Linguist: 20,000 Words Enough for Day-to-Day Communication in Slovak

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TASR's 2020 New Year almanac containing some rules of codified Slovak language. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 23 (TASR) – The acronym ‘TASR’, standing for the News Agency of the Slovak Republic in its Slovak original (Tlacova agentura Slovenskej republiky) was one of the top newcomers in the Slovak journalistic vocabulary after the country became independent in 1993, computer linguist Radovan Garabik from the Ludovit Stur Linguistic Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) has told TABLET.TV.


The most frequently used Slovak word is ‘byť’ (to be), while it’s ‘rok’ (year) among nouns.
In order to facilitate web search, the institute has produced a morphological database of Slovak words, including their declined and conjugated forms. This database now contains 130,000 basic forms of words plus their declined and conjugated forms and 5 million combinations of words and their grammar forms.

These 130,000 words in their basic form represent the fundamental passive vocabulary of the Slovak language, “although it’s being claimed that 20,000 words are enough for day-to-day communication”, said Garabik.

Meanwhile, two major dictionaries of the Slovak language – retrograde and present – contain 250 million words, taking into account a balance of styles and genres, as well as individual epochs since 1955, when the current Slovak orthography was stabilised.