The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages) are the languages of the Slavic peoples. They form a distinct group of Indo-European languages, with speakers in most of Eastern Europe, much of the Balkans, parts of Central Europe, and the northern part of Asia.
Scholars divide the Slavic languages into three branches:
The tripartite division of the Slavic languages does not take into account the spoken dialects of each language. Of these, certain so-called transitional dialects and hybrid dialects often bridge the gaps between different languages, showing similarities that do not stand out when comparing Slavic literary (i.e., standard) languages.
However, enough differences exist between the various Slavic dialects and languages to make communication between Slavs of different nationalities difficult, but not impossible. Within the individual Slavic languages, dialects may vary to a lesser degree, as in Russian, or to a much greater degree, as in Slovenian. Modern mass communication, however, has helped to minimize variation in all the Slavic languages.
Slavic languages descend from a dialect of Proto-Slavic, their parent language, which developed from a language that was also the ancestor of Proto-Baltic, the parent of the Baltic languages. It is believed that the "Urheimat" of Proto-Balto-Slavic, this ancestral language, lay in the territories surrounding today's Lithuania at some time after the Indo-European area had been separated into different dialect regions (c. 3000 BC). Slavic and Baltic speakers share at least 289 words which could have come from that hypothetical language. The process of separation of Proto-Slavic speakers from Proto-Baltic speakers occurred around 1000 BC. Proto-Baltic-Slavic earlier developed from Proto-Baltic-Germanic-Slavic, which has a reconstructed vocabulary of around 164 words.
Some linguists maintain however, that the Slavic group of languages differs more radically from the neighboring Baltic group (Lithuanian, Latvian, and the now-extinct Old Prussian). The Baltic language speakers once lived in a much larger area along the Baltic Sea and south. Starting by AD 600 Slavic language speakers gradually spread and took over large areas of Baltic settlements. (At the same time records note them taking over portions of Greece.) (The first documented attempt at conquest of Baltic speakers by Slavic speakers comes from Adalbert of Prague in the year AD 997.) This group of linguists explain Baltic/Slavic similarities in grammar and vocabulary as a result of this Slav migration into the Baltic-speaking areas and the subsequent proximity of the two groups.
Detailed list with SIL and ISO 639-2 codes
The following tree for the Slavic languages is based on http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=656. ISO 639-2 uses the code sla in a general way for Slavic languages not included in one of the other codes.
A planned language called Slovio also exists: constructed on the basis of Slavic languages, and intended to facilitate intercommunication between people who already speak at least one Slavic language.
az:Slavyan qrupu bg:Славянски езици ca:Llengua eslava cs:Slovanské jazyky de:Slawische Sprachen eo:Slava lingvaro fr:Langues slaves he:שפות סלאביות hr:Slavenski jezici id:Bahasa Slavia ja:スラヴ諸語 nl:Slavische talen pl:Języki słowiańskie ro:Limbile slavice ru:Славянские языки sl:Slovanski jeziki fi:Slaavilaiset kielet sv:Slaviska språk tl:Mga AskFactMaster.Com Eslabo