Branch of the Indo-European language family spoken by more than 315 million people in central and eastern Europe and northern Asia. The Slavic family is usually divided into three subgroups: West Slavic, comprising Polish, Slovak, Czech, and Sorbian; East Slavic, comprising Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian; and South Slavic, comprising Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian. Polish belongs to the Lekhitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, which also includes Kashubiannow spoken in western Poland by fewer than 150,000 people and regarded in Poland as a Polish dialectand several now-extinct languages. A distinctive feature of this subgroup is its preservation of the Proto-Slavic nasal vowels. Another remnant language is Sorbian, spoken by 60,000–70,000 people in eastern Germany. Western Lekhitic and Sorbian are all that remains of what was once a much greater Slavic speech area in central Europe; that area was gradually Germanized from about the 9th century. Among Indo-European languages, Slavic is closest to the family of Baltic languages.
Variants of SLAVIC LANGUAGES
Slavic languages or Slavonic languages
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