect. The sound ‘l’ is not vocalised, the sounds ‘lj’ and ‘đ’ have been replaced with ‘j’, the sound ‘dž’ does not exist, and the sound ‘nj’ is pronounced as ‘n’j’. Today, the vocabulary still includes certain old grammatical forms and words, and also a substantial number of Italian loan words.

Certain specific and very old linguistic features have been best preserved in Marčelji. For example, the pronunciation of ‘u’ instead of ‘v’ has almost disappeared, but some distinctive aspects such as the change from ‘o’ to ‘u’ at the beginning of certain words and the same endings for masculine and feminine words have been retained. This linguistic heritage is alive and fostered both orally and in written form.

Specifične, vrlo stare jezične osobine ostale su najdulje sačuvane u mjestu Marčelji. Izgovor umjesto v (dua – dva) je u izmumiranju, ali još se je na početku riječi zadržala zamjena o glasom u te izjednačavanje u nastavku muškog i ženskog roda imenica (unda – onda, z Anun – s Anom, pod stolun – pod stolom). Jezična baština je živa i svesrdno se njeguje u usmenom i pisanom obliku.


The UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity contains two-part singing, which was first notated and systematised by the ethnomusicologist and composer Ivan Matetić of Ronjgi, who studied the music of the people of the Kastav area.

The Istrian scale consists of six tones in specific relationships and provides the basic theoretical system for the folk music of Istria, the Croatian Littoral and the Kvarner islands. It was named after the Istrian peninsula.

The sopile is the best-known traditional instrument in the Kvarner area. It is a woodwind instrument similar to the oboe or shawm, an old European instrument with a double reed and conical bore. The sopile is always played in pairs, one player playing the small sopila and the other the great sopila. The instrument has six fingerholes and is made of maple wood. The Ivan Matetić Ronjgov Public Institution actively preserves and promotes the valuable local traditions of this area.

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