The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages) are the Indo-European languages spoken by the Slavic peoples, originally from Eastern Europe. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic spoken during the Early Middle Ages, which in turn is thought to have descended from the earlier Proto-Balto-Slavic language, linking the Slavic languages to the Baltic languages in a Balto-Slavic group within the Indo-European family.
The Slavic languages are divided intro three subgroups: East, West, and South, which together constitute more than twenty languages. Of these, ten have at least one million speakers and official status as the national languages of the countries in which they are predominantly spoken: Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian (of the East group), Polish, Czech and Slovak (of the West group) and Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian and Bulgarian (of the South group).
The current geographic distribution of natively spoken Slavic languages covers Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Central Europe and all of the territory of Russia, which includes northern and north-central Asia. Furthermore, the diasporas of many Slavic peoples have established isolated minorities of speakers of their languages all over the world. The number of speakers of all Slavic languages together is estimated to be 315 million.[unreliable source?] Despite the large extent, the individual Slavic languages are considerably less differentiated than Germanic and Romance languages.
The languages Edit