Slovenian is the main language spoken in Slovenia. It is also spoken in Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Approximately 2.5 million people speak this language. Slovenian has a standardized variety and regional varieties. The standardized variety is mainly used when it comes to writing and in formal situations. This variety was developed from the 18th century. It was derived from the central Slovenian dialects. The regional varieties differ from the central variety when it comes to phonology, grammar and vocabulary. The use of regional varieties is increasingly on the decline as the standard variety becomes more popular. There are 56 different Slovenian dialects. This makes it one of the most diverse Slavic languages, when it comes to dialects. Different Slovenian dialects have different degrees of mutual intelligibility. The Resian and Prekmurje dialects are furthest from the standard Slovenian dialects and speakers of these 2 dialects are not easily understood by speakers of the other dialects. The diversity of the dialects came about due to the geography of the country, which is mountainous. This results in isolation of languages, which leads to independent language development.
Slovenian is also written as Slovene. It should not be confused with Slovak. Slovenian is a South Slavic language. It is one of the official languages of the European Union. It is closely related to Serbian and Croatian. Slovenian is mutually intelligible with Croatian, particularly the Cakavian and Kajkavian Croatian dialects.
The Slovenian alphabet was derived from the 1830s version of the Czech alphabet. It is written using the basic ISO Latin alphabet. This is complemented by the use of diacritics to show the length of vowels, where the stress should fall when pronouncing words and the pitch to be used. Diacritics are mainly used in formal situations, such as when writing literary materials, dictionaries and language textbooks. In day to day life, diacritics are rarely used. Slovenian has 2 different diacritic systems. This includes a tonemic system, which indicates the tone to be used when pronouncing words. The non-tonemeic system is widely used in most Slovenian dialects and is the standard accepted form.