STA, 21 February 2020 - Asked to comment on the state of Slovenian amid strong global currents that are headed by English, Nataša Gliha Komac of the Fran Ramovš Institute of Slovenian Language told the STA Slovenian remained an active and vibrant language. Still, many challenges remain, she added on the occasion of 21 February, International Mother Language Day.
Gliha Komac, who said we often forget that language lives with us and because of us, finds it hard to understand "why we feel uneasy when using our mother language, are apologising for our Slovenian or even for using it in the first place".
"And this is the case in a period when we (still) have universities in Slovenian, universities that produce top international experts...when we have a number of extraordinary masters of the language and a state with Slovenian as the official language," she said.
Gliha Komac added that Slovenian and its users also faced a lot of challenges, "but the most unusual thing is that they are about completely self-evident matters, such as Slovenian in the public, in science, higher education, classes in and about the Slovenian language".
She was however happy to report that the institute is working hard on resolving key theoretical issues as well on presenting linguistic issues in different manuals and applications.
Gliha Komac highlighted the www.fran.si platform of web dictionaries, which currently feature 39 dictionaries, four of which are constantly upgraded.
The institute's experts moreover participate in TV shows and contribute regular columns for papers, she said, adding that Slovenian is "actually our lifestyle".
Meanwhile, the president of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) Dušan Merc wrote today that Slovenian has been developed in the last 100-plus years into a tool enabling Slovenia to operate as an independent nation state.
He however feels there is something very wrong with how the Slovenian language is treated in the education system.
"It is turning in a second grade teaching language, as we are getting a new teaching language - in place of the Croatian of Serbian language we would had gotten had we stayed in Yugoslavia - English."
"The mother tongue does not need to be loved and one does not need to raise one's hand to the heart, cry and distort the face when the national anthem is played. It only needs to be used, utilised, supplemented, changed, one needs to dream in it from morning until evening, speak and write.
"It should not be neglected, sidelined, treated like it's a servant to foreign master in its own house, degraded or seen as something one should be feel ashamed of even at home," Merc wrote.
International Mother Language Day was introduced by the UN in 2000 in memory of the 21 February 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstration that also saw death casualties among Bengali students. The purpose of the day is to promote the preservation and protection of all languages.
Interested in learning Slovene? Find all our posts on this subject, including a growing collection of dual texts – relatively simple news stories in Slovene and English, here