The Languages of Slovenia
With over 90% of the Slovenian population speaking Slovene as their first language, Slovenia is one of the countries with the most homogeneous linguistic situations in the EU. In addition to Slovene, languages of the former Yugoslavia are the most spoken minority languages. Furthermore, Italian and Hungarian are official minority languages in some regions near the border. Slovene is also spoken in some regions in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, the US, Canada, Argentina and Australia. All together, Slovene is spoken by approximately 2.4 million native speakers. 1.85 million speakers are living in Slovenia.
Slovene belongs to the South-Western branch of the Slavic languages. Although Slovene is spoken by a relatively small population, it has over 40 regional dialects, which are grouped in seven main dialects. The multitude of dialects complicated the development of a spoken standard.
Features of Slovene:
- The rich inflectional system contains 3 genders, 6 cases and 3 numbers. Slovene is one of the few Indo-European languages, which inflect nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and verbs by the grammatical number dual.
- An adjective is also declined by degree and definiteness. As a result of this rich inflectional system, a single adjective can have 164 word forms.
- Slovene is a language with a relatively free word order. The sentence “Eve gave an apple to Adam.” can have 120 permutations. The different sentence formations stress different aspects of the sentence.