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.
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.
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.
use Slovene before courts of justice. This right is granted before 3 district law courts.
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
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
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
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
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
Top of the page
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Top of the page