St. Cyril and his brother St. Methodius are great men in Slovakian history for developing the written Slovak language.

The Slovak people are grateful at the attempt to speak their language. The most common language other than the official Slovak is German, followed by English . Many people speak Russian as well.

Before my daughter's first trip to Slovakia, she wrote out index cards with all of the phrases she thought we might need. On each, she first wrote the phrase in Slovak and then again wrote it phonetically so she could practice the pronunciation. This was very valuable on several occassions. Click here to see a list of the alphabet with pronunciation.

It is important when visiting any country to learn a few greetings and phrases.

There is really no need to go out and try to learn the Slovakian language, unless you are very dedicated. The following two sites, which I think are some of the better on the net, offer sound files which are really helpful because there is no relationship between English and Slovak pronunciation.

Slovak Language site #1 Offers phrases and sound files you can download to your computer to listen to later. There are three "free" categories to choose from on the menu at the top of the page: greetings and social events, basic converstation and useful questions.

Slovak Language site #2 Although a little confusing to navigate, this site offers a good introduction to the language. When you get to the site, you will see a menu bar at the top. When you click on a button, "greetings" for example, you will go to a new page with sub-categories to choose from, directly under the main menu bar. This site offers a great selection of phrases for the traveler.

Slovak Language site #3Okay, I'm going to warn you right now that this site obnoxiously inflicts you with blinking ads and pop-ups, BUT, it is a good site. SCROLL DOWN past the google ads to get to the categories. There are many categories to choose from, sound files, and, what I really like, is that there is a quiz you can take for each category.

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Origin of the Written Slavic Language
     Some time in the middle of the 9th century, A.D., King Rastislav of Great Moravia (present-day Moravia and Slovakia), in an attempt to unify his principality through Christianization requested the Pope in Rome to send a bishop to his kingdom. After no response from Rome, Rastislav sent a letter to the Byznantine Emperor in Constantinople: “We, the Slavs, a simple people, have no-one to teach us the truth..." , and asking for “such a bishop and teacher who would explain to us the true Christian faith in our own language, that other countries also seeing this, would imitate us.”

The emperor sent two missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, who were brothers from Greece. Even before leaving the Byzantine Empire they had created the first Slavic alphabet, called glagolitic and had translated several religious works into the Slavon language (ancient Slav).

Along with the many scholars they brought with them, they established the first academy in Slovakia and continued to develop writing in the Slavic language.