Czech vs. Slovak


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Czech vs. Slovak

Postby anggrek » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:48 pm

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.
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Re: Czech vs. Slovak

Postby Pego » Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:35 pm

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.
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Re: Czech vs. Slovak

Postby anggrek » Sun Oct 09, 2005 5:11 pm

so pego, are they somewhat like russian and ukrainian (language)? for some reason, i thought they were much closer and akin to being the same language, like serbian and croatian are basically the same language?

i agree with you, what i heard was that it was a stupid break-up.
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Czech vs. Slovak

Postby Pego » Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:54 am

The Ukrainian dialect I am somewhat familiar with is the Ruthenian (western Ukraine along the Carpathian Mountains), which is quite removed from the Russian. You are right. Czech and Slovak are very close, but still quite distinct. My children were exposed to Slovak all their life and as children understood it well. When we had Czech speaking visitors, they did not understand at all.
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