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The situation today

Traditional book fair /Photo: Arsen Perić

Vilenica - International Literary Festival /Photo: Uroš Hočevar

In the new state of Slovenia, Slovene fully asserted itself immediately in the military, in the customs service, and in state protocol, and in every case its use has expanded into all areas that have opened up with the newest innovations in social and technological development, including the translation of international technical standards, e-mail, web pages, a spell checker and the Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika in CD format, and developmental programs for machine translation as well as the machine-based analysis and synthesis of Slovene speech. The growing interest in Slovene as a foreign language (it is taught in Ljubljana and at numerous universities abroad) and the fact that Slovene has worked in an exemplary fashion in the translated version of the Windows operating system are worth stressing.

 

Despite this positive development, the supplanting of Slovene in public communication has not come to an end. The pressure from Serbo-Croatian has been replaced by pressure from English. A great many businesses are registered under English names or reach out to their customers through advertisements and labels exclusively in foreign languages. In career advancement at universities and institutes, the officially adopted criteria for judging scientific success assign major value to the publication of papers in foreign journals, and therefore Slovene researchers are abandoning publishing in Slovene. The teaching of English as the first foreign language in elementary school is predominant, and pedagogically it is better organised than the teaching of Slovene. Due to the intensification of the phenomena described here, protests have arisen for some time from individuals and organisations in civil society, and SAZU (the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts) has added its statement of concern as well. On the initiative of the Slavistično društvo Slovenije, in 1994 a working group in the field of language planning and language policy was established within the parliamentary committee for culture, education and science. The principal activity of this working group is participation in the preparation of legal texts in which the status of Slovene as an official language may be specially defined. The government has defined the office's linking, harmonising, advisory and promotional roles in the planning and implementation of active linguistic policies. Likewise in 2000 and to the same purpose, a bill was set before Parliament which regulates specifically the use of Slovene as the official language.

 

 

 

The article on Slovenian language was prepared on the occasion of the European Year of Languages in 2001 by Dr Janez Dular.