Slovak is a part of the West Slavic languages family and it is the official language of Slovakia. Czech is also used in the Slovak media and in communication with Slovak public bodies. Slovak is very close to Czech, although the two languages are starting to drift apart. The main differences between the two languages are lexical and phonological.
Only the standard form of Slovak is used in formal settings and in the media. There are various local accents and dialects. The main distinction is between eastern, central and western Slovakia. Standard Slovak is based on the central dialect. Western Slovak is influenced by Czech dialects while eastern Slovak is influenced by Polish.
Slovak uses the Latin script with diacritic signs to mark accent on certain words. The Slovak alphabet has 46 letters.
When translating from Slovak to English, the word count tends to decrease as Slovak is a more descriptive language.
Slovakia has a rich folk tradition. Each region has its own unique folkloric tradition celebrated in annual festivals. The largest folk festivals are held in the towns of Východná, Myjava, and Detva. Slovak traditions are rooted in the pre-Christianity period and many customs are still observed to this day. In the pre-Christian era, customs were related to nature and the changing of the seasons. For instance, to welcome spring, a straw effigy representing winter is burnt or thrown into a stream. In Slovakia, Christmas is celebrated on 6 January and it is customary to see boys going from door to door dressed as the three wise men and singing carols. The season called Shrovetide begins after the Epiphany. It is a season of entertainment and feasting, with carnivals organised across the country. The subsequent Easter festival is the most important celebration of the year, with special celebrations for each day of the week.