STA, 21 February 2019 - Proud of their language, Slovenians will observe International Mother Language Day with several events on Thursday, including one featuring artists from Prekmurje, a region where arguably one of the most particular Slovenian dialects is spoken.
International Mother Language Day is this year observed for the 20th year in a row, promoting awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism.
In her message, UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay says "every mother tongue deserves to be known, recognised and given greater prominence in all spheres of public life".
Mother tongues do not necessarily enjoy national-language status, official-language status or the status of a language of instruction, which can lead to the devaluation of a mother tongue and its disappearance.
She adds that "all mother tongues count and are essential to building peace and supporting sustainable development", noting languages of indigenous peoples should be paid a special attention.
The Slovenian language is spoken by roughly two million people in Slovenia, by members of the Slovenian minority in neighbouring countries and among the diaspora.
It has a status of an official language not only in Slovenia but also in the EU, so by global standards it is quite well protected and not at all at risk.
Slovenian language teacher, poet, and folk song singer Bogdana Herman says that just like all other languages, Slovenian must be open and change with new generations.
However, not all changes are good. "Some can be harmful, especially those which are not based on the historical development of language but result from sheer laziness, indolence or a rather poor attitude towards the mother tongue," she has told the STA on the occasion.
Asked whether too many English worlds are being "imported" in Slovenian, Herman says some caution is needed since "too few people speak and write in Slovenian to withstand the pressure of English".
"Not many know that English is composed of several languages which it drew from and developed over time. I wouldn't want Slovenian to undergo such development, it would die out too soon."
Tonight, the arts centre Cankarjev Dom will host an event featuring writers and musicians from Prekmurje to mark International Mother Language Day and the 100th anniversary of Prekmurje's reunification with Slovenia.
"Tell Me Something Nice" will be hosted by the Slovenian Writers' Association and the Dr Šiftar Foundation from Prekmurje.
All our posts on the Slovenian language, including many dual texts, can be found here