SLOVENSKO  Family: Indo-European, Slavic branch


Slovene is spoken as a lesser used language in Austria and Italy


 Web links about Slovene





Carinthia: The bilingual area of Carinthia usually covers the  valleys  of Jauntal/Podjuna, Rosental/Ro and Gailtal/Zila. This is not entirely correct because the bilingual area of the province extends beyond these valleys on the one hand, but does not include all of the Gailtal/Zila valley, on the other.


Styria: The majority of the Styrian Slovenes live in the so-called "Radkersburg Corner" (Radkersburger Eck), covering the areas of Leutschach, Soboth and  Graz.


Numerical Strength: 14,850 Carinthian Slovenes and 1,695 Styrian Slovenes (1991 census). According to Slovene organizations on the ground however these figure are 35,000 and 5,000 for Carinthia and Styria respectively.


Status: One of the strongest declarations of rights for Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria and for Croats in Burgenland is contained in Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty. All Austrian minorities are protected by the Treaty of  St. Germain (State Law Gazette No. 303/1920; Articles 66 to 68), which has constitutional  status. The Ethnic Groups Act of July 7th, 1976 (Federal Law Gazette No. 196/1976) provides minority rights for  Slovaks,  Romanies, Burgenland Croats,  Hungarians in Vienna and Burgenland, Carinthian Slovenes and Czechs. The Voluntary Cultural Association for Styria was founded in 1988. One of its main goals is to ensure the realization of the constitutional rights of the originally Slovene and now bilingual population of Styria. The Association is currently the sole representative of the interests of the ethnic group.


Public Service: Carinthian and Styrian Slovenes have the following constitutional rights under Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty in Carinthia only. These rights do not extend to Styria.:


*to use Slovene before the authorities: The right is granted only in 14 of the - according to the law - 41 communities.


*to use Slovene before courts of justice. This right is granted before 3 district law courts.


*to bilingual printed forms in the revenue office only.


*to bilingual public signage: This right is granted in 68 of the - according to the law - 800 localities.



Because of the 25% barrier introduced by the Ethnic Groups Act, limiting the protection of  minorities as guaranteed under Article 7/Z.3 of the constitutional Vienna State Treaty (1955), an amendment to this law according to the Ethnic Group Basic Act (October 24, 1995 Draft) is needed.




Carinthia: For several decades there was a complete lack of bilingual kindergartens in southern Carinthia. To fill this gap the Slovene community pooled impressive financial resources for the administration of 6 private kindergartens. Only in the past few years have the Slovene communities  been able to establish 7 bilingual public kindergartens in their municipalities. Carinthian Slovenes have demanded for years that the state Kindergarten Act be amended. The right to bilingual schooling should be expanded to include bilingual kindergarten instruction. The amendment should guarantee that children attending public kindergartens should automatically have access to bilingual training. The current situation is such that villages must individually negotiate, and because of political in-fighting votes are cast against the setting up of public kindergartens.


In elementary schools a separate bilingual (Slovene/German) language class is set up when nine or more children per class register for bilingual instruction. In such cases the class is made up solely of pupils  taught on a bilingual basis and runs parallel to a class on the same grade level for students being taught exclusively in German. If the number of children registered for bilingual education is under nine then the class remains intact. During the periods when the regular teacher is instructing the bilingual students a teaching assistant is brought in to instruct the non-registered students. This system is intended to guarantee that the children are at all times under the supervision of a teacher: the registered students alternately in German and Slovene, the non-registered students in German only. In 1997/1998  25,71%  of all students in the bilingual area were registered for bilingual education.


Registered bilingual Hauptschule (School of General Education) students are offered Slovene language classes in the form of course matter. Problems have arisen from the fact that these optional Slovene classes often compete with English classes. For understandable reasons many students prefer not to miss English class thereby sacrificing their instruction in Slovene.


The Federal Secondary School for Slovenes in Klagenfurt/Celovec was founded in 1957. The school has enabled  the Slovene population of Carinthia, for the first time, to develop a broad spectrum of well trained citizens educated in Slovene.


The founding of the Bilingual Business Academy in Klagenfurt/Celovec in 1989 fulfils a long-standing request from the Carinthian Slovene community. Training in business and economics has drastically increased in importance over the last decades. The private School for Women's Professions, a parochial Slovene school run by nuns has been upgraded into a Higher Training Institution for Business Professions.


Styria: The constitutional right to elementary education in Slovene is not respected in Styria. Modest attempts do exist to offer voluntary training in the Slovene language in various schools on the border with Slovenia; these include optional two hour language classes for third and fourth graders in many elementary schools.




Carinthia: There are several Slovene language weekly journals and periodicals published especially for the Carinthian Slovenes. The field of electronic media is covered by Radio Carinthia, which broadcasts a daily one hour radio show in Slovene and the federal Austrian Radio and Television Network (ORF) , which broadcasts a half hour Slovene TV programme each Sunday. The Carinthian Slovenes recently founded two private media companies, Radio Korotan and Radio Agora. Both transmit  a full day of radio programming in Slovene or bilingually.


Styria: No media coverage in the Slovene language currently exists. There are neither electronic nor print media services specifically geared to the needs of the ethnic group in Styria.




Carinthia: The traditional form of preserving the cultural heritage of the Carinthian Slovenes, such as ethnic choirs, folklore initiatives and folk theater groups, are now being increasingly complemented by more sophisticated art forms including "experimental" and dance theater, cinema, contemporary music, modern literature.


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Region: Slovene is spoken in 36 communities in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, viz. in Val Canale (quadrilingual: Slovene, Italian, German and Friulan), Valle di Resia, the upper Valle del Torre, the Valli del Natisono and upper Collio in the province of Udine, the upper Collio, the Carso and also Gorizia in the province of Gorizia, as well as in the entire province of Trieste excluding the coastal strip between Trieste and Slovenia's border. In other words, the Slovenes of Italy live for the most part in areas which are bilingual, or even trilingual.


Numerical strength: There are no official data on the number of speakers. Estimates give figures ranging between 50,000 and 100,000 (out of a total population of 632,000).


Status: The legal status of the language differs considerably from one province to the other. In Udine Slovenes do not enjoy any clearly defined linguistic rights. In Gorizia the Slovenes are entitled to their own schools. The Slovenes in Trieste, however, receive the best treatment. Their linguistic rights are covered by the Special Statute attached to the London Memorandum of 1954. The Treaty of Osimo (1975) between Italy and Yugoslavia also gives protective measures to the Slovene minority throughout the territory of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.


Public services: The Special Statute annexed to the London Memorandum of 1954 establishes the right of the Slovene minority in Trieste to use their language in official contacts with administrative and legal bodies, and to receive a response in that language (either directly or through an interpreter). However, this is only put into practice in four communities of the province. In some communities in Gorizia the same rights are recognized as well, but not in Udine at all. Administrative and legal documents are available in Slovene in the same four communities in Trieste, but not always elsewhere in the province. Some towns in Gorizia also supply documents in the language. In the province of Udine some communes included the use of the Slovene language in their statutes. Public municipal signs are occasionally in Slovene. According to the penal procedure legislation minority languages can be used in court. This rule is generally applied for Slovenes. Recently (1997) a special law of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region allowed the minority language speaker to present applications and other documents to the regional authorities in Slovene, but the speaker is responsible for providing a translation.


Education: The situation of Slovene schools differs widely from one province to the other. In Udine there is only one private nursery school using the Slovene language as a medium of teaching. In Gorizia and Trieste public Slovene-medium nursery schools exist with state or municipal support. At primary level, several state-sponsored Slovene-medium primary schools operate in Trieste and Gorizia. In Udine there is only one private Slovene-medium primary school, not recognized by the state. Slovene is not taught as a subject in Italian-medium primary schools. At secondary level, the same dichotomy exists: in Trieste and Gorizia there are all types of state-sponsored Slovene-medium schools, whereas in Udine there is only one private school which was officially recognised by the State in 1997 and is subsidized by the State and the region. The language is not taught as a subject at Italian-medium secondary schools. Teachers receive their training at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Their qualifications are recognized in Italy under the regulations of the Treaty of Osimo (1975). The language is taught as a subject at the universities of Trieste, Udine and Padua. According to an agreement between Italy and Slovenia, university qualifications obtained by minority speakers in Slovenia are recognised by the Italian State. The language is not used as a teaching-medium at third-level institutions in the area. A few adult courses in Slovene exist.


Media: There is a daily short (average less than half an hour) television programme broadcast by the public television company. Broadcasting covers the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia only. Public radio service broadcasts about 12 hours per day in the language. There are also a number of private Slovene radio stations. There are a number of weekly and one daily newspaper published entirely in Slovene. A number of periodical publications in the language exist as well.


Miscellaneous: Each year about 20 books are published in Slovene covering a variety of genres. There are regular theatre productions in the language. There is one central Slovene library in Trieste and some minor ones in other areas. There is also a Slovene research institute, some museums, and many cultural associations in the towns and in almost all the villages. There are  also Slovene sport associations with thousands of members involved in various sports in clubs where the Slovene language is used. Finally Slovenes are very active in economic matters with their own banks and hundreds of small companies.


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