Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slovak National Uprising: The Languages Of Slovakia

On this day in 1944, Slovaks under the rule of Nazi collaborator Josef Tiso rose up in an armed insurrection. Unfortunately, the insurrection failed and would not be over until the arrival of the Soviet Army towards the end of the war in 1945. Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia for almost fifty years afterwards and eventually became the independent nation of Slovakia in 1993. In honour of one of the most important days in Slovak history, we're looking at Slovakia's linguistic environment through languages spoken in this beautiful and interesting nation.

Gerlach Peak, the highest peak in Slovakia.
Of course, Slovak is the most commonly spoken language in Slovakia. It is spoken by 4.6 million out of Slovakia's 5.4 million citizens. Slovak has around 5 million speakers total, meaning there are less than half a million speakers outside of Slovakia residing in countries such as the United States, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, Ireland, Romania, Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Hungary, and Ukraine.

The other languages spoken in Slovakia include Bulgarian, Czech, and Russian. This is principally due to immigration. Rusyn is spoken in the northeast of the country, while Hungarian is found in the southern regions which border with, you've guessed it, Hungary.

One of the most impressive things about Slovakia is the level of multilingualism in the country. Nearly 70% of the population aged over 25 speak two or more foreign languages, making Slovakia the second best country in the European Union when it comes to foreign language ability.