Slovenian in Italy
Research Centre of Multilingualism
|Slovenian in Italy|
- The language in the country
- General information on the language community
- Geographical and language background
- General history and history of the language
- Legal status and official policies
- The use of the language in various fields
- Judicial Authorities
- Public Authorities and services
- Mass media and Information technology
- The Arts
- The business world
- Family and social use of the language
- Transnational exchanges
There is no dat for this topic.
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2. The language in the country
2.1. General information on the language community
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2.2. Geographical and language background
The Slovenian-speaking community lives in an area of 1km2 along the Italian-Slovenian border. This settlement area has been subject to many border changes over the past 50 years, making the 50to 80Slovenian speakers the largest of the minorities living in the area (which include the German-speaking and Friulian-speaking communities).
The Slovenian minority lives in Friuli Venezia Giulia, one of Italy's 20 Regions. A Special Statute was introduced to protect the minorities living in the border regions of Valle d'Aosta, Trentino and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, with its 393 058 inhabitants, is subdivided into three of Italy's 95 Provinces: Trieste (261,825 inhabitants), Gorizia (89,686 inhabitants) and Udine (41,547 inhabitants). According to the last census, carried out in 1981, some 49,000 Slovenes (10-25%) were living in the Province of Trieste, some 15,000 (10-25%) in the Province of Gorizia and some 21,000 (25-50%) in the Province of Udine. Along with the Friulian speakers, they are the major non-Italian group in their main area of distribution in the foothills of the Julian Alps and the Val Canale in the Province of Udine.
The Slovenian language in the three Provinces, known as slovencina in Slovenian, is part of the Slavic subgroup of language families. It is known under the popular name of slavo in Italy and can be subdivided into six dialects: Carinthian (korosko), Littoral (primorsko) from Rovte (rovtarsko), High Carniolan (gorenjsko), Low Carniolan (dolenjsko), Styrian (stajersko) and Pannonian (panonsko).
1.5% of the area's total population (living at a density of 152 inhabitants per km2) live in rural areas, 20.5% in semi-urban areas, 24.0% in towns and 54% in cities. Between 1910 and 1981 the population declined by some 8.7%, and the Slovenian-speaking community by as much as 40%. The considerable decline within the Slovenian community is due in particular to emigration from the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia between the two World Wars as a result of Italy's anti- Slovenian policy and to emigration from the Province of Udine between 1950 and 1980 brought about by a shortage of jobs. Nowadays the service sector is the main area of employment (77.2% of the working population in the Province of Trieste and 68% in the Province of Gorizia). Considerable government aid has helped greatly to improve the standard of living, which is now above the Italian average almost everywhere, as the following 1991 figures show:
Per capita income (in LIT millions):
Per capita bank deposits (in LIT millions):
Unemployment (as %):
This trend is due to special programmes involving the construction of villages for Italian immigrants from Istria, the construction of oil pipelines, the creation of an industrial park and a technical research centre in Padrciano and to roadbuilding programmes. These socio-economic programmes had two major effects on the Slovenian language. Firstly, many Slovenian families were dispossessed in order to implement the industrialisation programmes. In 1951, for example, 2families worked on 4hectares of land while, in 1984, 600 part-time farmers worked on 1hectares of land. This also meant that the number of formerly homogeneous Slovenian villages declined. Secondly, programmes for detached houses in the Trieste suburbs altered the ethnic structure, as Slovenes were largely forced out by immigrants from Istria.
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2.3. General history and history of the language
There is no absolute agreement amongst academics as to when the Slavs, who are the forefathers of the Slovenians, settled in this area, although the year 600 is usually quoted. In this period the territory of Pannoni was abandoned by the Lombards, creating a new settlement area for the Slovenes coming over the eastern Alps. There is evidence to support the view that the patriarchs of Aquileia also resettled the Friulian area, which had been devastated by barbarians (pustote), with Slovenian peasants in the second half of the 10th century.
From 1420 onwards, apart from the independent earldom of Gorizia, the Slovenian-speaking area was part of the Venetian Republic. The latter lost its independence, however, in 1500. Friuli remained under Austrian influence until the First World War, while Trieste remained under the influence of the Hapsburgs.
Following various territorial disputes between the former Yugoslavia and Italy, the Osimo Treaty of 10/1975 finally settled the borders of the Slovenian-speaking area for the present.
At the moment there is no organisation devoted exclusively to preserving the language. Instead, there are Slovenian cultural and business institutions and organisations and associations devoted to Slovenian issues in general.
There have been a few measures to promote relations between Italians and Slovenes, but they have not been very successful because of the almost complete ignorance of the Slovenian language amongst the Italian majority. This is the objective, for example, of the Italian Association to Promote Knowledge of the Slovenian Language and Culture with its office in Trieste and the Encounter 82 group founded 1984 and to which sponsors of the arts in the broadest sense belong.
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2.4. Legal status and official policies
The legal status of the Slovenes is defined in the Constitution, international treaties, general regulations and special basic laws.
The Italian Constitution of 271947
Under Article of the Constitution, the Republic has not only to treat all its nationals as equal but also to eliminate any obstacles which might prevent equal treatment of its nationals in practice. Under Article 6, language minorities are protected by special laws.
On 101975, the borders between Italy and the former Yugoslavia were finally established by the Osimo Treaty. Sub-sectionof the Preamble to the nine Articles of the Treaty stipulates the greatest possible loyalty towards the minorities in the two countries, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenants on Human Rights. The basic text in respect of minorities was the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian, United States, United Kingdom and former Yugoslavian governments, signed in London on 5/1954. Since the Treaty does not set out any territorial provisions, the geographical distribution of the minorities was the subject of vigorous debate.
A selection of the regulations governing minorities in Italy is given below:
a) Law 935 of 3/1/1966: the right to give children foreign names.
b) Article of Presidential Decree 634 of 2/6/1972 "Regulation of registry tax": the right to make entries in legal documents in the foreign language.
Special basic laws
These laws always relate to specific minorities in Italy. In the present case, this mainly involves the Statute of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which gives equal status to all nationals living in the Region.
Apart from other laws which will be mentioned in the individual sections, for instance education, mention should also be made here of the Law of 18 and 241979 governing the election of Italian candidates to the European Parliament, which sets out special rules for candidates on minority lists when awarding seats.
It can be readily seen from the classification of laws set out above that the legal status of the Slovenian language depends on the particular Province. While the Slovenian minority enjoys the rights mentioned above in the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste, like the Friulian minority, it is simply non-existent to Italian officialdom in the Province of Udine, where these minorities have only the status of language communities.
Despite these rules and regulations, the Italian government pursues a somewhat negative policy in respect of the Slovenian minority which is for the most part reflected by the regional and local authorities in order to avoid any conflict with central government.
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3. The use of the language in various fields
It was not until 1961 that schools which used Slovenian as the medium of instruction and which had been closed during the Fascist period received legal recognition through the adoption of Law 1012 of 19 July. This then created the legal basis for the opening of Slovenian schools in the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste: a process finalised in law with the Belci-Skerk Law 932 of 221973.
Articlesand 9 of Law 477 of 301973 provide a general assurance that schools using a language other than Italian as the medium of instruction will be opened. Special internal legislation for Friuli Venezia Giulia sets out amendments to this general assurance for the Slovenian community. For example, the Law of 191973 and the Presidential Decree of 311974 guarantee the use of Slovenian and the representation of the Slovenian minority in schools. Under more recent legislation, such as Law 270 of 201982 on contract teachers, the special needs of schools using a language other than Italian as the medium of instruction are generally taken into account.
In 1985, the former Yugoslavia and Italy signed a bilateral cultural agreement under which the university degrees of both countries were mutually recognised. This agreement was renewed by the Republic of Slovenia and Italy in 1994.
Schools using Slovenian as the language of instruction are answerable to the national Ministry of Education. Local responsibilities lie with the Gorizia and Trieste local education authorities.
Financial aid from regional authorities in the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste is based on Regional Laws(schools construction) and 23 (educational, recreational and social activities) of 1965 and Regional Law(schools system: staff bodies and trade union organisations) of 1977.
The following approximate amounts in LIT millions were allocated to school-building projects in 1985:
Province of Trieste: nursery schools 182, primary schools 22.5, lower secondary schools 130, upper secondary schools 106.3
Province of Gorizia: nursery schools 62.5, primary schools 672.5, lower secondary schools 348, upper secondary schools 0
The following approximate amounts in LIT millions were allocated to educational, recreational and social activities:
The following approximate amounts in LIT millions were allocated to the schools system (staff bodies and trade union organisations) in the two Provinces:
The sudden increase in aid in 1985 was due to the adoption of Regional Lawin that year, under which the increased allocations became possible.
Although Slovenian schools are supposed to enjoy equal status with Italian institutions in principle, there has been a shortage of Slovenian educational facilities recently, particularly in the areas of industry, technology, art and music. This inequality is reflected particularly in a shortage of new teaching materials in schools using Slovenian as the medium of instruction.
With the exception of Italian, all subjects in schools with Slovenian as the medium of instruction are also taught in Slovenian. At present there are 109 Slovenian schools, from nursery to upper secondary level, with 4pupils (1985/86 academic year) in the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste.
There was a relative increase in the number of Slovenian pupils registered, by comparison with the actual number of pupils in all schools, between the 1974/75 and 1985/86 academic years (Province of Trieste 0.8%, Province of Gorizia 1%). In absolute terms, however, the number of pupils in Slovenian-speaking schools has fallen. The figures for the total number of pupils are as follows:
Since the language is not a compulsory subject in Italian schools, information about Slovenian culture and history is generally only passed on in schools which use Slovenian. In the 1970s and 1980s in particular, the Slovenian minority attempted to introduce Slovenian culture and language as a subject in Italian schools as well. Efforts were concentrated on the adoption of the Legge per la tutela globale della minoranza slovena (Law on the overall protection of the Slovenian minority). After this draft Law had been completely rejected by the Italian government, further suggestions for the introduction of the Slovenian language were made in 1993 but in a diluted form.
Apart from monitoring bodies which are also responsible for Italian schools, for instance the Ministry of Education, there are no separate monitoring bodies for schools using Slovenian as the medium of instruction. In most cases, relatively small units specifically concerned with the situation of the Slovenian minority are formed within these bodies. This was the case in April 1982 when a special psychology service was set up for disabled Slovenian-speaking children. There was a separate department for the Slovenian-speaking minority in the Istituto regionale di ricerca, sperimentazione e aggiornamento educativo, set up in 1974 and with an advisory-cum- monitoring role in each Italian Region.
Apart from these activities to support the Slovenian language in schools, secondary technical schools with Slovenian as the medium of instruction were set up in Trieste in 1978 and 1979. These are the Istituto professionale di stato per l'industria e artigianato (State vocational school for industry and crafts) and the Sezione per geometri (Surveyors' school). This was possible only as a result of the pressure exerted by the Slovenian schools organisation Sindikat slovenske sole. A similar attempt is now being made in the Province of Gorizia where the same organisation has long been trying to achieve administrative autonomy for minority schools.
In the Province of Udine, there have recently been initiatives to introduce Slovenian (particularly in Benecia) as the medium of instruction.
The status of Slovenian at the various levels of education is as follows:
The Province of Gorizia has 12 Slovenian-speaking nursery schools with 252 pupils and the Province of Trieste has 30 such schools with 472 pupils. In primary education, there are 13 Slovenian-speaking schools with 409 pupils in the Province of Gorizia and 38 schools with 982 pupils in the Province of Trieste. This gives a total of 724 schools with Slovenian as the medium of instruction and 1pupils at this level of education in the 1985/86 academic year.
The figures for the 1993/94 academic year are 727 pupils in the Province of Trieste (out of a total of 7 483) and 270 in the Province of Gorizia (out of a total of 2 300).
A study of nursery schools dating back to 1984/85 found that over one third of the pupils in that academic year in both Provinces came from mixed-language families. Even at that time between 3 and 11% of pupils came from purely Italian families. This breakdown leads to far-reaching problems at the higher levels of education.
Nursery schools with Slovenian as the medium of instruction also have the special name Drzavna vrtec s slovenskim ucnim jezikom (Nursery school, with Slovenian as the language of instruction). Primary schools have a similar name: Drzavna sola s slovenskim ucnim jezikom (State primary school, with Slovenian as the language of instruction). The curriculum in Slovenian schools is equivalent to that in Italian schools, except that Slovenian is the sole medium of instruction (except in the subject Italian).
A private bilingual nursery school in San Pietro al Natisone started up in the 1984/85 academic year.
In the Province of Gorizia, there is a classical lycée, a teacher training school (with a department for nursery school teachers), a commercial school and a Slovenian course at the secondary technical school for industry with Slovenian as the medium of instruction, total pupil numbers being 321 in the 1985/86 academic year. In the Province of Trieste there is a language lycée (with a classics department), a commercial school (with a department for surveyors), a secondary technical school for industry and craft and a teacher training school (with a department for nursery school teachers), which had a total number of 891 pupils in the academic year. The total number of pupils at this level is therefore 1 212.
One major institution is the Regional Slovenian Institute for Vocational Training, which was set up in 1979 under Law 845 of 211978 (framework law on vocational training) and Regional Law 42 of 1978. The number of participants rose steadily between 1979/80 (4 courses with 84 participants) and 1985/86 (14 courses with 5participants). In the 1987/88 academic year, 253 trainees were attending 16 courses at this private institution.
Overall secondary education is subdivided into a lower level of three years and an upper level. In the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia, Slovenian is the medium of instruction in the Slovenian institutions mentioned above, while this is not the case in the Province of Udine. In the 1993/94 academic year, there were 1pupils (489 lower, 829 upper) in schools in the Province of Trieste and 559 (176 lower, 383 upper) in the Province of Gorizia. The Slovenian curriculum is also identical to the Italian curriculum at this level of education. The only difference is the additional subject Slovenian Literature and Language in the minority schools. Slovenian is not a medium of instruction for Italian culture or language or for other foreign languages either. Slovenian books are available in all subjects.
At this level of education, no institutions are known to be using Slovenian as the language of instruction. Slovenian is, however, taught as a modern foreign language. In the academic year 1993/94, 180 students studied the language with the aid of books from the Republic of Slovenia. In recent years there has been a slight upturn in interest. Until 1984, Italian universities did not readily recognise qualifications from universities in the Republic of Slovenia. Since 1994, however, these qualifications have generally been recognised.
Apart from the initiatives mentioned above and two seminars for the continuing training of teachers in the Province of Trieste, no institutions are known to be using Slovenian as the medium of instruction at this level of education.
Teachers, whether or not they have Slovenian as their mother tongue, attend courses at the Universities of Trieste, Udine and Gorizia, where the medium of instruction is Italian. Nevertheless, pupils who will later become teachers at Slovenian secondary schools are taught in Slovenian. There is an institution specifically for this purpose in the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia: the Liceo pedagogico con lingua d'insegnamento slovena (Educational lycée with Slovenian as the language of instruction). As already mentioned, university degrees from Slovenia are recognised in Italy. Courses in the Faculties of Education are an exception, however, and had still not been recognised by the Italian government in 1994.
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3.2. Judicial authorities
Article(83) of Law 108 of 31974 concerns the reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure and guarantees that investigations and the interrogation of members of a minority may take place in their mother tongue and that records of proceedings may be drafted in their language. In the Province of Trieste, there is the additional right to be charged and to defend oneself in one's own language.
According to the information given by EUROMOSAIC research group sources, Slovenian is used only optionally if the witness is a Slovenian speaker. Otherwise Italian predominates. Interpreters are, however, available, although EUROMOSAIC Group sources contradict each other on this issue. Documents in Slovenian are not readily admitted.
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3.3. Public authorities and services
Although, as mentioned above, Articles 3 and 6 of the Italian Constitution protects minorities in Italy, the status of Slovenian in the public sector in the three Provinces remains extremely weak.
Although Slovenian enjoys the highest legal status in the Province of Trieste (reflected, for example, by the Slovenian schools system described above), Slovenian is not used outside purely Slovenian-speaking public institutions. All attempts to establish Slovenian, at least as an option, in central Italian government agencies has been blocked by the regional government in Trieste. People have only the right to be charged and to defend themselves in their own language.
The situation in the Province of Gorizia is similar to that in Trieste, while Slovenian is simply non-existent in dealings with official bodies in the Province of Udine.
The use of Slovenian by the regional government authorities is comparable to its use in dealings with central bodies. Slovenian is not used but nor is it actually banned in regional government.
It is only in local government agencies that the existence of Slovenian and its use is in principle recognised, but its use remains marginal.
This lack of status of Slovenian is also the reason for the monolithic use of Italian by the public services. For example, telephone or electricity bills or signs to public institutions are only in Italian.
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3.4. Mass media and information technology
Articleof Law 1213 of 41965 guarantees that films in the mother tongue of the language minority enjoy special protection and have the same status as Italian films for the purposes of obtaining special funding.
Apart from this general ruling, there are two other rulings relating to the minorities in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Articlesand 20 of Law 103 of 141975 setting out new regulations in the area of radio and television state, among other things, that broadcasting companies are obliged to transmit programmes in Slovenian. Articleof Law 416 of 51981 on the reform of the publishing sector also provides for a special increase in subsidies for the purchase of newsprint for daily newspapers printed entirely or even only partly in Slovenian. This also applies to newspapers in French, Ladin and German.
The three Slovenian-speaking publishing houses in the area also provide major support for the Slovenian language. They are as follows: Goriska Mohorjeva druzba (Hermagora brothers), Zoloznistvo Mladica (Seed) and Zaloznistvo trzaskega (Stampa Triestina).
The situation of Slovenian in the various sectors of the mass media is as follows:
The Slovenian minority has a daily paper (monthly circulation 10 000) whose main area of distribution is the coast. The Primorski dnevnik is published in Trieste but also has editorial offices in Gorizia and Cividale. Under Regional Lawof 1965, the Region made some LIT 12.5 million available to the paper in 1985 (the 1976 figure was some LIT 13 million).
Apart from this daily paper, the Slovenian minority has three periodicals in Slovenian. Gospodarstvo (Business) is published in Trieste and has its editorial office there, Katoliski glas (Catholic Voice) is published in Gorizia but has editorial offices in Gorizia and Trieste and Novi list (New Paper) is published in Trieste and has its editorial office there. The periodicals receive a subsidy of some LIT 14 million a year (1985) from the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste under Regional Law of 1965. The 1976 figure was only some 9 million.
The following journals are also published:
There are also magazines for young people entitled Galeb (The Seagull) and Pastircek (The Shepherd).
The Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia also produces a bulletin in Slovenian entitled Uradni vestnik Avtonomne dezele Furlanije-Julijske Benecije.
The Slovenian department of the regional studio of the public broadcasting corporation RAI (Radio TRST A=Radio Trieste A) started broadcasting in 1945. Apart from the journalists, this department is independent of the Italian broadcasting corporation in planning terms. Transmission times are as follows:
Weekdays: 07.00 to 19.30
Public holidays: 08.00 to 20.30
Programmes are broadcast exclusively in Slovenian (original programmes or dubbed).
Apart from this regional public broadcasting corporation studio, there is a private network called Opcine (Opicina) in the Trieste municipality, which started up in 1983. It broadcasts programmes consisting almost entirely of music round the clock for some 60listeners in the area around Benecia.
At the moment no stations either in the public or private sector broadcast entirely in Slovenian. The Alps/Adriatic agency set up in 1974 which mainly produces reports in Italian and Slovenian on life in the region, has done nothing to alter this fact. Its reports are sold on to other agencies or networks such as TV Koper, RAIor the Laibach television institute.
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3.5. The Arts
Two umbrella organisations control Slovenian cultural and commercial clubs and societies. The Svet slovenskih organizacij (SSO - Umbrella Association for Slovene Organisations) takes more of a Catholic viewpoint, and the Slovenska kulturno gosposdarska zveza (SKGZ - Slovenian Commercial and Cultural Association) has more of a secular outlook. The former organisation was set up in 1976 as a result of the merger of 15associations and organisations, and the latter in 1954. The Slovenian-speaking community also receives considerable support in the academic sector from the Slovenski raziskovalni institut (SLORI - Slovenian Research Institute) which was founded in Trieste in 1974 and expanded to Gorizia and Val Canale in 1976 and 1983 respectively. Its main remit is to report, from a scientific point of view, on the current position of the Slovenian-speaking communities in the following areas: education, social economy, demography, elections, language boundaries, psychology and legal status. The Institute also feels that it should tackle general empirical and theoretical problems involving minorities.
Without any guarantee as to completeness, a selected number of Slovenian associations and organisations is listed below by province and cultural interests:
|Prov. Trieste||Prov. Gorizia||Prov. Udine||Total|
|Classical music groups||4||0||0||4|
|School music groups||8||6||4||18|
|Modern / popular music groups||17||4||1||22|
|Private theatre groups||5||3||1||9|
|4.||Othr cultural organisations|
|Slovenian ethnological museums||2||2||1||5|
|Organisations with general cultural interests||42||20||6||68|
Publications in Slovenian are generally aimed directly at members of groups and organisations. In the recent past, Slovenian literature was represented by the Triestine writer Vladimir Bartol (1903-1967).
Unfortunately, no exact figures are available for current publications. The current holdings of the official national Slovenian library (some 80titles) nevertheless give an idea of the amount of Slovenian literature published. This figure is all the more significant, given that the main remit of this institution is to collect books published outside Slovenian national territory.
In the area of popular and modern music, as well as the groups mentioned above there is also the Glasbena matica (Slovenian Music Centre), which was founded in 1900 and aims to encourage the spread of, and provide training in, Slovenian music. In 1988, this organisation founded a music college which does not, however, receive any financial aid from the authorities. In the 1988/89 academic year, 665 students attended the 435 institutions in Trieste, the 93 in Gorizia and the 137 in Udine. Apart from providing training, the organisation also stages concerts.
Under Regional Lawof 1983 (music courses) and Regional Lawof 1965 (orchestras, choirs, folk groups, etc.), these groups receive subsidies from the Italian government (amounting to some LIT 43 million in the Provinces of Gorizia and Trieste in 1985).
The best-known Slovenian theatre is the Slovensko stalno gledalisce (Permanent Slovenian Theatre), which was founded in Trieste in 1902 and was formerly the Slovensko dramsko drustvo (Slovenian Drama Association). The Drustvo slovensko gledaleisce (Slovenian Theatre Association) also exists under the umbrella of the SKGZ. In 1970, the former association set up the Slovenian theatre in Trieste.
The Slovenian Theatre Ensemble, which comes under the same umbrella, received LIT 970 million in subsidies in 1986 under Regional Lawof 1973 and Regional Lawof 1981.
Slovenian is not represented in the cinema, at least not in the Slovenian-speaking area of Italy.
The cultural activities of the Slovenian community are very diverse and are also tolerated by the Italian government. The major traditional events include Primo Rsrapoje (song festival for adults and children), Pesem Mladim (song festival for adults and children), Draga (social/political/cultural events), Tabor (cultural and entertainment weeks), Draga Mladim (social/political/cultural events), Majnica (traditional spring festival), Kracka Omcet (one-week Nozze Carsicme ritual) and DOSP (sports/arts event for Slovenian schools from Trieste and adjacent regions).
According to our sources, it appears that the Italian government's cultural policy is very limited when it comes to promoting the use of Slovenian. The picture is only slightly different at regional government level. As can be seen from the laws mentioned above, although the regional authorities generally have a positive policy in terms of granting financial aid, this does not say a great deal about their actual desire to preserve and promote the Slovenian language.
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3.6. The business world
Slovenian is not a specific job requirement, although the situation is slightly different for the Slovenian institutions, some of which have already been mentioned. Apart from these "semi-public" institutions, Slovenian banks are potential employers, for example. They include: Kmekca banka (Gorizia Agricultural Bank) and Kmekco delavasca posojilnica-Svodnje ob Soci (Savogna d'Isonza Agricultural Credit Co-operative).
There is virtually no advertising in Slovenian in the media, apart from a few commercials in programmes made entirely in Slovenian.
Consumer information is found in Slovenian only in a local context and has not therefore been examined in further detail here owing to its limited coverage and relevance to society as a whole.
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3.7. Family and social use of the language
Since 1950, almost all parents have always passed Slovenian on to their children. Since that date, however, the proportion of those entering endogamous marriages has fallen from 80% to some 60% of the Slovenian population (figures provided by our sources).
There are no gender-based differences in the use of Slovenian, and there are no special connotation attaches to the language.
According to estimates by our sources, between 40 and 50% of Slovenes are practising Catholics, with a priest who has a command of Slovenian in 80% of cases.
Churchgoers may ask for ceremonies and liturgies such as baptisms, weddings or funerals to be held in the language of their choice. The archbishoprics of Gorizia and Trieste each have an episcopal chaplain for Slovenian-speaking believers.
In terms of the population's view of the Slovenian language, it appears that they are not optimistic about the future of Slovenian and believe that children do not speak Slovenian as well as their parents.
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3.8. Transnational exchanges
Transnational exchanges take place particularly with the Republic of Slovenia. These exchanges take place on a friendly basis, between relatives or even for commercial reasons. According to the International Sociological Institute in Gorizia, ten out of fourteen communities with members of the Slovenian minority amongst their inhabitants are twinned with communities in Slovenia.
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According to the latest information, the Slovenian-speaking community is very active but is not recognised as it should be by the authorities in terms of the use of its language. This applies to the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia while, in the Province of Udine, the situation of the Slovenian- speaking community is somewhat worse, since the Italian authorities do not appear to acknowledge its existence at all. It is not surprising, therefore, that the number of Slovenian speakers is declining rapidly in that Province in particular. The future of the Slovenian-speaking community in the other two Provinces looks much more hopeful. This trend is undoubtedly helped by transnational exchanges with the Republic of Slovenia.
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