Managing Language Diversity in Ethnically Mixed Areas of Slovenia

Sonja Novak Lukanovi?

Institute for Ethnic Studies Ljubljana, Slovenia

WS162: Language Policies in Social Practice: Constructing Identity, (Re)Claiming Language Rights

In ethnically mixed areas in Slovenia bilingual or multilingual speakers are a reality. Although in communication between groups living in contact may change, they are always the result of political and socio-economic factors of the micro and macro environment. In such mixed areas, language has a communicational and symbolic dimension, it is the indicator of diversity, it is an important indicator of an individual group’s status and power. It reflects the relation of the ethnic groups and shows whether the groups live one beside the other or one with the other.

The “dual nature” of the language will be stressed. It does not only constitute a symbolic system, it can also be treated as a social characteristic, as a cultural product which participates in the formation and maintenance of relationships between people.

The paper will start from the assumption that individual languages in ethnically mixed areas have different (mostly unequal) communication functions (ranges) due to various factors (linguistic policies, power in the “language market” etc.). On the basis of empirical data the phenomenon of managing language diversity in ethnically mixed area will be identified:
- how the inhabitants perceive the language and cultural diversity of their living micro environment/ at local and global level;
- how they accept the measures aiming at intercultural communication (learn the minority language, use media, cooperate in different ways, etc.);
- why and where an individual language – minority or majortity - in ethnically mixed area in Slovenia is used;
- what creates linguistic patterns and where lie the reasons for changes in the social organisation of language use.

Session: Themed Panel (part 1)
Language Policies in Social Practice: Constructing Identity, (Re)Claiming Language Rights
Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 06