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The languages of the SlavicPeoples, and the last of the major IndoEuropean groups to appear.

Also called Slavonic Languages, group of Indo-European languages spoken in most of eastern EuropE, much of the Balkans, parts of central EuropE, and the northern part of AsiA?. The Slavic group of languages is most closely related to the languages of the Baltic group (Lithuanian, Latvian, and the now-extinct Old Prussian).

Scholars divide the Slavic languages into three branches: (1) South Slavic, which is further split into Western and Eastern subgroups. The Western subgroup is composed of Slovene and Serbo-Croatian (present-day Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian), languages spoken in SloveniA?, Bosnia and Herzegovina, YugoslaviA?, and adjacent regions. The Eastern subgroup consists of Bulgarian in BulgariA? and adjacent areas, and Macedonian in Macedonia and the adjacent part of GreecE?. (2) West Slavic, which includes Czech in the CzechRepublic? and Slovak in SlovakiA?, Upper and Lower Sorbian in GermanY, and Lekhitic (Polish and related dialects). (3) East Slavic, including Russian, Ukrainian (Little Russian), and Belarusian (White Russian).

The tripartite division of the Slavic languages does not take into account the spoken dialects of each language. Of these, certain so-called transitional dialects and hybrid dialects often bridge the gaps between different languages, showing similarities that are not apparent when Slavic literary (i.e., standard) languages are compared. There are, however, enough differences existing between the various Slavic dialects and languages to make communication between SlavS? of different nationalities difficult, but not impossible. Within the individual SlavicLanguages, dialects may vary to a lesser degree, as in Russian, or to a much greater degree, as in Slovene. Modern mass communication, however, has helped to minimize variation in all the SlavicLanguages.

SlavicLanguages descend from a dialect of Proto-Slavic, their parent language, which developed from a language that was also the ancestor of Proto-Baltic, the parent of the Baltic languages. It is believed that Proto-Balto-Slavic, this ancestral language, was spoken in the territories surrounding what is today known as Lithuania at some time after the Indo-European area had been separated into different dialect regions (c. 3000 BC).

West Slavic Languages:

South Slavic Languages:

East Slavic Languages:

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Last edited January 30, 2001 5:17 am by WojPob (diff)