anggrek wrote:can someone tell me: are these 2 distinct languages or 2 different dialects of the same language? i was once told that the country split up for political rather than cultural or ethnic reasons/, can someone explain that? thanks.
I'll try. Czechs and Slovaks are separate nationalities with two separate languages. The languages are similar, but clearly different. The speaker of one language understands the other nearly completely, but needs some effort to learn to speak it. My native tongue is Slovak, but I have a good command of the Czech, while my wife, who is also a native Slovak understands, but does not speak Czech.
The two peoples had a lot of overlapping history from the times of the Great Moravia Empire in the 10th century, through the Austro-Hungarian Empire that ended at the end of WW I. The country of Czechoslovakia was formed as the Austro-Hungary got carved up what basically became Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Austria and Hungary. There are many cultural as well as historical common grounds between Czechs and Slovaks, but many differences as well.
These things above are facts, beyond dispute. Now I'll throw in some of my opinions. The divorce in 1993 was an act of a few nationalist politicians on both sides and in my opinion unnecessary, hurting both nations, Slovaks more than the Czechs.