The Slovak language is spoken by about 5.5 million people and is the official language of Slovakia. It is a member of the Indo-European family of languages, along with the other West Slavic languages. Slovak is also spoken in North America, the Czech Republic, Argentina, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. It first emerged as a distinct language around six CE following a mass emigration of Slavs from Poland, who proceeded to spread across Central Europe.
The Slovak language has not undergone any major changes since the sixteenth century, despite cultural shifts and considerable political turmoil. Along with Czech, the language has remained relatively the same apart from an increase in words and vocabulary as a whole. The first work of Slovak literature was written in the sixteenth century and composed primarily in Latin. Works such as this focused mostly on religious issues of the time but also included a number of Roman and Greek stories. Slovak was originally based on Czech until the 1800s, when a distinct Slovak language began to develop in central Slovakia, becoming a literary language by the late 1700s.
Slovak and Czech are extremely similar, so after Czechoslovakia was dissolved, significant linguistic and cultural ties remained. This is especially true regarding the Czech educational system and literary publications. Though the Slovak language hasn’t changed in centuries, there is now talk about distancing it from Czech language and culture in order for it to forge its own distinct identity.
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