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Globalisation spurs search for mother tongue strategy

Ljubljana, 21 February - On International Mother Language Day, the persistent question in Slovenia is whether the nation and its language are threatened. The head of the Writers' Association thinks not, while the University of Ljubljana plans a strategy in response to challenges of globalisation.

Šolske potrebščine, knjige, šolski učbeniki, učbeniki za angleški jezik.
Foto: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

In his message on the occasion, the Writers' Association chairman Ivo Svetina says that language is the only true foundation for a nation's identity and what makes it different from others.

However, language also hides a desire for expansion, supremacy. "We know today that languages follow globalisation, spilling over their borders, conquering foreign territories, foreign nations, squeezing them into melting pots..."

But Svetina does not think Slovenians are threatened because language "is a wondrous mechanism that can name even the unnameable, unfathomable. Time and again it comes up with new words which expand its borders, our borders".

The association will mark International Mother Language Day on Tuesday with a meeting with representatives of the Slovenian minority in Hungary, to be held at Cankarejv dom.

Meanwhile, challenges posed in fostering, developing and promoting the mother tongue will be discussed at an event in Italy's Gorizia, featuring linguist Marko Stabej.

In a bid to respond to communication problems and challenges of its position in the globalised, multi-lingual and multi-cultural environment, the University of Ljubljana appointed a task force to draw up a language strategy.

The group is tasked with proposing solutions for an optimum combination for the use and development of Slovenian at the university while stepping up its inclusion in the international space.

The process of internationalisation requires to focus "not only on the question whether to offer foreign students lectures in a foreign language but to consider how to stimulate development of Slovenian in an academic environment", said linguist Simona Kranjc, a member of the task force.

The strategy is to be passed by the end of the year.

© STA, 2017