The Slovak language derives from Indo-European languages from the West Slavic area. However, it has influences from German, English, Latin, and Hungarian but is most similar to Czech. The European Union, Serbia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic use Slovak as an official language while Hungary identifies it as a minority language. As of 2001, there were about 5 million native speakers of this language with about 4.6 million of this number residing in Slovakia. However, Slovak can be heard in various countries around the world. Nonetheless, there are four Slovak dialects, which include Eastern, Central, Western, and Lowland. The main deviations within these dialects is slight changes in phonology, inflection, and vocabulary.
When written, Slovak utilizes Latin letters with four diacritic that can be added above specific letters. These include the acute mark, the circumflex, the umlaut, and the caron. The acute mark prolongs the letter's sound while the circumflex is only place above "o" and causes a gliding vowel. The umlaut only occurs above the "a" and causes an "e" sound. Lastly, the caron creates a softer sound to certain consonants.