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<  About Slovenian language - O slovenskem jeziku  ~  Slovenec, Slovenka, slovenski, slovensko, slovenscina

Sasha Ceferin
Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:32 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 28 Sep 2002 Posts: 46 Location: Melbourne
[size=18][b]Slovenija, slovenski, Slovenec, Slovenka, slovensko, slovenscina[/b][/size] - [size=18][b]Slovenian or Slovene?[/b][/size]

[size=9]The controversy of Slovenian or Slovene has been kept alive largely due to strong feelings people have regarding its usage in the English language.

I first came across the English word in 1945, when we were told to say: I am Slovene.( Sem Slovenka). Later I found that in Slovenia during the post WW2 period [b]Slovene[/b] was used exclusively to denote the person, the adjective, the adverb, as well as the language.

From about the late seventies o Slovenian immigrants in the English-speaking world began increasingly to use [b]Slovenian [/b] in preference to [b]Slovene[/b], since the word [i]sloven[/i] and [i]slovenly[/i] in the English vocabulary had the meaning of a habitually untidy, careless person. It was an association that they wished to avoid (the word is actually Flemish in origin [i]slov[/i] pronounced as [i]slof,[/i])

When I became involved in introducing Slovenian as a subject in Australian school system in 1976, I consulted the Oxford dictionary and found the word b]Slovene[/b] for noun and adjective and [b]Slovenian [/b]principally to indicate the language (slovenscina).

Since independence the word [b]Slovenian[/b] has largely replaced [b]Slovene[/b] as meaning [i]Slovenec, Slovenka, slovenski, slovensko, slovenscina[/i], although many Slovenian authors and academics still adhere exclusively to the use of [b]Slovene[/b] for nouns, adjectives and to denote Slovenian language.

The Oxford Dictionary in the most recent version now cites both [b]Slovene[/b] and [b]Slovenian[/b] as alternatives without discriminating either way, to indicate "a native or national of Slovenia or a person of Slovenian descent or relating to Slovenia, its people or language".

My own inclination is to use both terms, based on the belief that the greater variety of form corresponds to the variety existing both in Slovenian and English languages. In short, we should use both forms.

I like to use the term [b]Slovene[/b] for [i]Slovenec [/i]and [i]Slovenka[/i], as being closest in form to the Slovenian word and the term [b]Slovenian[/b] for slovenscina (language) and as an adjective - pertaining to Slovenia, for example: Slovenian countryside, Slovenian people, Slovenian song...

I have found that I can seldom persuade anyone about the rightness of my approach (particularly those who dislike the association with the word [i]slovenly[/i] ; personally I believe in wearing proudly the word, which has possibly been used in a mean, downgrading way by ancient enemies. After all, the word [i]Slav[/i] or [i]slovo[/i] (which by the way means [i]word[/i] in contemporary Serbo-Croatian) is much more ancient than any other and it means to speak. In Slovenian today it refers to grammar (slovnica), glory (slava), fame (sloves), celebration (slovesnost), to be famous (sloveti), parting, saying good-bye (slovo), to part, to say good-bye (posloviti se).

In conclusion, the present usage both within and outside Slovenia, allows for people making their own choice of usage when writing and speaking English.[/size]
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