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The Slovak language in a nutshell
Slovak or alternatively Slovakian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group closely related to Czech, Polish, and the Sorbian languages of eastern Germany. Slovak is the official language of Slovakia and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
Not be confused with Slovene (or Slovenian), which is a South Slavic language, the Slovak language has been extensively influenced by Latin, German and other Slavic languages. In fact, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, there are traces of the Slovak language in Latin documents as early as the 11th century.
However, the earliest-known attempts to increase the use of written Slovak came in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the language was standardized and the first important books in and about Slovak appeared. Probably the most important among these were The Czech Grammar (1603) and Romuald Hadvabný of Červený Kláštor’s Latin-Slovak Dictionary (1763).
Slovak vs Czech – how similar are they?
As you probably already know, the sister language of Slovak is Czech (also available to learn in Mondly) because of their very high degree of mutual intelligibility. Meaning, if you already know one language you will probably understand a great deal of the second.
Czech and Slovak had long historic ties well before the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, a state which existed until 1993. Literary Slovak shares significant orthographic features with Czech, as well as technical and professional terminology dating from the Czechoslovak period, but phonetic, grammatical and vocabulary differences do exist.
To give you a better idea of their intelligibility degree, we could roughly describe the differences between Czech and Slovak by making parallels with British English and American English: different vocabulary here and there, false cognates, varied syntax, localized idioms, and different vocabulary and slang.
Other languages that share history and vocabulary with Slovak are Latin, German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Greek.
Start learning Slovak today
It can be really tricky to master Slovak pronunciation if you don’t actively live in Slovakia. But with Mondly, the award-winning language learning app, you’ll have access to a unique, fast and highly efficient learning method that allows you to learn Slovak naturally with practical topics, authentic conversations and bite-sized Daily Lessons.
Get Mondly now and speak your first Slovak phrases today!