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West Slavic language closely related to Czech, Polish, and the Sorbian languages of eastern Germany. It is the official language of Slovakia. Slovak is written in the Roman (Latin) alphabet. Although there are traces of the Slovak language in Latin documents of the 11th-15th century and in the Czech of the 14th-16th century, the earliest-known attempts to increase the use of written Slovak came in the 17th and 18th centuries, when Roman Catholics centred at the University of Trnava tried to introduce Slovak for use in their hymnal and other church books. The language did not become accepted as a literary language, however, until a group led by the Protestant L'udovít Stúr (1815-56) began to write in the central Slovak dialects. The language of these writings, as modified and codified by Martin Hattala in his grammar of 1852, rapidly gained approval and was accepted as standard. (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)


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