Slovincian is an extinct dialect of the Pomeranian language, spoken between the lakes Gardno and Lebsko in Pomerania. As everyday language of the community Slovincian died out and was replaced by Low German at the turn of the 20th century, however single words and expressions survived until the years after World War II. At that time there were also reports of elders who were able to hold simple conversations in their dialect.
Slovincian was so closely related to Kashubian that it could be regarded as its dialect. It is disputed whether Slovincians actually used that name for themselves. Some scholars believe that Slovincians regarded themselves only as Lutheran Kashubians and their language as Kashubian. Nevertheless, the name "Slovincian" prevails in the literature and is also used officially (e.g. Slowinski Park Narodowy - Slovincian National Park in the Pomeranian voivodship).
The ancestors of Slovincians probably came to their area some 1500 years ago, as part of the large tribe of Slavic Pomeranians. Following its Christianization, Western Pomerania was gradually becoming more and more Germanized. The relative isolation of the Slovincian settlements from major cities has delayed this process there until late 19th century. In the 16th and 17th century Michal Mostnik (also known as Pontanus or Michael Brüggeman) and Szimon Krofej attempted to introduce Slovincian into the Lutheran Church. They translated and published several religious works in Slovincian.
Their efforts did not stop the process of Germanization of the Slavic population in Pomerania. After the unification of Germany in 1871, the former Prussian province of Pomerania became part of national Germany. The Slavic Pomeranian language was becoming more and more obsolete and was gradually replaced by Low German. The same process was taking place for Catholic Kashubians in the Prussian province of Westpreussen. Nevertheless, Kashubians survived until the Treaty of Versailles put them under Polish government. The Slovincian area was left in the borders of Germany.
Areas populated by the Slovincë became part of Poland after World War II in 1945. The newly arrived Polish settlers treated them as Germans and persecuted them in everyday life, as revenge for the war. They were humiliated, their property and the results of their work (mainly fishing) were stolen. Some Polish intellectuals wrote protest letters against such treatment of Pomerania's indigenous population to the Communist authorities, but that did not change much. Slovincians began to ask for the right to leave for Germany, and virtually all families had emigrated to Germany until the 1980s.