These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet.
The variety of dialects is also a result of the shared borders with four different nations.
About 7 percent of the population speaks Serbo-Croatian. Unlike other Slavic cultures, the Slovenes have been greatly influenced by German and Austrian cultures, a result of centuries of rule by the Austrian Habsburgs.
Italian influence is evident in the regions that border Italy.
Eighty-seven percent of the population considers itself Slovene, while Hungarians and Italians constitute significant groups and have the status of indigenous minorities under the Slovenian Constitution, guaranteeing them seats in the National Assembly.
During the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Slovenia's language, which had been considered a peasant language compared to the more prestigious German, was used by political and religious factions as an instrument of propaganda.
Although initially a political tool, Slovene eventually gained a new level of prestige and provided a linguistic identity that helped shape Slovenia's national identity. Two important national symbols are the linden tree and the chamois, a European antelope, both of which are abundant throughout the country.
This independent state persisted until the latter part of the eighth century when it was absorbed into the Frankish empire.
In the tenth century, Slovenia fell under the control of the Holy Roman Empire and was reorganized as the duchy of Carantania by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I (912–973).