Serbian is a South Slavic language from the Indo-European family that is based on the Serbo-Croatian language. Serbian Latin is the form written specifically in the Latin script, although Serbian can also be written using the Cyrillic script. Serbian is a standardized form of Shtokavian, the most widely spoken dialect of Serbo-Croatian, which developed from Old Slavonic between the 12th and 16th centuries. The language evolved and various dialects broke off into languages such as Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin, and in the 19th century, writers proposed a standardization of the language. Today, Serbian is an official language in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a minority status in 8 other countries, including Croatia, Romania and Greece. It is spoken by almost 8 million people, mainly in the former Yugoslavian region.
Slovak is another Slavic language from the Indo-European family; this one comes from the Western dialect. In the 6th and 7th centuries, the Slavic languages began to diverge into 3 dialects, but not until the 10th century were they different enough to be classified as separate languages. During that time, Latin was the main language used officially as other languages were prohibited, but the common people continued to speak Slavic. The language grew and evolved and in the 15th century, documents and literature written in Slovak began to emerge and began to be standardized starting in the 1700s. In 1918, Slovak became a co-official language (with Czech) with the establishment of Czechoslovakia, and in 1993, when the country divided, Slovak became the sole official language of Slovakia. Today, it also holds official status in Czech Republic and Serbia, as well as a recognized minority language in Hungary, Russia, and Ukraine. More than 5.5 million people speak Slovak throughout the world today.
Slovenian is another language from the South Slavic branch of the Indo-European family. The language arose between the 10th and 11th centuries, when a Slovene dialect of Old Church Slavonic was written in a manuscript. The area where this dialect was spoken were gradually Germanized and Slovene was spoken mainly by the common people. In the 16th century, literature, poetry, and religious translations were published and gave way to a standardized Slovene, although it was still a peasant language until the 1900s. The language evolved with influences from German, Serbo-Croatian, Czech and more, and in 1991, Slovenia gained independence, revitalizing and solidifying the use of modern Slovene. Today, Slovene is spoken by approximately 2.5 million people and is the official language of Slovenia, with a recognized minority status in Austria, Hungary, and Italy.
Somali is a Cushitic language from the Afro-Asiatic language family. The Cushitic languages date back to the 10th century CE and are named for the biblical Cush, ancestor of the speakers of these languages. Exactly when Somali emerged as its own language remains unclear, but ancient inscriptions have been found. Somali uses various alphabets and scripts, including Wadaad writing in the Arabic script, the Osmanya alphabet and the Somali Latin alphabet. Somali Latin uses the Latin script, which was officially adopted in 1972 and is the most commonly used writing system. Somali is spoken by approximately 15 million people in Somali, where it holds official status, as well as surrounding areas countries such as Ethiopia and Djibouti, where it is a recognized minority language.
If you need anything translated into one of these languages, come on over to Lionbridge onDemand. Stay tuned for our next A-Z blog where we’ll tell you about the second set of Lionbridge languages that begin with “S”.
(*These are the languages for which we have translators on staff and ready to go. If there is a language that you do not see on this list, you can put in a request and we can find and source a linguist for you.)