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Almost everyone in Bratislava speaks Slovak, a western Slavic language. Slovak is very similar to Czech and more or less comprehensible to Polish-speakers. Hungarian, the first language of about 10 percent of Slovak citizens, most of whom live in the southern part of the country, is also spoken by a minority of Bratislava residents. Bratislava was once famed as a tri-lingual city, whose residents could switch with ease between German, Hungarian and Slovak, and a few still preserve this proud tradition.
English and German are both widely spoken as second languages, especially by younger people. The standard of English is often good, though speakers sometimes need encouragement before they will open up. Don't be afraid to ask for an English-speaker: everyone understands the word 'English' (or if not, 'anglitskee yah-zeek' in phonetic Slovak) and there will almost always be one nearby.
Most Slovaks older than about 40 will have received several years of Russian-language tuition during their schooling, but few seem to remember much and you will rarely hear it spoken by locals.
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