S slovenščino odkrivam svet

Slovene Language

A short history

The Slovene language we know and speak today has a long spoken and written tradition. The ancestors of the Slovenes settled in the wider area of present-day Slovenia in the 6th century and, through communication with each other, gradually developed their own language. Slovene belongs to the group of South Slavonic languages and is extremely rich in dialects.

The oldest preserved records of written Slovene are The Freising Monuments, a religious text from the 10th century.

In 1550 the first Slovene book was printed and Slovene literary language began to evolve.

Through the centuries Slovene evolved in all areas as the language of communication, the language of journalism, profession and learning, the language of literature, and, after 1848, also as one of the official languages of the Austrian Empire, thus becoming the language of education, administration, judicial and public life.

Finally, in 1919 in Ljubljana, the first Slovene university was established, thus enabling the establishment of Slovene as the language of science as well.

In Yugoslavia, Slovene, as one of official languages, in principle had a secure and equal status with languages of other Yugoslav nations. 

Following independence in 1991, Slovene became the official language of the Republic of Slovenia as set out by the Constitution, and from 1 May 2004 it has also become one of official languages of the European Union.

In the Republic of Slovenia Slovene is spoken by almost 2 million people, and outside its borders there are an additional several hundred thousand speakers – the members of Slovene ethnic minorities in Italy, Austria and Hungary as well as Slovenes living in Argentina, the USA, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere. Slovene therefore is not a minor language as the number of speakers place it in the upper 3% of languages of the world. Slovene is also becoming increasingly of interest for foreigners who are learning it in increasingly greater numbers.


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