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the language of the Slovaks, who live primarily in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. According to the 1970 census, there are approximately 4.2 million speakers of Slovak, including 3.9 million in Slovakia.
Slovak belongs to the group of West Slavic languages and has three dialects: Western, Central, and Eastern. In its structure, Slovak is close to Czech; it also resembles the South Slavic languages in a number of features. Phonetic peculiarities include the separate vowel ä, the consonants dz and dž, the diphthongs ô (uo), ia, iu, and ie, and the opposition of l and l’. There are oppositions of vowels based on length (a-á, o-ó, u-ú, and i-í) and of the liquid consonants (r-ŕ, l-ĺ). Slovak features a rhythmic principle according to which long syllables may not appear consecutively within a word. Its morphological structure is characterized by a high degree of regularity in declensional and conjugational forms; for example, the endings -m in the first person singular of verbs, -om in the instrumental singular of masculine and neuter nouns, and -u in the genitive singular of masculine nouns in -a. Slovak is also characterized by the loss of the nominal forms of adjectives. The language has preserved the forms of the pluperfect.
Slovak is written in the Latin alphabet using a number of diacritics. The oldest documents date from the 15th and 16th centuries. The fundamentals of the modern literary language were established in the 1840’s based on the Central Slovak dialect, which unites the cultures of the other dialect groups.
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Stanislav. J. Dejiny slovenského jazyka, vols. 1-5. Bratislava, 1956–73.
Pauliny, E. Dejiny spisovnej slovenčiny, vol. 1. Bratislava, 1971.
Morfológia slovenského jazyka. Bratislava, 1966.
Pauliny, E., J. Ružička, and J. Štolc. Slovenská gramatika, 5th ed. Bratislava. 1968.
Isačenko, A. V. Slovensko-ruský prekladovy slovnik. vols. 1-2. Bratislava, 1950–57.
Slovník slovenského jazyka, vols. 1-6. Bratislava, 1959-68.
L. N. SMIRNOV