West Slavic language of Slovakia, spoken by about 5.6 million people there and in enclaves in the Czech Republic, Hungary, northern Serbia, and North America. Slovak was virtually an unwritten language until the late 18th century, largely because of the long political domination of Slovakia by Hungary and the much earlier literary cultivation of Czech, Slovak's western linguistic neighbour. Present-day literary Slovak was effectively consolidated by the 1850s on the basis of Central Slovak dialects.
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