A language is more than just words and sounds, it also needs rules for putting these things together. Thus, grammar is the spinal column of any human language. In the case of Interslavic, the starting point are grammatical elements that the Slavic languages have in common. However, opinions differ on what it should look like precisely. Some of the older projects propose a grammar very similar to the complex grammar of Old Church Slavonic, whereas others put much stress on regularity and simplicity. Which solution is best depends both on the speaker, the listener, the medium and the situation. In general, it can be said that any grammar model intended to be simple for non-Slavs tends to make the language less natural and therefore harder to understand for Slavs, yet on the other hand, communication on a basic level is already possible without detailed knowledge of Slavic grammar. To cope with this difference, we propose two different grammar levels: a simple, regular grammar model with a minimum of rules, useful for beginners (especially non-Slavs) and casual tourists, and an advanced grammar model, intended to be used by Slavs as well as non-Slavs with more advanced knowledge. Because the first level is a subset of the second, a learner can gradually move ahead without his previously acquired knowledge becoming invalidated.
The simplest form of Interslavic, Slovianto, is a primitive, pidginesque grammar model, characterised by the absence of anything that is not really needed for simple communication. At this level, grammatical gender does not play a role, noun cases are absent, and verbal conjugation remains limited to a bare minimum. Memorising it should be a matter of hours rather than of days, and the entire grammar can be found on one page. This grammar level is not intended for use by Slavs, but rather by non-Slavs who want to be able to express themselves on a basic level, without learning an entire language.
Slovianto has been constructed in such way that it can gradually be expanded with new bits and pieces that occur in more complex versions. For those who feel up to the task of making it sound a bit more natural, or use it as a first step in the process of learning the „real” Interslavic language, there are also two more „advanced” levels. The second level introduces the learner to gender and provides him with a simple model for conjugating verbs. At last, the third level gives the learner an introduction to noun declension.
„Real” Interslavic is a natural and very broadly understandable language for Slavs. It is entirely based on forms common to the Slavic languages, and when no common forms exist, on majority solutions. It has grammatical gender, six cases plus an optional vocative, verbal aspect and full conjugation – things that virtually every Slav is familiar with. In addition, it also contains some material that is absent in most Slavic languages, but knowledge of which can be of great help in understanding the languages that use it. Compared to the natural Slavic languages, this grammar model is still fairly simple and regular. Exceptions are rare and most irregularity is eliminated with means provided by the Slavic languages themselves, without introducing any artificiality. This grammar model is primarily intended for communication between Slavs of different nationalities, but can of course also be used by non-Slavs who want to be able to communicate on a more serious level. It is suitable for contacts and publications, but also as a means to gain insight into the nature of Slavic.
The current version of Interslavic is the result of the merger in June/July 2017 of the two most active projects of modern times, Slovianski and Neoslavonic. Before that, Slovianski had already been renamed „Interslavic/Medžuslovjanski” in 2011. Older versions of Slovianski can be found here:
See also: Historic pages.