Throughout the centuries, the population of Maribor has changed considerably. People came to Maribor from the different countries of Central Europe, as well as Hungary and Italy, and merged with the local residents.
In the Middle Ages the people of Slovene and German descent lived here; the Jewish community was also quite large. Following a number of natural disasters, fires and epidemics at the end of the seventeenth century the population severely decreased. The town then attracted mostly country people from the Podravje region. It also started to draw people from other Slovene regions. At this time the German population began to emerge as a power in Maribor, mainly by occupying many civil service positions and contributing heavily to the armed forces. The power of the German community grew in proportion to its economic growth. The local Slovenes were mainly dependent upon the Germans for their livelihood. This economic dependency made them easy prey to Germanization.
With an awakening of nationalism in the middle of the nineteenth century, the native Slovenes were determined to assert themselves in Maribor, even more so in the overwhelmingly Slovene countryside.
After World War I, the German civil service component, as well as their soldiers, left Maribor however, German owners of businesses, tradesmen and merchants remained. The city then took in several thousand Slovene exiles from the Littoral, which was occupied by the Italians. Maribor thus gained a cosmopolitan Slovene image.
After World War II, most of the residents of German nationality left Maribor. Local residents who had been exiled to Serbia, Croatia, or the Reich returned. Industrial development has drawn to a Maribor almost in ruins because of the war a large capable work-force; new residents flocked to Maribor mostly from the broad hinterlands of the Pomurje region, the Slovenske gorice hills, the Haloze hills the Dravsko polje (Drava Field) and the Dravska dolina (Drava Valley), as well as from other parts of Slovenia. Many new inhabitants also came from western Croatia, as well as other regions of Yugoslavia.
The Maribor accent may appear to those from other parts of Slovenia to be rather original; it may also well occasion a smirk, if not a burst of laughter. What, then, is so unique about it? Maribor is a junction of three regions and thus of three dialects the Kozjak, the Slovenske gorice hills, and the Pohorje. Elements of all three intermix: long, tense vowels diphthongization, the so-called "akanje" (that is, turning a semivowel into an "ah" sound), and falling intonation. These are most characteristic of the suburban Maribor accents. The Maribor town, or city accent, tends toward a monophthong system. It used to be heavily interlaced with German loanwords, corrupt borrowings, and foreign syntactical constructions. These linguistic elements have by now greatly diminished, since new generations have been taught to approximate the Maribor variant of colloquial Slovene language. However, it is noticeable, that particularly among the youth of school age, a well differentiated slang is becoming popular, with borrowings from Serbo-Croatian and English, predominating.