4.2.5 Language issues and policies
The official language is Croatian. Laws passed in May 2000 regulate the status of minority languages and alphabets and their official use on the local level (Law on the Use of Language and Script of National Minorities in the Republic of Croatia, NN 51/00). The laws also offer the possibility of education programmes (primary and secondary school level) in minority languages (Law on Education in the Language and Script of National Minorities, NN 51/00, NN 56/00). Such programmes have been established for Czech, Hungarian, German, Serbian and Italian minorities, e.g. the first preregistered primary schools in the Serbian language were opened in 2002. The laws are especially effective in areas where language groups are concentrated e.g. the use of the Serbian language and Cyrillic alphabet in East Slavonia, of the Italian language in Istria, etc. These laws were received favourably by the ethnic minority groups.
In line with the Law on Croatian Radio-Television and the Law on Electronic Media, Croatian Radio-Television has special and regular news programmes in several minority languages. Local radio stations also have special programmes in minority languages.
The school curricula include supplements in minority languages (language, literature, history, art and music); there are optional programmes for mother tongue learning at various summer schools.
Apart from these supplementary minority language classes in school, language pluralism is not widely debated due to the low numbers of linguistic minorities in Croatia, and the fact that Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian are mutually understandable.
The Miroslav KrleÅ¾a Institute of Lexicography (http://www.lzmk.hr) launched the 11th, last volume of Croatian Encyclopaedia in December 2009 at the special inauguration in Zagreb. This large and demanding project started in 1999. Croatian Encyclopaedia is a key work of Croatian lexicography and includes more than ten thousand pages, seventy thousand articles and more than a million lines of text.