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Slovakia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.5 Language issues and policies

The state language on the territory of the Slovak Republic is the Slovak language. The issue of using the state language and other languages is resolved by the Constitution. The usage of the Slovak language is regulated by Act no. 270/1995 Coll. on the State Language of the Slovak Republic. Other languages used in Slovakia are the national minority languages - Hungarian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Romany, Croatian, and possibly other minority languages. The use of the languages of the national minorities is regulated by special legal regulations (see chapter 4.2.4).

If citizens of the Slovak Republic belonging to national minorities make up, according to the latest census of the population of a community, at least 20% of its inhabitants, they may use the language of that minority in official relations.

A priority of the Ministry of Culture is to secure the conservation and development of the state language as a spiritual part of the national cultural heritage. In compliance with the document Conception of Care of the State Language of the Slovak Republic (approved by the government in 2001), the Ministry of Culture monitors the usage of the Slovak language in public relations; in particular, it provides an official standpoint on the language issue and implements conceptional, methodical, consultation and control activities. In this field, the Ministry of Culture formed an inter-ministerial expert commission with the participation of representatives of other ministries and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, (SAV).

The Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, has elaborated a proposal for the project National Corpus of the Slovak Language and the Project of Electronisation of Linguistic Research (approved by the government in 2002). In June 2006, a contract was concluded on cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Slovak Academy of Sciences with the goal of building up the Slovak state language corpus. In 2004, an agreement was concluded between SAV, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education on common funding for a multi-volume interpretive Slovník súčasného slovenského jazyka (Dictionary of Contemporary Slovak Language). The first volume (A - G) was published in 2006.

A consultation body for the Minister of Culture in the area of the state language is the Central Language Council (founded in 1996). Its task is chiefly:

  • to monitor observance of the Law on the State Language;
  • to propose measures for the conservation and scientific research into the Slovak national language;
  • to consider proposals for principle changes of the codified form of the state language, and to provide specialist viewpoints in conflictive questions on its usage; and
  • to coordinate the work of the terminology commission at central state administration bodies and to initiate the publishing of linguistic literature.

Chapter published: 16-02-2011

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