USAGE BY COUNTRY (OFFICIAL LANGUAGE)Official Language: Slovenia Officially Recognized Language: Southern Carinthia/Austria Officially Recognized Status: Friuli-Venezia Giulia/Italy Home Speakers: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Italy, Hungary and Austria
BACKGROUNDIt belongs to the Indo-European family, Slavonic group, South Slavonic subgroup and has over 2 million speakers, most of whom are bilingual in Croatian. An Austrian variety of Slovenian with many German loanwords is called "Windisch", not to be confused with "Wendish" , the Sorbian language. In spite of Slovenia's small size, the mountainous aspect of the country has given rise to numerous dialects which differ greatly from one another. However, the basis for literary Slovenian is constituted by central dialects. The oldest identifiably Slovenian text dates from about 1000. Regular writing and printing in Slovenian began in 1551 in connection with the Protestant Reformation. After about 1600, Slovenian declined as a written language until the early 19th century.