DISCRIMINATION IS THE LAW IN SLOVENIA

As a consequence of this well-known fact concerning age and language acquisition, as honed by Hartshorne et al, besides discriminating against foreigners and men, ZJRS 14 also discriminates on an age basis.

Specifically against adults, in view of the "precipitous" drop after 18.



 

In an historical perspective, ZJRS 14 is merely the reflex of one stuffy hegemony against another (Serbo-Croat, formerly the official language in Yugoslavian Slovenia, which must have caused an "occupation feeling"). Not forgetting earlier occupations by Italy, Hungary and Germany.

Attempts to Ukrainianize Russian-speakers and vice versa have met with similar resentments and snitching - these controls were not good for society.

Nor does it enrich a culture to stop it watching a film without local subtitles. These days foreigners out to undermine your culture with Hollywood can get to you without cajoling you into a cinema.

There are similarities between the Russian-Ukrainian and English-Slovenian asymmetries.

Few Russians understand Ukrainian. Most Ukrainians do understand Russian.

Few Anglophones understand Slovene. Most Slovenians understand English.

Both Ukrainian and Slovene burst into official life after a long official suppression which is hard for an Anglophone to conceptualize.

There are differences. English is not a neighbouring language in Slovenia. Ukraine's independence in 1991 was bloodless.

It is supposed that no one in Slovenia at that time wanted to appear to be a depolarizing, antipatriotic party pooper, responsible for diluting Slovene's victory over Serbo-Croatian, by agonizing over the exclusion of rights for speakers of any non-indigenous languages in the Constitution, notably among them Serbo-Croatian itself.

To attend to one more minority might encourage two or three more, and before they knew where they were, equality would apply to, er, all languages.

In an us-and-them situation, English did not appear to the authors of the new Slovenian culture to be on either side, although we know that wasn't entirely true. [72]

Two wrongs don't make a right. All languages are equally valid and they are all right. Ukraine, somewhat accustomed to Russian as Slovenia is to English, took a broader and more pragmatic view, while Slovenia turned inwards upon itself, adopting an over-defensive position which has not aged well.

Article 10 of Ukraine's Constitution begins:

"The State language of Ukraine shall be the Ukrainian language."

It continues, echoing ZJRS 13 and Articles 61 and 62 of the Slovenian Constitution:

"The State shall ensure comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout the entire territory of Ukraine. Free development, use, and protection of Russian and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine shall be guaranteed in Ukraine."

But then the Ukrainian Constitution deviates from the Slovenian Dream:

"The State shall promote the learning of languages of international communication. The use of languages in Ukraine shall be guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and shall be determined by law."

Slovenia's Constitution, meanwhile, is not troubled by international communication.

Ukraine has several minority languages to accommodate besides Russian, and seems resigned to communications with people from all the EU countries. But it is English which gets second podium after the Crimean Tatars and other indigenous peoples.

But later the Ukrainian Constitution takes a wildly more decisive leap towards a (widely-agreed) reality, unparalleled by that of Slovenia:

"Article 25.5 provides for an exception to the obligation imposed on print media outlets to offer parallel Ukrainian-language versions and the obligation for the print media distribution points which distribute the print media in other languages to distribute their Ukrainian-language versions as well: these 'requirements [] shall not apply to the print mass media published exclusively in the Crimean Tatar language, other languages of indigenous peoples of Ukraine, in the English language or another official language of the European Union, regardless of whether they contain texts in the State language, as well as to scientific publications whose language is determined by Article 22 of this Law.'"

English. Why didn't anyone in Slovenia think of that while they were thinking in English so they could think something?

Slovenia has no similar pragmatic exception, preferring to use its language as a weapon, leaving its captive foreign population dangling in limbo.

In the Complainant's experience it is 100% successful in this endeavour, combining refusal and some serious social manipulation to attain this imbecilic goal.

It is unknown whether Ukraine has an equivalent to ZJRS 14. But if it did, it would have a fight on its hands with its Constitution, about English, by all appearances. Did anyone think this was traitorous, or the beginning of the end of life as they knew it? Probably. The Complainant didn't hear anything.

The only Slovenophones who take Slovene seriously are swotty professors remote from practical tuition, and foreigners trying to extract reliable facts about it. The rest just want you to practice their English. The edu-sphere cannot even be bothered to rake in up to 50k from the ZRSZ for one pupil.

Thus we are left with a rather curious situation. 59% of Slovenians speak English as an additional language, according to the Eurobarometer report 2012 [16]. The equivalent figure for Ukraine is 18%, says the EF English Proficiency Index. [
8]

The curious situation is that with less than a third as many English speakers per capita, Ukraine has a more permissive (and realistic) opt-in for English at the Constitutional level, and has written into law more nuanced guidance to soften both the self-injury and human rights violations of linguistic imperialism, than the EU member and Balkan beacon of progress Slovenia.