Josip Margitaj (1854 – 1934), teacher and pro-Hungarian/Unionist, was the promoter of the term „Međimurean language“. In 1884 he began publishing the bilingual weekly Medjimurje/Muraköz. The language concept he calls „Međimurean“ does actually represent the Međimurean dialect in a minor segment. To a greater extent it has linguistic similarities with subsequent works written in the Kajkavian literary language that was highly influenced by the Croatian Štokavian based literary language. The direct model for Margitaj's language was the neighboring Slovenian region in Hungary (now Prekomurje in Slovenia and Porabje/Raba Region in Hungary), where a literary language had been construed on basis of the local dialect dating from the 18th century, officially named in Hungary as Wendish. Efforts were made to distinguish this language from the Slovenian language according to the so-called „Wendish Theory“.
After the liberation of Međimurje (in 1918), there were no further efforts to write in „Međimurean“, while local literature was actively promoted in Prekomurje until 1945. The Međimurean issue was rekindled in the period of the Hungarian occupation (1941 – 1944), once again for propaganda and Hungarization goals, and also in 1942 when two short standard grammars were written (however, those two grammars could not create a real normative language). By the end of Second World War (1939 – 1945), the so-called experiments with the „Međimurean language“ were terminated once and for all. The actually false „Međimurean language“ has left no trace in Međimurean cultural heritage, whereas the „Prekomurski language“ still has a live tradition, to an equal extent both in Slovenia and Hungary.
This work by Akoš Anton Dončec, whose domicile is Verica-Ritkarovci (Ketvolgy/Hungary), is the first part of an overall study (consisting of two parts) that evaluates the program of both Josip Margitaj's, as well as that of Ferenc Gönczi's so-called „Međimurean language“ in the context of Prekomurje-Kajkavian historical, literary and linguistic ties, the Hungarian-Croatian dispute on Međimurje, Hungarization attempts in Međimurje, Prekomurje and Porabje – up to the First World War. The paper was translated into Croatian by PhD Előd Dudás.