Languages are born in Isolation; they die in Globalisation

vladimir_kavcic

Zemanta is one of increasing number of companies in Slovenia, where English is spoken on a daily basis and where majority of internal communication is no longer in Slovenian language even though two thirds of our employees work in Ljubljana office. 2014 Prešeren prize winner Vladimir Kavčič has labeled us and other such companies as responsible for eventual demise of Slovenian language. Since many in Slovenia share his opinion I'd like to voice my disagreement with respected writer's address that was aired in prime time on national television. One can argue against the merits of globalization, but it's impossible to ignore its importance in shaping our times. If you want to be successful nowadays, your ambitions must be global and your reach international. But on the world stage, speaking Slovene often feels like being mute, a severe disability. In the old days where only simple products, such as woodenware, cigars, steel and coal were traded globally it might had been possible to have just a small minority interacting with outside world in languages spoken by target markets. But nowadays when every engineer is required to listen on sales calls, and where product teams spans geography, having a buffer zone "protecting" Slovenian language is no longer possible. Slovene companies, universities, and all other institutions will have to find a way to integrate English into their day to day operations. Those which won't will be rendered irrelevant by the forces of globalization. As much as I love my mother tongue and feel the pain of the old man, we'll have to find other ways to protect our heritage. Making artificial barriers or fighting lost battles, will only advance the demise of our beloved Slovene.

I find it very amusing that this post is written in English. Obviously a case in point for Kavčič's claim - a Slovene writing in English while majority of his readers are Slovene. While that is certainly true, I write this blog not only for my Slovenian speaking colleagues and friends, but also for non-Slovenian speaking ones. If I'd be writing in Slovene my reach and audience would be substantially diminished. Should I sacrifice my (global) ambitions for the conservation of Slovene language? I don't think so. Should I be more active in promoting Slovenian language? Definitely!

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