01Slovak language belongs to the group of Western Slavic languages but it contains some elements of the Southern Slavic languages. Slovak, as a codified language, did not exist until the end of the 18th century, when Anton Bernolák, a Roman Catholic priest set about to create a Slovak literary language. He based his creation on the Western Slovakian dialect and produced a phonetic spelling (one that is written as it is pronounced). Bernolák published his concept of the codified language in his "Grammatica Slavica" in 1790. The codification was further developed in 1843, when an agreement on the codification of Slovak language was made. This was led by Ľudovít Štúr, who then chose the Central dialect as the basis, believing it to be the purest form.
02Slovak uses the Latin alphabet plus the 4 diacritics: the softener: , the length mark: ´, the two dots ¨ and the circumflex ^.
03There are Slovak words that appear to be formed entirely or mostly of consonants, such as the terms for death smrť, quarter štvrť and clunk žblnknutie. Creation of such words is enabled by the existence of semivowels (r, l, ŕ, ĺ).
04Subjectively, Slovak is sometimes called "Slavic Esperanto" because it is regarded as the most comprehensible language for the speakers of other Slavic languages.
05Like Czech, the Slovak language is distinct from many other Slavic languages in the fact that the accent, or stress, is usually placed on the first syllable of a word.
06In addition to Czech, a number of other languages have exerted influence on the development of the Slovak language, notably Polish, Hungarian, Latin and German. The German word for coins, “münzen,” for example, became the basis for the Slovak word for coins, “mince.” In more recent years, Slovak also has borrowed a number of loan-words from other languages such as English and Italian. In most cases, these words are immediately adapted to a Slovak spelling conducive to the Slovak language pronunciation. For example, the English word “weekend” became "víkend", while the Latin word for quality, “qualita”, became “kvalita”.
07Ľudovít Štúr Institute of Linguistics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences established in 1943 is a primary institution in the Slovak Republic that focuses on basic research of standard and non-standard variants of the Slovak language, its history and territorial and social differentiation of the language. The Institute conducts research on the theoretical questions of general linguistics, language culture, professional terminology and onomastics. Its results are applied while compiling basic codification manuals as well as designing and standardizing professional terminology and geographical names.
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