THE SLOVAK LANGUAGE
Slovak is a Slavonic language. It belongs to the Slavonic branche of the so called indo-european languages. The Slavs had originally lived north of the Carpathian mountains and the spread out to the west (Elbe river), south (Balcans and Adriatic) and to the east (Russia and Ukraine).
The first more extensive Slavonic written records date from the 9th century and they come from Great Moravia. At that time the Slavonic languages were still remarkably close. The Slavs of the Danube and Morava region still understood the language of the Balkan Slavs. In the year 863 Cyril and Methodius, two brothers from the Byzantine Empire, came to the great Moravian prince Rastislav. They brought religious books with them and translated them into Macedonian culture language. Later they went to the Slavonic south from where the language spread to the south-east. The language used in this religious literature is called the old-slavonic or the old bulgarian language (staroslovienčina).
From the second half of the 10th century to the second half of the 18th century, throughout the Hungarian Empire, Latin, Hungarian and Latin were written in Slovakia, but Slovak was spoken here. Major efforts to establish Slovak as the standard language emerged in the 17th century by Vavrinec Benedikt from Nedožery, Daniel Sinapius Horčička and Matej Bel, but they were not successful.
The Austro-hungarian Monarchy, from the second half of the 18th century, new efforts appeared. Anton Bernolák (1762-1815) was the first to establish a standard Slovak language. Bernolák`s norm of Slovak was based on the language of Trnava university (1635-1777) which drew on the west-slovak dialect. Bernolák`s standard language, however, did not become the language of all Slovaks.
The present standard language was introduced by Štúr`s generation. The leaders of this group Ľudovít Štúr (1815-1856), Jozef Miloslav Hurban (1817-1888) and Michal Miloslav Hodža (1811-1870) decided to establish the Slovak literary language on the basis of the Central-slovak dialect. They did so in year 1843 in Hlboké. Slovak became the official language in Slovakia in the Czechoslovak Republic after 1918. It is the official language of our new Slovak Republic. New words are constantly added to its stock and its grammatical system is standarized. Recently a new language law has been put in force.
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The Slovak Language
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