Czech (/ˈtʃɛk/; čeština Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛʃcɪna]), formerly known as Bohemian (/bəʊˈhiːmɪən/; lingua Bohemica in Latin), is a West Slavic language spoken by over 10 million people. It is the official language in the Czech Republic (where most of its speakers live), and has minority language status in Slovakia. Czech's closest relative is Slovak, with which it is mutually intelligible. It is closely related to other West Slavic languages, such as Silesian and Polish, and more distantly to East Slavic languages such as Russian. Although most Czech vocabulary is based on shared roots with Slavic and other Indo-European languages, many loanwords (most associated with high culture) have been adopted in recent years. Education Education in the Czech Republic is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 15. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 104 percent, and in 1995, the net primary enrollment rate was 86.9 percent Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for the Czech Republic as of 2001. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school. Ethnic Roma children attend school less regularly and attend “special schools” for mentally disabled or socially maladjusted individuals. ORTHOGRAPHY Czech has one of the most phonemic orthographies of all European languages. Its thirty-one graphemes represent thirty sounds (in most dialects, i and y have the same sound), and it contains only one digraph: ch, which follows h in the alphabet. As a result, some of its characters have been used by phonologists to denote corresponding sounds in other languages. The characters q, w and x appear only in foreign words. The háček (ˇ) is used with certain letters to form new characters: š, ž, and č, as well as ň, ě, ř, ť, and ď (the latter five uncommon outside Czech). The last two letters are sometimes written with a comma above (ʼ, an abbreviated háček) because of their height. The character ó exists only in loanwords and onomatopoeia. Origins: Proto-Czech and Old Czech Around the sixth century AD, a tribe of Slavs arrived in a portion of Eastern Europe. According to legend they were led by a hero named Čech, from whom the word "Czech" derives. These lands were soon taken over by the Eurasian Avars, but the burgeoning ethnic group (led by Samo, a non-Czech) recaptured its old land from the Avars during the following century. The ninth century brought the state of Great Moravia, whose first ruler (Rastislav of Moravia) invited By zantine ruler Michael III to send missionaries. These missionaries, Constantine and Methodius, converted the Czechs from traditional Slavic paganism to Orthodox Christianity and established an Orthodox church system. They also brought the Glagolitic alphabet to the West Slavs, whose language was previously unwritten.