Slovene is sometimes characterized as the most diverse Slavic language in terms of dialects, with different degrees of mutual intelligibility. Accounts of the number of dialects range from as few as seven dialects, often considered dialect groups or dialect bases that are further subdivided into as many as 50 dialects. Other sources characterize the number of dialects as nine or eight. Although pronunciation differs greatly from area to area, those differences do not pose major obstacles to understanding. The standard language is mainly used in public presentations or on formal occasions.

The Prekmurje and Resian dialects, being the furthest from the standard language, have been standardized. Speakers of those two dialects have considerable difficulties with being understood by speakers of other varieties of Slovene, needing code-switching to the Standard Slovene. Other dialects are mutually intelligible when speakers avoid the excessive usage of regionalisms.

Regionalisms are mostly limited to culinary and agricultural expressions, although there are many exceptions. Some loanwords have become so deeply rooted into the local language, that people have considerable difficulties in finding a standard expression for the dialectical term (for instance, kovter meaning blanket is prešita odeja in Standard Slovene, but the latter term is never used in speech). Western dialects incorporate a great deal of calques and loanwords from Italian, while eastern dialects remain replete with remnants of the German reign. Usage of those words is considered bad style even in colloquial language and is discouraged since it hinders intelligibility among dialects.


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