Are Czech and Slovak the same language?

Because languages are just codified points in some continuums of dialects, and it's especially the case of the Slavic languages, the answer depends on social conventions that are changing with time.

Up to 1840s, the Slovaks who consider their native tongue to be a separate language from Czech were about as numerous as those who considered it a dialect of Czech. The first political direction got more prominent. Well, there were actually two competing schools differing in which region of Slovakia should become the template for the newly codified language.

One of them won and an intellectual named Ľudovít Štúr codified the rules of the new, Slovak language. So after the 1840s, almost everyone would answer "two languages".

However, that changed again in 1918, exactly 100 years before this week. The newly founded country, Czechoslovakia, was marketed as a nation state with a clearly dominant nation, the Czechoslovak nation. That was partly a trick to make the German and Hungarian minorities look much smaller in comparison – that wouldn't be possible if the Slovaks were a separate nation because Germans were almost as numerous as Slovaks in Czechoslovakia.

So in Czechoslovakia, 1918–1938, there was one Czechoslovak nation and it spoke one, Czechoslovak language – which had two realizations known as Czech and Slovak.

Slovak nationalists gained the upper hand in 1938 or 1939, with the help of Adolf Hitler, and Slovak was of course a separate language and nation. The Germans were expelled in 1945 when Czechoslovakia was restored and Czechs and Slovaks no longer "needed" the idea of a single nation to outnumber the Germans which is why they kept the idea of two nations and two languages ever since. In 1969, Czechoslovakia became a federal country composed of two republics – the plans for this reform were made before the 1968 occupation, during the Prague Spring, and they weren't a problem for the Soviet leader – and when the year 1992 ended, Czechoslovakia dissolved.


For natives almost 100% mutually inteligible. For non-natives, it is different and probably would not understand. Especially in written form there are different letters which do not exist in other language. Natives know it because of constant exposure.

  1. You can study in either country in university knowing only your language. Example: Slovak studying in Prague - questions for tests are in Czech, you answer in Slovak. You write even your diploma work in Slovak. On university in Slovakia where I study there are some Czech professors who do their seminars in Czech language.
  2. No kids TV station in Slovakia. Small kids watch Czech kiddie shows, so you get 6 year old children, who understand Czech.
  3. Many foreign shows and movies are only dubbed in Czech, so I as Slovak can watch it in original or in Czech. For example, the Simpsons.
  4. Also local TV stations make shows which are shown in both countries simultanieously. Superstar or now is running yet another serie of Czechoslovakia got talent. One host is Czech, other Slovak. Two Czech and two Slovak judges. Everybody speak their language and no subtitles :).

Definitively no, they are closely related but different. Slovak has only six cases, missing the vocativ, as one example. Slovak does not have the R with hook, which means it easier for pronunciation for foreigners.


No. They are mutually intellegible to native speakers however phonology is almost completely different, there are major differences in morphology and syntax and significant differences in vocabulary. But the languages split relatively recently therefore they are as close as two distinct languages can be.


they are probably about as similar as Danish and Swedish are to each other, they are similar but definitely not the same. If you as a foreigner learn czech and no slovak, you will have a difficult time understanding it, though you can easily get acclimatized to each language if you know one of them.


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