Challenges of Slovene as a Medium-Sized Language Community

| 3 desembre, 2009

The position of Slovene, one of the smallest communities dealt with in this volume, and the challenges it faces in the near future, are analysed by Maja Bitenc (University of Ljubljana.). Since the independence of Slovenia from the former Yugoslavia, Slovene has increased both its domains of use and its value in Slovene society, and economic prosperity has attracted a significant percentage of immigrants who seem to be learning Slovene as the means to communicate with the local population. In general terms, the[EXPAND]
language is used in all areas of contemporary society, both public and private, from all
governmental procedures to press, mass media, popular culture and education. Higher
education and scientific activities appear as the major challenge in this respect, since the
demands for internationalization seem to be promoting the use of English at the expense
of Slovene in some cases, a move that is not necessarily welcomed by all sectors.
Broadly speaking, though, in terms of language practices, and although the use of
foreign languages for international purposes seems to be widespread, the use of Slovene
seems to be fairly sustainable, if not on the increase. The situation is rather different for
the Slovene-speaking minorities in Italy, Hungary and Austria, where the language is
used, at best, as the means for internal communication. As far as Slovenia is concerned,
it is on the internal front, i.e., in the corpus, that this language seems to be facing the
most serious challenges. Slovene is a rather diverse language, and linguistic ideologies
predominant in Slovenia place great importance on the use of a correct, standardized
form of the language, which leads speakers to depend heavily on linguistic consultants,
and urge the educational system to equip pupils with the linguistic competence required.
Another area of concern is the growing need for materials to cater for newcomers who
need to learn Slovene as a second language.[/EXPAND]