The official language of Slovakia is Slovak which is an Indo-European language from the West Slavic family of languages that includes Polish, Czech, Silesian, Sorbian, and Kashubian. The standard writing system is Latin and utilizes the 46 letter Slovak alphabet. Initially developed by Ľudovít Štúr in 1844 the language underwent reforms in 1851 which were undertaken by Catholic linguist and theologian Martin Hattala. Today the Slovak alphabet holds the distinction of being the longest of all the European and Slavic languages.

Known as slovenčina and slovenský jazyk in its native tongue Slovak is spoken by about five and a half million people. The modern day version of this language was inspired by other international languages such as Hungarian, English, German, and of course Latin. The Slovak language has many dialects which are categorized according to geographical region. These include Abov, Spiš, Šariš, and Zemplín in the nation’s eastern regions, Gemer, Hont, Liptov, Orava, Novohrad, Turiec, Tekov, and Zvolen in central Slovakia, Nitra, Kysuce, Trenčín, and Trnava, Záhorie in the west, and a number of additional local dialects in the lowland.

A casual greeting in the Slovak language would simply be, “Ahoj” or “Nazadar”. Until eight AM the appropriate greeting in Slovak is, “Dobré ráno”. From eight in the morning till sundown the correct greeting is, “Dobrý deň”. Another useful informal Slovak phase, “Ako sa máš?” translates to “how are you?” and a good luck wish can be achieved with, “Veľa šťastia”.

In order for another language to be legally deemed as having minority status in Slovakia it must be spoken by at least 15% of the citizens in a particular municipality. Recognized minority languages in the nation include Hungarian, Rusyn, Czech, Roma, Polish, and Ukrainian. Because Hungarians make up the second largest ethnic group in Slovakia it’s no surprise that Hungarian is the second most spoken language in the country.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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