[lg policy] Slovenia: Who is language policy intended for?

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 2 16:49:44 UTC 2011

 Who is language policy intended for?

1. december 2011  |  Objavljeno v Language

Are you convinced that Slovenian is among the most difficult languages in
the world and basically cannot be mastered by foreign speakers, which means
it is unreasonable to demand of them in any way that they learn Slovenian
and also use it?

Are you a pensioner who can only read the small print of notes on consumer
goods with great difficulty (and with the help of a strong magnifying
glass); who has trouble reading, understanding notes and filling out forms
that one is faced with when fulfilling one’s duties or claiming one’s
rights as a citizen?

Are you a consumer who is buying all kinds of products (from the cheapest
mass products to the highest quality, most expensive ones) but trying in
vain to find intelligible and comprehensive information on these products
or instruction manuals for them in Slovenian; who has to ask additionally
for a Slovenian manual and be forced to endure the restrained irritation or
obvious embarrassment of the salesperson?

Are you a Slovenian who is seriously concerned about the fate of the
Slovenian language in the contemporary globalised environment?

Are you a speaker of Slovenian and feel that language is something that is
balancing, renewing and directing itself automatically and that this means
you do not need to do absolutely nothing about it?

Are you a scientist whose first language is Slovenian but reads scientific
texts in English on a daily basis and also uses English in international
professional correspondence and when writing academic papers? Are you
promoting an increase in the share of English as the teaching language at
Slovenian universities to keep up with the reality of internalisation or
because this is becoming ever more convenient for you, as it rids you of
the need to write and express yourself, to summarise the read of written
text in Slovenian, rids you of issues related to using Slovenian
terminology in your professional field?

Are you a representative or even the head of a notable public institution
or of a supervisory board at a company but are not capable of putting
together even the simplest text in Slovenian in a way acceptable in terms
of spelling, grammar and style, and inevitably need the assistance of a
secretary or a language editor?

Are you a student in Slovenia as part of a student exchange programme and
are not included in the quota for free Slovenian language courses for
Erasmus students, but would like the learn Slovenian and cannot because the
payable course is too expensive for you? Have you ever attended such a
course but now find that almost nobody wants to converse with you in
Slovenian although you would often really wish them to?

Are you a Slovenian speaking student who has been forced as a result of a
few guest students on exchange to accept your studies being conducted in
English and understand things even less clearly than in Slovenian, although
not necessarily because of inadequate English skills?

Are you in charge of equipping your institution or company with signs and
are wondering which languages to use and in what way? Do you feel that –
apart from bilingual areas – foreign languages should have no place in the
public sphere in Slovenia? Do you feel that any signs or notices in
Slovenian are redundant if they are intended for foreigners along with
Slovenian speakers?

Are you an immigrant who really wishes to learn Slovenian and are making
use of the free courses available, but wish to expand and improve your
knowledge without knowing how, when or with what? Do you have the feeling
that the people around you want you to gradually transform into a

Are you an immigrant who does not want to learn Slovenian, since you do not
even need it in your work, while you prefer to rely on the help of others
language-wise in everyday life when you urgently need something?

Are you a child of former immigrants who only spoke Slovenian to you at
home in the wish to enable you the best possible life and inclusion into
Slovenian schools and society, while you increasingly wish to get more
familiar also with the culture and language of your parents?

Are you a merchant who feels that using Slovenian in business (with the
exception of direct communication with Slovenian speakers) only causes
unnecessary additional costs and is something that nobody really needs,
since everyone actually understands English well enough.

Are you an entrepreneur made to wait for a long time for an opinion of
relevant bodies on whether you can register your company, which allegedly
has name that is not Slovenian, to eventually be rejected and see your
business plans collapse? Do you wish help with choosing the name of your
company or with other language-related business decisions but cannot afford
it or even do not know where to look for it in the first place?

Are you a mother or father concerned about the reading skills of your

Are you someone who does not know how to find information on your own
language when in doubt or distress about its use – or does not even
consider the possibility of such information being available anywhere?

Language policy is intended for all of you and many others; all of you and
many others are language policy…


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