4.2.5 Language issues and policies
The ethnic cleansing during and immediately after World War II, the century-old deficit in mother tongue teaching of minorities, followed by the callousness of the communist decades, the disappearance of closed communities and the growing uniformity caused by mass communication have all contributed to the process of linguistic assimilation.
In an effort to counterbalance these factors, the national public television broadcasts 4 regular weekly programmes in 7 minority languages and combined programmes for 6 more cultures - these all carry Hungarian subtitles. The average length of all these is 16 hours per month. As a unique media service, the Hungarian Radio's 4th channel (MR4) broadcasts 12 hours (from 8a.m. to 8 p.m.) in the same 13 minority languages each day: two hours in Croatian, German, Romanian, Serbian and Slovak, and half an hour for the rest. There is a special programme for Roma of 57 minutes every week day.
The practice of bilingual street-signs is increasing in villages of mixed ethnicity.
The structure of public support for minority cultural activities has changed several times lately. Since mid 2012 this support is handled by the Human Resource Support Management (EMET).
Only a minority of Roma people speak a Gypsy dialect, with literacy in those languages in its infancy.
There is no general language law regarding the Hungarian language. After intensive debate in Parliament and in the press, Act XCVI/2001 prescribed the use of Hungarian in commercial advertisements, slogans, signs, instructions etc. next to the foreign versions; yet its impact is insignificant and the advances of foreign linguistic influences are not a central issue at present (although it is the competence of a foreign state, the language law passed in 2009 in Slovakia was the subject of intense attention and debates in Hungary, fed by concern for the language rights of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia).