The Slovenian language has played a special role throughout Slovenian history. It is still considered one of the foundations of national identity. In spite of various influences, it has preserved its special linguistic features – the most notable being the archaic dual form. This is the grammatical number used for two people or things in all inflected parts of speech.
Slovene is a fully developed and internally richly-structured modern language. The codification of literary Slovene in grammars, dictionaries and normative reference books has a rich tradition stemming from the 16th century (the first Slovene book was printed in 1550).
Slovene is an Indo-European language with a highly developed inflectional system (e.g. preservation of the dual). Together with Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian, it is classified within the South Slavic branch of the Slavic languages, although it also has many features in common with the West Slavic branch. The geographic territory of Slovene lies in one of the most complex linguistic contact areas in Europe, where Slavic converges with Romance, Germanic and Finno-Ugric.
Sources indicate that two waves of Slavic settlement reached what is now Slovene territory in the 6th century. The Freising Fragments and some other copies show that in the 10th century Slovene was already beginning to take shape from Alpine Slavic as a distinct language. Long after the loss of Carantania ‘s political independence the language of this tradition continued to be used (for example in the enthronement ceremony of the Carinthian duke until 1414).
In the new state of Slovenia, Slovene fully asserted itself immediately in the military, in the customs service, and in state protocol, and in every case its use has expanded into all areas that have opened up with the newest innovations in social and technological development.
The Slovene evolved from the Proto-Slavic, and the characteristic features of the Slovene language are already seen in the Freising Manuscripts, the oldest surviving writings in Slovene. They were written in the Latin script in Carinthia more than a thousand years ago. The texts they contain, however, were created earlier, most probably in the 8th century.
The Slovenian language is a unique language for true lovebirds. It is one of very rare languages to use dual grammatical forms in addition to the singular and the plural.