Slovenian language is spoken by about 2.5 million speakers worldwide. It was the first written Slavic language.
It is spoken by Slovenian minorities in the bordering counters of Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. As a result of a migration at the beginning of the twentieth century Slovene can also be heard in Ohio, USA. After WWII, many Slovenians left their home country and moved to Argentina, so the Slovenian language is also present in South America. Other countries with Slovenian speaking minorities are Croatia, Serbia, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
The modern Slovenian language was formed in the 18th and 19th century.
Slovene traces its roots to the same proto-Slavic group of languages. The earliest known examples of a distinct, written dialect connected to Slovene are from the Freising manuscripts, known in Slovene as Brižinski spomeniki. The text was first written in the time of Christianization of the Slovene tribes in the 6th century. The consensus estimate of date of origin of Freising manuscripts is between 972 and 1039 (most likely before 1000). These religious texts are among the oldest surviving manuscripts in any Slavic language.
The texts were discovered in Freising, Germany. Since 1803 they have been kept in the Bavarian State Library in Munich. The copy of it is in the Ljubljana University Library.
Slovene was the 12th language in the world with a complete Bible translation!
The Bible was fully translated into the Slovene language by Slovenian Lutheran minister Jurij Dalmatin. The translation was completed in 1578 and was published five years later in 1583. Besides its religious importance, Dalmatin’s translation of the Bible also had an immense linguistic importance. His translation set standards of the Slovenian language for centuries to come.
Slovene language has almost fifty dialects. The Slovene proverb “Every village has its own voice” (Vsaka vas ima svoj glas) depicts the differences in dialects. Although pronunciation differs slightly from area to area, those differences do not pose major obstacles to understanding.
The ‘dual’ in the Slovenian language
It’s a specialty of the Slovenian language, in that there is not only singular and plural but ‘dual’. Thus, “the two towers” in English is simply “stolpa” in Slovene.
The dual number is not a very complicated, but rather provocative part of the Slovenian language grammar. Dual is used when referring to precisely two persons, object or concepts, identified by the noun or pronoun.
The ‘dual’ can be found also in some other European languages, like Scottish Gaelic, Sorbian and Frisian – however all three of those languages have 100,000 speakers. The dual also appears in some cases in Arabic. In other Slavic languages, it has passed away, although some traces remain.
Letters Č, Š, Ž
The modern Slovene alphabet was developed in the 1840s. It was based on the existing Czech alphabet and contains 25 letters. The alphabet uses the basic Latin alphabet with added letters Č (pronounced as ‘ch’ – cherry), Š (pronounced as ‘sh’ – sheep), Ž (pronounced as ‘je’ in French – ‘je suis’ – ‘I am’). The alphabet does not use X and Y.
The silliest Slovenian curse words
Perhaps the most popular curses in the Slovene language are:
“Tristo kosmatih medvedov” (Three hundred hairy bears) – (Slovenia is known as the country where bears roam freely in the vast forests and woods. They are mostly found in the Kočevje region.)
”Naj te koklja brcne!“(A hen should kick you!),
”Krščen matiček! ” (Baptised Matthew!),
“Bog te nima rad!” (God doesn’t like you!),
“Jebelacesta!” This is probably one of the most used curse words that you will come across in Slovenia. It is directly translated into … wait for it … “the road is white”.
“Križana gora!” (Crucified mountain!)
“Pojdi se solit!” (Go salt yourself!)
“Šmentana muha!” (Damn housefly!)
“Naj ti ohrovt zgnije!” (May your kale rot!) – As long as your avocados are fine, right? 😊
“Mat kurja!” (Chicken´s mom!)
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