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Slovak is the language of Slovakia, the eastern third of what was formerly Czechoslovakia. It is spoken by about 4½ million people or 90 percent of the country’s population.
Slovak is very similar to Czech, the two estimated to be about 90 percent mutually intelligible. A great number of words are identical in both languages – e.g., okno (window), srdce (heart), jazyk (language), and zmrzlina (ice cream), while others, such as sneh (snow – Czech, sníh) and vták (bird – Czech, pták) differ by only a letter or two.
The Slovak alphabet is also similar to that of Czech, though it lacks three Czech letters (ĕ, ř, and ů) and contains a number of its own. Two are vowels, the ä, as in mäso (meat), and the ô, as in nôž= (knife), while an apostrophe after the consonants d, l, and t indicates a soft sound (e.g., učitel' – teacher). The Slovak word for Slovak is slovenskyý, not to be confused with the word for Slovenian, slovinský.
Authorized from the original edition of The Languages of the World 3rd edition by Keneth Katzner published by Routledge, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group.
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